Tag: Vandana Shiva

madeline-hughes-data (1)Who wouldn’t agree? 2017 was a year of mind-blowing events.

We won’t even try to address the politics here. Instead we’ll take a look at a (heretofore) safe subject: The weather. Specifically, what several natural disasters meant for our food supply.

In February, ongoing drought in Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia resulted in famine so severe the U.N.’s Under Secretary General described it as “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.”

In March, Cyclone Debbie ravaged Queensland, Australia and caused unprecedented losses for vegetable, sugar and horticultural farmers.

April’s monsoon rains in Sri Lanka created the worst floods in decades, compromised up to fifty percent of agricultural land and left nearly a million people food-insecure. (This, by the way, followed the country’s worst drought in forty years.)

In August, more epic flooding in Southeast Asia created severe food shortages and polluted the water supply for 16 million people across Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, costing the United States US$200 million in agricultural losses.

September’s Hurricane Irma damaged up to 90 percent of agricultural lands in the Caribbean, Cuba and the Florida peninsula and Hurricane Maria delivered the same devastation in Puerto Rico.

October brought historic wildfires: Northern California wine country suffered US$3 billion in damages and the fire ruined the livelihoods ofseasonal farm workers.

And, as we write this in December, the largest wildfire in California’s history rages in the biggest avocado and lemon-producing region in the U.S. The agricultural losses are yet to be calculated.

Catastrophic weather events change the DNA of the areas impacted in ways that we may never be able to fully compute. Yes, many of these areas will bounce back. But they will bounce back differently than they were before.

In this era of climate change, can we predict or control what that “different” will be? How do we protect our food supply from future catastrophic weather events? And, afterwards, how can our farms and farmers recover well enough to feed us again?

There is a great source of hope in traditional seed: Because, more than GMOs or hybrid seeds, naturally adapted seed has the best chance of surviving weather disasters to feed us in the future.

Here’s how Vandana Shiva describes it:

Extreme weather/Seed Play ButtonIn addition, organic, biodiverse agriculture that respects the integrity of the soil and natural water systems can also prevent and mitigate extreme weather damage.

Permaculture, biodynamics, agroecology—any regenerative agricultural system that works with nature’s processes—will invariably fare better in drought conditions, recover better after fire or freeze and absorb water better when flooding occurs.

It’s on this hopeful note that we look forward to the New Year. In concert with Mother Earth, we have the tools to restore, to adapt, to feed the world and to thrive.

It all begins by showing some love for the seed.

We wish you all the very best for 2018!

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Thank you to the hundreds of people from all over the world that completed our survey. In fact we are still receiving responses; if you are interested, join our “advisory team” and complete it here.
 
We asked you what was your top concern, and you told us: Access to Healthy Food.
 
That said, as one respondent noted in her comment: “Everything here is connected–and urgent.” That thinking is clearly reflected in the results.
 
Following Access to Healthy Food (79%), you prioritized:
 
Pesticides, Herbicides and other Toxins in our Food (78%)
Environmental Degradation and Pollution (78%)
Climate Change (73%)
Loss of Biodiversity (73%)
Corporate Influence over Government Food Policies (73%)
Globalization (71%)
Hunger and Poverty (71%)
Displacement of Farmers and Land Grabs (71%)
Unfair Trade Deals (60%)
Here’s a short video clip we just put together of Dr. Shiva addressing the issue of interconnectedness…and quantum theory!
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 We received hundreds of comments on the survey. Most mentioned the difficulty of ranking any one problem over another and many were understandably despairing of the status quo. A few respondents stood firm that industrial agriculture and GMOs were the solution to the issues we listed; in fact one suggested we “start embracing biotechnology and leave outdated, environmentally unsound organic practices behind.”
 
Here is a short selection of other thoughts from different participants.
 
“I am Native American and a sustainability scientist. I believe if you explain more about colonization, economic imperialism and unethical for-profit science, more people will fight to stop those influences.”
 
“I would bring up the loss of tradition, knowledge and cultural/social diversity as well as the loss of connection between land, seasons, people and food that is at the core of healthy food.”
 
“Hearing about solutions would be very high on my list of priorities. Knowing what’s being done and working makes me a better advocate and activist. And a more hopeful person.”
 
“It’s not going take old minds with new programs to change the direction our societal river is flowing–it’s going take new minds and an entirely new vision.”
 
“Time is running out. We must pull together and re-energize grassroots movements to overcome these perils.”
 
We agree. The enormously critical issue of food was ignored by both candidates in the U.S. presidential race, despite a bi-partisan poll  that found that 53% of likely voters agreed that too many Americans can’t afford healthy food in their communities, 81% believe that food policy is focused on money over health, and 75% favor State support of sustainable farming.
 
The President Elect has no published food policy, is considering a Cabinet list that includes Big Ag executives to the Department of Agriculture and a Climate Change denier leading the Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Our only hope is the burgeoning food justice movement that does more than call foul on polluters, but also offers real solutions to the food crisis, the environmental crisis and the crisis of democracy all put together in a message of hope. Presidents and politicians will never save us; historically, only strong grassroots movements have ever brought about meaningful change.
 
So, onwards: Our next post will include video commentary on the issues raised in the survey.


By the way, we’d love to hear from you. Please send us your comments here and let us know what you think.

Biodiversity Climate Change Featured News Food Security Globalization Hunger Interconnectedness Land Grabs News Organic Quantum Theory Trade Deals

Soil Not Oil banner
“Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy.” Vandana Shiva
 
Join us on Thursday July 21st when local groups will come together in Ojai to support both the Soil Not Oil International Campaign and the upcoming second annual Soil Not Oil Conference with an evening gathering of film and discussion. Camilla will be there sharing new excerpts from The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, and there will be other short films on soils and carbon farming.
 
An Evening Gathering to Support
The 2nd Annual Soil Not Oil Conference
Thursday July 21, 7.30PM
At The Farmer and The Cook, 339 W. El Roblar, Ojai, CA 93023
THIS IS A FREE EVENT
 
Our advisory board member Steve Sprinkel will be there, so will Margie Bushman & Wes Roe of Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, David White from Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Conor Love Jones of East End Eden Farm
 
Why are we supporting Soil Not Oil?
 
In 2015 the first Soil Not Oil Conference was held in Northern California in solidarity with the Soil Not Oil and Terra Viva Campaigns launched by Dr. Shiva, who was one of the first to make the connection between climate change and the disastrous soil practices of industrial agriculture.
 
Because our lives are entirely dependent on the health of our soils, Soil Not Oil and Terra Viva advocate for the care and regeneration of soils worldwide. These campaigns and the Soil Not Oil Coalition call for the extensive restructuring of land management practices, especially in agriculture.
 
Permaculture, agroecology and all regenerative agriculture practices are key to combating climate change, restoring water cycles, stopping ocean acidification, re-establishing biodiversity, improving food production, and revitalizing local economies across the planet.
 
What’s not to like?
 
As we face the possibility of only four more years of water in our valley, we know that rapidly accelerating human-caused climate change is an imminent global threat, including to us in Ojai. One clear thing to do is reverse our engagement in the fossil fuel food system, which not only pollutes ecosystems but is a huge driver of climate change. 
 
The Soil Not Oil Coalition’s call for integrated action to restore global soil quality is one of the key things we must do to ensure a safe and healthy world for generations to come. Here’s a little known fact: Just the first meter of soil contains as much carbon as the entire atmosphere, and there’s potential to soak up much more.
 
For more information on this event, please contact Margie.
 
See you at F&C,
 
Camilla Becket
Jim Becket
Jim Whitney

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Since we returned from filming at the People’s Climate March in September, we’ve been tracking Vandana Shiva’s schedule from then until now.

Holy Moly: She’s visited upward of fourteen cities in North America and made multiple appearances to capacity crowds. We caught up with her in Canada (for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (thank you Beyond Pesticides for supporting our trip), in Los Angeles with a hip crowd at UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and most recently in San Francisco at the Earth at Risk Conference produced by the radical and feisty Fertile Ground Institute.

The crowds that Vandana attracts are diverse. But they are unified in their commitment to a just and ecologically sustainable world. Vandana talks about this vision–what she calls Earth Democracy–in this short clip: The Seattle reference points to the 1992 WTO meetings, where Dr. Shiva and others spoke out about the spreading power of multinational corporations–not only in America but all over the globe.

What better time to imagine a more just and desirable world than during the Holiday Season as we look forward to a New Year? In the past three months we’ve felt privileged to be around so many energized individuals dedicated to creating a healthier planet. Judging by these folks, environmental activism is alive and well, life affirming and inspiring. We’d recommend it!

Do we sound like a fan club? No, we’re a film. Hopefully a good one, because this film has an incredible story to tell. Creatively, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva is firmly on track and when we’re not filming we’re reviewing and organizing all our film footage. Editing a video required for submission to foundations and sponsors for funding begins in earnest next month.

The success of the movement for a just and sustainable food system–of which we like to think The Seeds of Vandana Shiva will play a small part–depends on creating and empowering networks for change. For us, in our way, that means relationships and partnerships with others who care about sharing this story. So if you, or anyone you know is interested in collaborating with us–we’re talking website, social media, marketing, editing, even fundraising–get in touch with us here.

In the meantime, we wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous and earth friendly 2015!

P.S: Here’s a three minute video we made about the A-Z of Agroecology Course that we attended while filming and interviewing Vandana in September. Yes, the filming trip made possible by our generous donors! There is a still a LOT to do on this project and you can still make a tax-deductible donation in 2014. Click here for details!

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Bullock at Navdanya trough

What does a bullock have to do with The Seeds of Vandana Shiva?

Quite a bit it turns out…

We just spent two weeks with Vandana on her farm in Northern India. While conducting interviews and collecting footage for the film, we also joined a diverse group of students from all over the world–and all over India–there to attend a month long A-Z intensive on agro ecology and organic food systems.

Little wonder cattle are revered in India. On small farms they provide manure for fertilizer, muscle power to till fields, along with milk for the family and to sell to the community. Their dung is also used for fuel and in the construction of buildings. Who needs to buy gas guzzling tractors or toxic chemical inputs when this placid guy can give you so much?

There are so many fascinating things to learn about the web of life and how–with cooperation, not domination–it can sustain us. Though we enjoyed sneaking in to the lectures and talks, we also spent many hours with Vandana herself, exploring a gamut of topics, ranging from her introduction to indigenous spirituality by the tribal women of the Himalayas to her role in the 1999 “Battle of Seattle” protests against the WTO.

Speaking of spirituality, Jim Becket and Jim Whitney just spent several days with her in New York City where they filmed at the Religions of the Earth Conference at Union Theological Seminary and at the People’s Climate March, the largest climate change protest in history. Focused on talks scheduled to take place at the United Nations this week, more than 1,500 organizations took part in the New York demonstrations, with satellite events all over the world.

Since more than 40% of greenhouse gases can be attributed to industrial agriculture, Vandana has been a long time promoter of agro-ecology as a viable antidote. Here’s a clip from a discussion we had with her last week. The treaty she refers to is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was negotiated at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Of course we would not have these comments on film without your support! So again, we must thank all of you who contributed to our seed fund campaign. Our filming trip to India was a huge success, and we can’t wait to go through our reams of footage to begin the (long) process of putting together the film. By the way, we also collected seeds, spices, and hand woven cotton stoles while we were in India, which we will distribute, as promised, to our valued donors.

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Indian Women Farmers Front of Card copy

Vandana Shiva is a brilliant scientist and environmental activist at the center of an epic battle over the world’s food system. The fight is between industrial, chemically dependent agriculture (in cahoots with “Big Food”) and ecologically sustainable farming that supports the health of the planet and the wellbeing of all people.

Dr. Shiva is known as Monsanto’s worst nightmare as well as a rock star of the sustainable food movement. But outside of the world of environmental activism, she’s relatively unknown. This despite the fact that she has proven definitively that organic agriculture produces higher yields and greater nutrition at a much lower cost than toxic chemical agriculture.

The Seeds of Vandana Shiva will clarify the issues at stake through the lens of Vandana’s extraordinary life story. Today, there is enormous corporate investment in spin to discredit her, with claims that industrial agriculture is not only healthy, but the only viable means for “feeding the world.” However, this inspiring woman’s fight for seed freedom and democracy against seed monopolies and the rule of multinational corporations will tell the true story.

We can still tip the balance in this David vs. Goliath battle before us. With The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, we are blessed with a story of Gandhian proportions that we hope will appeal to a broad audience and, importantly, inspire viewers to action.

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