TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 22 Jun 2020
Towards a Self Reliant (Atma Nirbhar) , Seed Sovereign, Food Sovereign India
Regenerative Agriculture (Jaivik Kheti) and local , circular, solidarity, economies
12 Jun 2020 – Referring to the food problem India faced as a result of the extractive “Lagaan” based agriculture of British Colonialism which killed 2 million during the Great Bengal Famine of 1942 , and had killed 60 million during a few centuries of British Rule , on 10th June 1947 at a prayer meeting Gandhi had said
“The first lesson we must learn is of self-help and self reliance. If we assimilated this lesson we shall at once free ourselves from disastrous dependence on foreign countries and ultimate bankruptcy. This is not said in arrogance but as a matter of fact. We are not a small place, dependent for this food supply upon outside help. We are a subcontinent, a nation of nearly 400 million (now 1.3 billion). We are a country of mighty rivers and a rich variety of agricultural land, with inexhaustibe cattle wealth …”
After Independence we became food self reliant through shifting from extractive agriculture that created famines and poverty to a regenerative agriculture that repaired the broken nutrient and water cycles and guaranteed fair incomes to farmers and fair food to all, focusing on “food first” policies instead of the colonial policies of priority for cash crops and raw material for industry.
At a program on Regeneration of Indian Agriculture on 27th Sept 1951 KM Munshi , told the state Directors of Agriculture that the diversity of India’s soils, crops and climates had to be taken into account in making plans. The need to plan from the bottom, to consider every village and sometimes every individual field was considered essential for the regeneration of Indian Agriculture .Km Munshi said
“Study the Life’s Cycle in the village under your charge in both its aspects-hydrological and nutritional. Find out where the cycle has been disturbed and estimate the steps necessary for restoring it … Nothing is too mean and nothing too difficult for the person who believes that the restoration of life’s cycle is not only essential for freedom and happiness of India but is essential for her very existence”
This process of regenerating nature’s cycles and our food and agriculture self reliance was eroded by the chemical driven Green Revolution and the corporate driven Globalisation and so called “free trade”. We are being recolonized again.
Background: How the Green Revolution and Industrialisation and Globalisation of Food and Agriculture has contributed to the crisis of livelihoods , hunger and disease
The Green Revolution model of energy intensive, water intensive and chemical intensive agriculture undid the gains of the post independence policies of regeneration , and has degraded the soil and the land ,destroyed biodiversity, created a water crisis and contributed to climate change and chronic diseases .
Chemical agriculture combined with globalization of food and agriculture since 1991 has led to a shift from staple foods to commodity crops and raw material for the industrial food processing industry, which are perishable. Farmers dependence on costly corporate seed and agrichemical inputs has increased ,and falling prices of commodities has trapped farmers in debt ,eroded their seed sovereignty and food sovereignty. It has contributed to the agrarian crisis.
Pseudoproductivity : A recipe for displacement of farmers, destruction of livelihoods and creation of hunger and malnutrition
Farmers were turned into refugees on their land by industrialised farming propelled by neo liberal globalisation that incentivised agriculture led by agribusiness corporations. “Productivity” was manipulated to drive farmers off the land and also create the illusion that we were producing more food and reducing hunger .When Productivity takes chemical capital, chemical and energy inputs into account , industrial agriculture is in fact a negative economy because it uses 10 units of energy to produce one unit of energy as food . In the pseudo productivity calculus ,instead of taking into account the high costs of chemical , energy and water inputs , productivity is measured falsely by treating human beings as “inputs” instead of recognising that human beings are cocreators who take care of the land and the well being of society is the outcome of any economic activity . Displacement of farmers is tautologically built into this definition of pseudo productivity of industrial agriculture.
When Productivity takes chemical capital, chemical and energy inputs into account , industrial agriculture is in fact a negative economy because it uses 10 units of energy to produce one unit of energy as food .
Pseudo productivity is creating an ecological crises , an unemployment crisis , and a hunger and malnutrition crisis .
The farmers who had been displaced from farming and gone to cities as agrarian refugees, are now returning to their villages as a result of the corona lock down. It is inappropriate to call them “migrant labour” because they are Indian citizens, and have the freedom to move to any part of the country. They are displaced workers .
According to 2011 Census of India, there were as many as 48.2 crore workers in India. Of these, only 3.3 crore are in the formal sector. Of the rest who are in the unorganised/informal sectors, constituting 93% of the total workforce, 11.9 crores are farmers, 14.4 crores landless agricultural workers, and 21.9 crore non-agricultural workers.
.80% urban workers lost jobs and started an exodus back to the villages. The working people who are the foundation of our economy were treated as throw away people, even criminalised and made victims of police brutality .
The hunger crisis has grown as millions have lost livelihoods and work.
Hunger and malnutrition is also structurally designed into the industrialised, globalised food system which is destroying the small farms which produce 70% of the food globally while using only 25% of the land . In India our entire food system is based on small farms .Small farms are more productive because they are based on care for the biodiversity and for the land , they are based on deep knowledge and multiple intelligences of farmers .Pseudo productivity also becomes an illegitimate instrument of land grab . Since 1991 Structural Adjustment ,an attempt has been made to grab the land of small farmers through contract farming or changing the land acquisition act. Seed Sovereignty and Land Sovereignty is the foundation for Food Sovereignty . India will be Atma Nirbhar when our farmers are Atma Nirbhar ,the land sovereignty , seed sovereignty ,knowledge sovereignty and economic sovereignty of farmers is protected , and no one goes hungry .
The agrarian crisis in India is deep, as is the malnutrition crisis. We have lost 400,000 farmers to suicide. India has the largest number of hungry people in the world. In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 102nd out of 117 qualifying countries. Millions of children die every year due to malnutrition. Of the 1.04 million under-five deaths in India in 2017, over 7 lakh (706,000) can be attributed to malnutrition, reveals findings of India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative’s report.
Corporations and billionaires are now talking of Digital Agriculture and “farming without farmers” as the next step of increasing productivity and efficiency . This will increase the degradation of the land , the crisis of hunger, the crisis of work , the crisis of knowledge , and deepen dependence on external inputs , with data as the new oil added to the dependence on costly seeds , chemicals and machines . The industrial agriculture system cleverly and deliberately hides its intensive use of fossil fuel and toxic chemicals which are contributing to 50% of the Green house gas emissions leading to climate change , and also driving the crisis of extinction .
Agribusiness controlled Industrial food systems & the health emergency
A resource wasteful, inefficient and greed driven food and agriculture model is constantly occupying new lands , specially forests , while local ,productive farms are laid waste by the unfair rules of free trade .
Science tells us that 70 % of the new epidemics, including Corona, HIV, Ebola, influenza, MERS, SARS, have jumped from animals to humans. This is an outcome of resource intensive land hungry industrial agriculture built on destruction of ecosystems. Constant expansion without limits is built into an agribusiness model which grows commodities like GMO soya in the Amazon and palmoil in the Indonesian rainforests . 90% of the GMO soya is used for biofuel and animal feed . This commodity producing system is not a food and agriculture system . Agriculture is care for the land . And food is supposed to nourish us . Industrial farms based on monocultures of plants and animals, facilitate the spread of diseases, and emergence of new disease epidemics. Besides, industrialised food is closely associated with the spread of non-communicable chronic diseases.
The destruction of local ,biodiverse food systems and artisanal processing , increasing dependence on imports of industrial food , and increase in industrially processed food in the diet has contributed to both the crisis of unemployment and the chronic disease crisis . The Health Minister acknowledged that 73% of the deaths due to Covid was due to comorbidity , in other words, pre existing chronic diseases ,most of which are related to toxics in the environment and unhealthy industrial food .
With the disruption of agriculture, distribution systems, retail systems, livelihood systems, if no radical steps are taken, we are staring at future famines. The Health emergency could become a Food Emergency.
Post Covid Recovery for a Living Future :Return to the land , Return to our home, to the earth , to “oikos”
Ecology and economy both have their roots in the word “oikos” which means home . Knowledge of the home is ecology.Taking care of the home on the basis of knowledge of ecology is economy .
The dominant model of the economy no longer has its roots in ecology, but exists outside and above ecology, disrupting the ecological systems and processes that support life in the natural and social world. The unchecked conquest of resources is pushing species to extinction and has led ecosystems to collapse, while causing irreversible climate disasters.
Similarly, economy, which is part of society, has been placed outside and above society, beyond democratic control. Ethical values, cultural values, spiritual values, values of care and co-operation have all been sidelined by the extractive logic of the global market that seeks only profit. Competition leaves no room for cooperation. More and more people are excluded from the economy, both in terms of livelihoods and in terms of basic needs .
A post Corona recovery needs a shift to healthy food and agricultural systems that respect nature and biodiversity, so we will avoid future pandemics, that maximise health and nutrition per acre , that maximise the return to farmers through circular economies of real , healthy , fresh food .and do not focus on commodity production and cash crops as raw material for industrial processing . Circular economies intensify livelihoods in rural areas , thus regenerating local economies .
A Post Covid just and sustainable recovery programme needs to regenerate soil, water, biodiversity, protect people’s livelihoods, and create new livelihood opportunities while addressing the prevailing extensive health ,hunger and malnutrition crisis. We cannot return to the “normal” like before the Corona pandemic, for those political and economic systems do not work for and with the earth, and are based on weakening the status of farmers ,and destroying livelihoods and creating hunger. If there is any time to make the shift, it is now. We need to now shift to an earth friendly, farmer friendly, people friendly, food and agriculture system if we want to prevent the deepening of the current agrarian and hunger crisis, the health crisis and the livelihood crisis .
We now have to reimagine our local economies and rural economies that put the regeneration of the earth , of livelihoods ,of health at the heart of a Post Covid economy .
Let us shift from linear extractive economies which exploit the earth and people ,to local circular, solidarity economies which regenerate nature and society and create wealth and well being for all , meeting everyone’s basic needs by rejuvenation of the Earth . Let us shift from the false definition of productivity which does not assess the resource and energy intensive inputs in industrial systems , and treats only labour as an input , contributing to ecological destruction and unemployment , towards true cost ecological accounting that takes the full ecological footprint into account, and creates meaningful work for all . This involves a shift from fossil fuel intensive , energy intensive models of production ,to labour intensive economies of care, so no hands are wasted , and the rich human energy India is endowed with can renew society and regenerate the earth , her biodiversity , her productive capacity to support the needs of all Let us take a pledge to regenerate local economies and local production and consumption through organic farming and artisanal, hand crafted products that are fossil fuel free, poison free and create opportunities for work for those rendered unemployed . Let us boycott the MNC seed companies , chemical companies, junk food industry and the e commerce giants like Amazon. Let us sow the seeds of a new India which is free of hunger,disease ,unemployment and modern day colonialism. The path to a Self Reliant , Atma Nirbhar bharat is paved with self reliant local living economies and self reliant communities , Swaraj.
Linear Extractive Economies create poverty, unemployment and ecological destruction
The dominant economy based on colonialism, industrialism and globalization is a linear extractive economy based on limitless extraction, commodification, profits , and the creation of waste and pollution by the rupture of natures cycles of renewal. It has no place for the care of nature and community . It has no ethics of giving. It leaves nature and society impoverished, be it extraction of minerals, or pollution ,including Green House Gas Emissions ,or extraction of knowledge through Biopiracy, or extraction of “genes” through genetic mining, or extraction of personal data through “data mining”, or extraction of rents and royalties for seed, water, communication, privatised education and health care. The linear extractive economy encloses every commons that we care for and share , and reduces it to private property , including the “intellectual property” on seeds, biodiversity ,living organisms ,living processes , including “data” from our minds and bodies .
The linear, extractive logic of exploitation, threatening ecological social collapseIt creates poverty ,debt, and displacement . It creates waste -waste as pollution, wasted resources, wasted people, wasted lives . It creates a world without work , but imagines that people without work will all be “consumers “ of junk food, junk clothing , and junk communication .It is this extractive money machine which has led to the rise of the 1 % and disposability of the 99% .
Poverty is not the original state of nature or earth centred economies of local communities. The dominant economic program creates poverty, the economy of the 1% punishes the poor.
The poor are poor because 1% have grabbed their resources and wealth. Peasants are getting poorer because the 1 % are promoting an industrial agriculture based on purchase of costly patented seeds and chemical inputs, which traps them in debt, and destroys their soil, water, biodiversity, and their freedom .
Small farmers are getting poorer because vertically integrated corporations are stealing 99% of the value they produce . They are getting poorer because “free trade “ promotes dumping, destruction of livelihoods and depression of farm prices.
Street vendors and hawkers are loosing their livelihoods as e commerce firms with a very heavy negative social and ecological foot print are displacing their livelihhods , and destroying the networks of trust that build local economies .The Corona lockdown increased the control over distribution to e Commerce giants like Amazon. Jeff Bezos increased his personal wealth by $24 million in a month of Corona lockdown. Even the so called “reforms” announced were precisely the processes which have contributed to the agrarian crisis .
The FSSAI, which is the agency for food standards, has been captured by the junk food industry and is imposing unsafe foods on people and spreading disease and creating destruction of livelihoods. FSSAI has recently announced new guidelines to attempt to lock all farmers, street vendors and hawkers into an Amazon slavery.
All values that arise from our interdependent, diverse and complex reality have been displaced or destroyed by extractive economies based on the greed of a few . When reality is replaced by abstract constructions created by the dominant powers in society, manipulation of nature and society for profits and power becomes easy. The welfare of real people and real societies is replaced with the welfare of corporations. The real production of the economies of nature and society is replaced by the abstract construction of capital. The real, the concrete, the life-giving gives way to the artificially constructed currencies, artificial fertilizer , artificial food , artificial intelligence…..
Extractive economies do not create or produce . They extract what nature and people have created and produced . Extractive economies do not generate or regenerate the conditions of life . That is why they lead to collapse of ecosystems and of economies, of societies , cultures , and communities . Having contributed to collapse , they seek the next frontier to colonise , the next extraction to collect rents and royalties from .
Oikonomia , The Art of Living ,is based on Circular Economies , Solidarity , Mutuality and cooperation .
The Art of Living is about generating and regenerating life – the life of all beings on the Earth, including our human family .Living economies sustain life , and life creates living economies which nourish both nature and society
In organic farming and ecological farming we refer to this principle as “the law of return”.
Living economies are therefore circular economies that are aware of, and maintain nature’s cycles by giving back to the earth . The earth gives us food .When we give back part of her organic gifts to the soil ,we act according to the law of return , of gratitude ,of giving .When we give back organic matter to nature, she continues to give us food .The work in giving back is our work , our gratitude, our oneness. Giving us food is nature’s complex work -through her soil, her biodiversity, her water, the sun, the air .
The earth gives us water. When we act to conserve water, we are engaging in the oikonomia of giving. When we share water in the commons, we are creating economies of giving and sharing .The earth gives us seeds . When we save and share seeds we are creating timeless economies of the continuity of life.
All ecological crises are the rupture of nature’s cycles, and the transgression of what have been called planetary boundaries.
In the circular economy we give back to society. Wealth is shared. Wealth circulates. In circular economies wealth does not concentrate in a few hands. In a circular economy no hand is useless . There is work for all hands .
Given the lock down, more hands have returned to the villages . It is now time to regenerate both life and livelihoods based of farming, artisanal production , and distribution through circular economies , beginning with the local, expanding to regional , till the national economy becomes a circle of circles of circular, solidarity , self reliant economies .Gandhi had said I do not see India as a pyramid where the top crushes the bottom that supports it but ever expanding, never ascending ocean circles .Jaivik Bharat is an ever expanding oceanic circle which begins with self reliant small farmers , self reliant villages , self reliant regions to a self reliant India.
When economies are circular, every living being, every place, is the centre of the economy, and nature and society evolve and emerge from multiple self organised systems, like the trillions of cells in our body .
In real economies, plants grow, soil organisms grow, children grow in well being and happiness .
The circular economy replenishes nature and society . It creates enoughness and well being for all . In the care of the Earth and society ,diversity of meaningful and creative work is possible . It is based on nature’s law of return. In nature, there is no waste, no pollution .
Because circular economies are based on giving , indigenous communities can live over centuries in the same place . India has farmed on the same small pieces of land over more than 5000 years . Aboriginal Australians farmed the continent over 60,000 years . When you care for the Earth as your home ,you can stay home in the same place .
Circular economies as living economies are by their very nature biodiverse, spanning from the intimate and local, to the global and planetary .
The circular logic of Law of Return, mutuality, reciprocity and regenerationJust as self organised systems evolve in and through diversity, self organised economies are diverse. However the economic paradigm based on a linear one-way extraction of resources and wealth from nature and society has promoted systems of production and consumption that have ruptured and torn apart these cycles, threatening the stability of the natural and social world.
Self Reliant , Atma Nirbhar Jaivik Bharat based on Seed Sovereignty (Bija Swaraj), Food Sovereignty (Anna Swaraj) Knowledge Sovereignty (Gynan Swaraj) Economic Sovereignty (Arthik Swaraj)
The seeds of a Self Reliant, Atma Nirbhar Bharat lie in an Anna Nirbhar Bharat, a Food Sovereign India based on Seed Sovereignty (Bija Swaraj), Food Sovereignty (Anna Swaraj) Knowledge Sovereignty (Gynan Swaraj) Economic Sovereignty (Arthik Swaraj). A future of a food Sovereign , Food Secure , Livelihood Secure India lies in shifting from globalised linear extractive economies based on non renewable fossil and mineral resources, piracy of our knowledge and biodiversity , and extraction of the wealth we create through our work to circular ,regenerative biodiversity economies based on biodiversity ,cultural diversity , people’s ability to create and produce real wealth , circulate it in society for the well being of all by strengthening community , solidarity, cooperation, compassion .
The 9 steps we need to take for a transition to an Anna Nirbar Jaivik Bharat, a Food Sovereign, livelihood Secure India include
1 From Linear Extractive Economies to Circular Economies (economic sovereignty -Arthik Swaraj )
Put nature and people, and local circular economies at the heart of the Post Covid Renewal and recovery, instead of the linear , extractive globalized economy driven by greed and wasteful use of resources which destroys ecosystems and displaces and dispossess people, contributing to both non sustainability and injustice and inequality. Circular Economiesheal broken ecological cycles by giving back to the Earth. They correct injustices and inequalities by giving back a fair share to farmers and producers.
We need to move from competition to co operation, from separation, fragmentation, and indifference to solidarity. From degeneration of the local economy, culture, ecosystems, health to regeneration of rural economies , diversity of our cultures , our biodiversity and our health .Farmers , artisans , street vendors and “consumers” joining hands are creating local circular economies. This is the foundation of true self reliance, Atma Nirbharta .
2 From Corporate Control of Seed to Seed Sovereignty (Bija Swaraj)
Food begins as Seed. Healthy food grows from healthy seed. Indigenous Desi seeds and farmers varieties have much higher nutrition than the so called “High Yielding Varieties’ which have been bred to adapt to chemicals , are nutritionally empty ,contributing to diseases of deficiencies of micronutrients and trace elements, and loaded with disease causing toxics. Indigenous seeds need less water, are more pest and disease resistant and more climate resilient .GMO seeds are toxic , and GMO Bt cotton has failed to control pests , but trapped farmers in debt and drove hundreds of thousands of farmers to suicide.
We need to create local seed banks to conserve indigenous seeds and farmers seed producer groups to multiply and distribute local seeds .
We need to defend Seed Sovereignty, and our laws that defend Seed Sovereignty such as Art 3j of the Indian Patent Act clearly states that plants, animals and seeds are not inventions , hence not patentable
“plants and animals in whole or in any part thereof other than microorganisms; but including seeds, varieties, and species, and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals”.
and Art 39 of the Plant Variety Protection and Farmers Rights Act which states
“a farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act”
3 From Industrial Agriculture based on Toxic Chemicals to Biodiverse Organic/ Natural farming based on Agroecology (Anna Swaraj)
For Atma Nirbhar food and farming, we need to become free of corporate dependence for seeds and chemicals which are at the root of debt, dispossession and displacement of farmers from agriculture, a threat to our health, destruction of biodiversity and climate change. Agroecology and organic farming has spread in the world from India .Our indigenous agriculture is based on biodiversity and the law of return. Biodiverse Organic food systems create local circular economies by regenerating ecological cycles and processes, and regenerating livelihood and food systems.
Protect, Regenerate and grow Biodiversity, not Monocultures of plantations or agriculture commodities which do not perform the ecological functions that biodiverse ecosystems do in controlling pests and weeds, conserving soil and water, and bringing excess carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change , to the soil , where it improves soil fertility and provides healthy, nutritious food, including proteins through nitrogen fixing pulses and beans .
4 From Monocultures to Diversity :From “Yield Per Acre” to “Health Per Acre”, “Wealth Per Acre” and “Care Per Acre” “Hands Per Acre”
Monocultures of chemical intensive crops create the illusion of “feeding the world” by increasing production of commodities. The shift from biodiversity to monocultures, from food and nutrition to globally traded commodities is induced by the misleading measure of “yield per acre” which does not measure. “Yield” does not measure whether the farming method or technology leaves the land degraded or regenerates it. It does not measure whether the farmer was left impoverished and indebted, or the farmers wellbeing was improved. It does not assess whether the food is nutritionally empty and toxic or nutritionally rich and dense .It does not tell you whether the commodity produced went for biofuel, animal feed, producing fake lab food , or went to feed people with real food.
Agriculture means “Care for the Land” . In India we say “Annadata Sukhi Bhava” – May the providers of food be happy. In Ayuveda we recognize that Food is the best medicine – “Annam Sarvaushadhi” In the social, ecological and health context , yield per acre facilitated the expansion of commodity production which is destroying biodiversity, our farmers , our health. More appropriate measures include “health per acre” and “Nutrition per acre”, “Wealth per Acre” and “Care per Acre” . Diversity produces more food and nutrition per acre and provides resilience to climate extremes and economic shocks . It is the answer to hunger and disease. Diversity brings higher returns to farmers by avoiding unnecessary expenditure on costly seeds and chemicals, and by preventing vulnerability of price collapse that goes hand in hand with monocultures .
As Navdanya’s work, synthesised in our report “Health per Acre” has shown, we can provide two times India’s population with full nutrition and healthy food if we grow biodiversity . As our book “Wealth per Acre” shows, farmers can earn ten times more by giving up dependence on costly seeds and chemicals . And regeneration of the soil needs care, which means more “hands per acre” instead of fossil fuel guzzling machines and toxic chemicals which destroy the earth and livelihoods .As a tribal farmer says “We have to know the soil, the soil has to know us”. This is the circular economy of living relationships between seed, soil and farmers.
We need to shift from a corporate model of an extractive economy which treats the living earth and hard working ,creative, intelligent farmers as “inert inputs”, and steals fertility from the soil and value from farmers , leaving both the land and people poorer , destroying local economies and livelihoods .
5 From Industrial Processing that destroys Work, Health and Self Reliance to Artisanal Processing that Regenerates Rural Livelihoods, Biodiversity and Healthy Food System
To address simultaneously the crises of unemployment and chronic diseases created by industrial food processing food, we need to regenerate artisanal processing of food, such as wheat, paddy, pulses, and edible oils made from indigenous oilseeds such as mustard, linseed, sesame, groundnut, coconut, of pulses, of flour, creating more work opportunities in rural areas through agroprocessing and food processing , producing healthier food , and a diversification of local agriculture by creating local circular economies and local food communities .
6 From Colonization of the Mind to Decolonization and Knowledge Sovereignty (Gyan Swaraj)
An agriculture paradigm that has its roots in colonialism separated agriculture from food, and food from health and nutrition. It promoted monocultures of commodities, destroying biodiversity impoverishing the earth, farmers and our health. India’s gift to the world is the science of Agroecology based on care for Mother Earth, and the science of Ayurveda , which recognizes that food is health (Annam Sarva aushadhi ). To regenerate of food and agriculture we need to reclaim our knowledge sovereignty, connect food to the health so we can prevent the health emergency of chronic diseases.
Our book Annam:Food and Health, makes the link between what we eat and our health, from diversity of perspectives-ecological, public health , and Ayurveda .
FSSAI law and standards are written by the junk food industry to destroy our artisanal economies. Self Reliant, Atma Nirbhar food safety systems and need to evolve from the ground up. In circular economies, food safety becomes a participatory process as part of Anna Swaraj, Food Sovereignty linking those who produce and process the food and those who eat it through intimacy and knowledge sovereignty. Desi foods have been evolved by our ancestors and grandmothers for our health and well being. In a time where there are plans for a new food imperialism through fake food made in labs, knowing what we are eating , how it was produced , what its impact is on the earth, farmers , society and our health becomes central to Anna Swaraj, Food Sovereignty .
8 From Greed and Profit driven food and Agriculture Systems that Create Poverty , Hunger, Unemployment and an Ecological Emergency ,to Systems that Respect the Rights of People to Food, Work and Health
The industrial globalized food system has given us poverty, hunger and unemployment. Creating Local living economies based on solidarity , community , and well being of all , regeneration of the Earth and Regeneration of livelihoods and rural economies based on ecological agriculture , regeneration of natural resources and the commons , regeneration of crafts and ecologically friendly skills is an ecological , economic and social imperative Globalised extractive economies are based on polluting fossil fuels, chemicals and plastic and lead to destruction of local economies and livelihoods while they contribute to green house gases and climate change, destruction of biodiversity , and pollution of our rivers , ponds and land .The rich and powerful are now planning economies where Artificial Intelligence and Robots replace people , where lab made Fake Food replaces food as nourishment and as the currency of life .
The Right to Food, Right to Health, Right to work in this context translates into actions and policies that ensure Real Food for All, Real Wealth and Well being for all, and meaningful cooperative work for all.
By regenerating biodiversity through local circular economies, we regenerate biodiversity based livelihoods in agriculture , crafts and agroprocessing .
We have to reduce the heavy ecological footprint of the industrial food economy patterns that are destroying the earth’s biodiversity and destabilizing her climate systems, and increase the heart print , head print and handprint of the economy to regenerate the earth and society .Through our heads, hearts and hands we can create a Self Reliant Jaivik Bharat , an India free of hunger, disease and waste .
9 From Corporate Control over our Food System to Local Living Democracies ( Anna Swaraj Circles and Jaiv Panchayat )
In a globalised world, what we eat and what we wear, or whether we eat or not is being decided by a handful of giant corporations and billionaires who are only looking at their profits . Profits are made by destroying regenerative local circular economies and imposing extractive economies which deepen hunger, poverty, unemployment, and diseases and undermine our democratic and constitutional rights. To regenerate our food and agriculture, our ecology and economy, our health and well being, we need to reclaim and regenerate our democracy. Real democracy grows from the bottom up. Hind Swaraj grows from Gram Swaraj and from sovereign Earth Citizens conscious of their duties to the earth and society, their rights to food, health, work and freedom .
Prem Varma has quoted Gandhi reminding us that Gram Swaraj is central to India’s freedom as freedom from hunger and unemployment
“No one under it should suffer for want of food and clothing. We should be ashamed of resting or having a square meal so long as there is one able-bodied man or woman without work or food.”
Sri Jayaprakash Narayan on a much later date than Gandhi echoed the same sentiments .
“The economy of the community should be as self-sufficient as possible………
The primary concern of the community is to provide for satisfaction of the primary needs of its members. It is therefore natural for it to produce all it can to provide for them food, clothing, shelter and other necessaries . It is also the community’s responsibility to see that every able-bodied individual in the community finds useful employment.”
Healthy food as the currency of health and life can overcome the rift between the city and the country. When consumers make conscious choices for the earth, farmers and their health they become part of the earth community, a food community, an Anna Swaraj circle. Living democracy is cultivated through coproduction, coinvestment. To invest means to make beautiful . When we invest care and solidarity, we regenerate the earth, her biodiversity, our health and the well being of all. Each community can create local circular economies through creating Local living democracies (Jaiv Panchayat) based on participation, care for the commons and the community , and protection and rights of the last person (sarvodaya). Living democracies support living economies so the well being of all is at the centre of concern – “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah”
TRANSCEND Member Prof. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecofeminist, philosopher, activist, and author of more than 20 books and 500 papers. She is the founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and has campaigned for biodiversity, conservation and farmers’ rights, winning the Right Livelihood Award [Alternative Nobel Prize] in 1993. She is executive director of the Navdanya Trust.
Tags: Activism, Agri-food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Capitalism, Conflict, Ecology, Economics, Ecosystem, Environment, Farming, GMO, Genetic engineering, Genetic manipulation, India, Monsanto, Nature's Rights, Navdanya International, Organic food, Seeds, Social justice, Solutions, Vandana Shiva
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