When I found that dominant science and technology served the interests of powerful, I left academics to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a participatory, public interest research organisation. When I found global corporations wanted to patent seeds, crops or life forms, I started Navdanya to protect biodiversity, defend farmers’ rights and promote organic farming.
Navdanya/RFSTE’s journey over the past two decades has taken us into creating markets for farmers and promoting tasty, healthy, high quality food for consumers. We have connected the seed to the kitchen, biodiversity to gastronomy. And now we have joined hands with Slow Food to celebrate the quality and cultural diversity of our food.
The seed has inspired us to spread the message of sustainability through Bija Vidyapeeth, which I started with Satish Kumar as a sister institution of the Schumaker College in the UK.
My journey on the road to ecological sustainability started with the Chipko movement in the 1970s when women in the region of the Himalayas protected forests by hugging trees.
For me, ecology and feminism have been inseparable. Diverse Women for Diversity is one expression of combining women’s rights and nature’s rights, celebrating our cultural diversity and biological diversity.
The defence of nature’s rights and people’s rights have come together for me in Earth Democracy – the democracy of all life on earth, a living democracy which supports and is supported by living culture and living economies.
This interview marked International Women’s Day, 2012.
Thanks to Dr Vandana Shiva.