Some visions and inspirations behind the Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm. Ideas that contribute to the strenghtening and the growing of the Organic Movement.
Navdanya creates alternatives to the corporate globalization, and this at every level of the foodchain. Nature centered and people centered alternatives based on the organic way can provide health and food security for as well the poor as the rich (malnutrition and diabetes).
Navdanya positions itself as a public health movement, a sustainable living movement and a retail democracy movement.
Everything is connected. The seeds they save and grow in their own farms, the soil that they junvenate through biodiverse ecological farming methods; the organic and artisanal processing through which they conserve and enhance the taste and wholesomeness of food, and the direct marketing model of retail though which they bring organic products from the field to the table.
Seed protecting is the first link in the foodchain. Setting up community seedbanks. The seed-saving networks have spread quickly across the country.
Commercial companies (as Monsanto) dominate the world’s seed supply, propagate monoculture and make the seeds non-renawable so that farmers must buy new seeds every year.
In bio-diverse agro-ecosystems single crop yield is not relevant. What is relevant is the total output and the cooperation between diverse species to enhance each others productivity. Open pollinated seeds that can be saved also serve the farmers economy.
With the ‘seeds of hope’ project Navdanya wants to respond to the tragedy of globalisation and the impact of climate change. Community seedbanks for climate change are set up; here seeds are collected that can tolerate droughts, floods and salinisation.
Seed freedom is the first freedom in farming, and therefore Navdanya advocates to stop the laws like the Seed Act 2004 which prevent farmers from having their own seeds.
Through research and action Navdanya proves that biodiverse farms produce more and protect more than monoculture farms. Working with natural pesticides providers as Neem (the tree) and working with companion planting (plant families together that support and enhance each others growth) gives biodiversity back to the soil in the form of organic manure and increases soil fertility and crop productivity and at the end the nutritional content of the food.
Where chemical fertilizers and fossil fuel based agriculture contribute significantly to green house gas emissions and climate change, the biodiversity way reduces the impact on and helps to adapt to climate change. Bidodiverse systems have more resilience than monocultures. Organic farming helps returning more carbon to the soil, which adds to soil moisture conservation and increases drought insurance.
Navdanya promotes artisan foods which use no chemicals but use human skills. ‘Made by hand, not by machines’, is their label. Navdanya supports textures, flavours and tastes that are typical of local foods. They bring back into production the artisanal mustard oil, produced by cold press, instead of the common and genetically engineerd soya oil.
With food festivals and cooking classes they promote local ‘forgotten foods’ like amaranth and buckwheat, and bring forgotton pulses (lentils) to people’s kitchens.
With their ‘National Movement for Retail Democracy’ they offer an alternative network of small shopkeepers, farmers and consumers to the (foreign) corporate retail companies that are invading India. This is the right path for sustainability and justice.