food production. Without soil, without water, without seeds, you don’t have
food. Industrial farming is depleting that natural capital stock. It’s killing soil
organisms, and look at what it’s done to pollinators, the colony collapse of bees
is linked to chemical use in farming, and Cornell research showed that
monarch butterflies die when they feed on pollen from BT crops. Seventy percent of water used is in agriculture, mainly industrial farming. We have reduced
water use on our farms through organic methods by 70 percent without affecting yields. And as my book Soil Not Oil shows, 40 percent of all greenhouse gases
are coming from industrialized food production.
cestors. It’s our duty to protect them
and hand them over to future generations. We cannot afford to obey any
law that makes it illegal for us to save
seeds and have seeds. And like Gandhi
walked to the beach and told the
British we will continue to make our
salt when they were trying to make salt
a British monopoly, we say the same
“We received these seeds from nature and
our ancestors.It’s our duty to protect them and hand
them over to future generations. We cannot afford
We have another study available on our website to be downloaded, it’s called
Health Per Acre. We’ve been fooled repeatedly by a manipulated figure that says
“yield per acre.” It’s a trick, because the yield doesn’t tell you what it costs to
produce. It hides the fact that family farms are getting more desperate and that
small farmers are facing suicide. Secondly, yield does not measure what the output is for. So you have more and more corn and soy in the world. Is this feeding
people? No, it’s feeding cars, it’s torturing animals in factory farms. It’s not
feeding human beings. In our report, we say that food is about nourishment
and that you must maximize health and nutrition per acre. On the basis of 200
of our member farms, in every agri-climatic zone, desert, mountains, wetlands,
rainforest zones, everywhere across the board, small farms produce more than
large farms. Biodiverse farms produce more than monoculture farms; organic
farms produce more than chemical farms. If we extrapolate this to all of India,
we can feed two times the Indian population through ecological methods.
The United Nations submitted a report this year saying that the world could
double food production in three years if it shifted from industrial chemical
methods to ecological methods. Finally, as a result of all the controversy over
GM, a commission was set up called the International Assessment of Agricultural Science Technology for Development, in which 400 scientists worked for
four years, looking at all the published peer-reviewed studies in the world, and
found that neither the Green Revolution nor GM is increasing production.
Only ecological organic methods are increasing food production. So science
tells us organic is the way. Empirical evidence tells us organic is the way. Only
corporate lies insist organic cannot feed the world.
”to obey any law that makes it illegal to save seed.
OP: You have also started many seed banks. Can you tell us about these?
Shiva: In the last two decades, we have created 66 community seed banks. We
call them community seed banks because they are in the hands of the commu-
nity. Seed is a commerce which should be freely exchanged and distributed.
Navdanya’s philosophy is that we received these seeds from nature and our an-
thing with seed. We say Gandhi told us
to not obey bad law. A patent on seed
is bad law, we’re not going to obey this
law because we obey a higher law, the
law of the seed; the law of the seed to
multiply, to reproduce, to be shared
and exchanged freely. My dream is to
support seed saving any way we can. In
schools we have a program called Gar-
dens of Hope, where children can
grow crops and be custodians of seed.
When I’ve visited schools and asked
them what they like best, they said the
miracle of the little seed giving us
thousands of tomatoes, each with
thousands of seeds. That miracle
makes us realize how abundant nature
is. The idea of scarcity is imposed by
thinking in ways that prevents us from
seeing that abundance.