Home Dehradun Vandana Shiva reiterates importance of saving seeds for future

Vandana Shiva reiterates importance of saving seeds for future

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‘Diverse women for Diversity International Fest’ begins at Navdanya
By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 4 Mar: Over fifty representatives of more than 20 countries from all continents, from Latin America to USA, Europe, UK, Japan, Africa, Australia, Canada among many others joined hands with over a hundred women representatives from 21 states of India and South East Asia, who came together to celebrate unique and rich diversity of life, cultures, food and knowledge during a four day diversity festival beginning today at Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm in Dehradun. The event is titled ‘Diverse Women for Diversity International Festival. The festival that began today will conclude on 8 March.
In the lead up to the International Women’s Day and the celebration of Holi, diverse women from across the globe are celebrating the Sacred Mother Earth, by planting a Garden of Hope, sowing seeds, cooking and sharing Breads of Freedom. It is a celebration of Nature, the Laws of Ecology and the regeneration of the Earth Family, through women’s creativity and power, by sharing prayers, music and dances.
Women from several states of India and from countries such as South Africa, Mexico and Australia offered prayers, invocations and traditional songs, as the prayer to the Elements, to express devotion and care towards Nature and the food she provides to all as well as an African invocation to Zep Tepi (Mother Earth). The festivities were led by leading environmentalist and activist Dr Vandana Shiva.
“We breath in the ancient wisdoms from within, the activism from without and the visionaries that are yet to come, we breath in the whisperers of Ntu – those who plant seeds – collective seeds of consciousness – who raise Bantu, Hantu, Kintu, Kuntu into an interwoven web of interconnectedness”. “We breathe in the creative powers of our scared spaces and places throughout the world,” became a potent prayer.
Diverse groups of women from many states of India, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Ladakh, Orissa, Rajasthan sang songs in reverence to the Mother Earth, such us ‘Jagi Java song’, ‘Amar Desi Mati’, ‘Dharti Maa’, ‘Bhu Anna Datta’. Women from Uttarakhand sang songs stressing on the importance of seed saving. The songs stressed on the importance of conserving traditional seeds and they stated that without the seeds, one would have no food and no future. Women from Bengal also sang songs on seeds, harvest song on paddy, the soil and mother earth.
Groups from Mahila Anna Swaraj, Women network for food Sovereignty shared and sewed together a huge variety of seeds as toor dal, pigeon pea, safflower, rajma, til, mustard, black & white bhatt, sunflower, ragi, koni, peanut, garlic, tomatoes, climate resilient rice and many others coming from more than 15 different regions of India.
International and national groups of women celebrated sacred Mother Earth through a mandala garden where seeds of hope and resilience were planted while singing prayers dedicated to the importance of seeds for living and healthy ecosystems, and to guarantee nutrient and genuine food to our communities and families. Women from Costa Rica, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Canada, India, United States, Finland, Germany, Brasil participated sharing their stories of local food and seed resilience, their practices of food sovereignty and agroecology.
By jointly cooking and sharing traditional bread from many different countries and food from various states of India, like Gur Ka Payas, Jhongra kichhdi, Chookar soup, Ratula, pickles, mishiari roti, jawar roti, gulgula, Dal and chapati were cooked and served on the occasion as the women celebrated the diversity of foods and food cultures, which also means diversity in the bodies and ecosystems and freedom to decide and choose own food systems.
Women shared stories on the relationship the people have with the food, with nature, and with each other, and emphasised that it must be based on interconnectedness, on the links between Biodiversity, Seed, Food and the web of Life, the connections between Food, Environment, Health and Climate, the importance of an Economy of the Gift and an Economy of Care, where Bio-Cultural Diversity is the foundation of Peace with the Earth and Peace in humanity.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vandana Shiva, President of Navdanya International stated, “Diverse Women for Diversity is a network that grew from our work at the 1996 World Food Summit to keep food sovereignty in women’s hands in the face of industrial agribusiness capture of the food system that creates on the one hand hunger, and on the other hand chronic diseases and biodiversity destruction. This network has been active during the recurrent meetings of the contracting parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, in the defence of Earth, the defence of people, humanity and future generations”.
More than twenty years ago, Navdanya promoted the Diverse Women for Diversity network (DWD), involving women from different regions and nations around the globe, issuing the Seattle DWD Declaration at the WTO Seattle meeting of 1999: ‘We, Diverse Women for Diversity, diverse in culture, race, religion, socio-economic conditions, have one common goal: biological and cultural diversity as the foundation of life on earth. Therefore we stand for self-sufficiency, self-reliance and solidarity, locally and globally’. After more than twenty years, the same themes are ever more urgent and equally relevent to protect the earth living systems, the traditional food and the health.

The programme ill continue in Charba, Vikasnagar, for a celebration of the Gift of Seed, and in Paonta Gurudwara for a celebration of the Gift of Food, and it will conclude at Navdanya Farm for the celebration of Holi with handmade natural colours, as well as Women’s Day.