Vandana, the “Gandhi of the seeds” became aware of the fragility of the environment at a young age when observing the damage caused by deforestation in her native region in India. This writer, militant feminist and ecologist has devoted nearly 35 years to protecting nature and biodiversity, and always alongside the poorest and most vulnerable women. In recognition of her “Small Farms International India” project, Vandana has received an Yves Rocher Foundation International Award.
Vandana Shiva was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993 for having made women and ecology the centre of the discussion on modern development.
Her “Small Farms International India” project promotes agriculture that respects the soils and the environment by training farmers in organic farming and in the use of local seeds.
“I am genuinely committed to the defence of women’s rights because I believe in the close ties between ecology and feminism.”
Preserve biodiversity, the environment, and the dignity of the women and men who work the land. The purpose of this campaign, explains the activist, is to defend the rights of small farmers and particularly those of women. In the Doon Valley, out of the 500 or so people trained, 96% are women.
Sowing the seeds of change
With Small Farms International, Vandana Shiva has created three community seed banks. Small Farms International transcends the frontiers of India, promoting exchanges between small growers in France, Senegal and India. The objective is to improve work across the board by sharing individual experiences in order to learn from them and also share simple solutions that anyone can reproduce locally.