A-Z of Organic Agriculture, 2012

A-Z of Organic Agriculture, 2012

Week Four, Living Food

 

Our final week at the month-long A-Z of Organic Agriculture course on the Navdanya Farm outside Dehradun, India, concluded with an incredible education in Living Food.  Once again we are grateful to all our guest speakers including, Dr Vandana Shiva, Anna Powar, Dr. Philip L. Bereano, Dr. Ashok Panigrahi, Kusum Mishra, Dr. Vaibhav Singh, Alison Caldwell, Dr. V.P. Uniyal, and Kiran Badhwar for their contribution and teachings on the science, politics, ethics and delicious cooking of true living food.

The week began with a great field trip to the diverse and local Sylvan Heights Biodynamic and Vedic Farm, followed by a generous meal provided by the Sikh community in Poanta Sahib.  Back on the Navdanya farm participants celebrated Living Food with lectures on GMO’s and biosafety, food ethics, Navdanya fair trade, open pollinators, and climate resilience in an era of climate change. We also had  wonderful cooking demonstrations on everything form herbal compounds to delicious forgotten traditional Indian dishes. Additionally, with so much heart and talent, meals were prepared by our participants, from Nepal to Italy, for a “zero-mile cooking” practical. In the field, the class thrashed rice, harvested turmeric, worked with seeds, mixed natural pest control recipes, worked with various compost techniques, and completed the A-Z of Organic Agriculture design project- a new campus garden built from the ground up. With incredible knowledge (and friendships) sown, we concluded our month-long journey of the Living Seed, Living Soil, and Living Food. As we closed, we planted a tree to honor the students unwavering dedication and contribution, and commemorate the first A-Z of Organic Agriculture course. Concepts were challenged and personal commitments to biodiversity and Earth Democracy were enlightened and redefined. Ultimately, students walked away with a life-changing experience and deep education in organic farming to take back to their own communities around the world.

 

 


 

A-Z of Organic Agriculture, 2012

Week Three, Bhoomi

Bhoomi week was an incredible celebration of women in Defense of the Earth at the Navdanya farm in the third week of the A-Z of Organic Agriculture course. The class is so grateful to the brilliant minds of Dr. Vandana Shiva, Frances Moore Lappe, Jean Grossholtz, Winona LaDuke, Nalini Gite, Farida Akthar, Maya Goburdhun, Anna Powar and Debbie Barker- all champions and pioneers of just food and farming. Their brilliance and compassion inspired hope for a sustainable, viable, and biodiverse future. Our minds are stretched and lives enriched by their participation.  October 2nd, day one of Bhoomi week, launched the Fortnight of Action for Seed Freedom being campaigned all over the world (www.seedfreedom.in). One hundred local school children marched to our campus chanting for the rights of the seed and delivered signed declarations from their classmates in solidarity. Bhoomi week, filled with insight surrounding indigenous knowledge, living democracy, social justice, globalization, just food, and seed freedom instilled a deep foundation as we move towards our final week, Living Food.

 

 

A-Z of Organic Agriculture, 2012

Week Two Living Soil

 

Living soil week was an education in the magnificence of our Earth’s precious soil.  Dr. Hari Raj Singh kicked off the week with a soil lesson that left everyone with a genuine reverence for the complex elements of the soil, the foundation of our food.Dr. Vandana Shiva walked the class through the biodiverse Navdanya fields and gave an inspiring lecture explaining how plants and soil interact to give us all the nutrition we need. Navdanya specialization workshops were informative hands-on classes in amending and caring for the soil that embraces our crops- including compost pits, dung slurry's, liquid composts, vermi-composts, and more.   Chris Kennedy and Marilyn McHugh gave a two-day course on the soil food web, bringing our students from all over the world and every background to a common understanding of the diverse microbiology of the soil we share.  Students walked away with compost recipes, as well as a well grounded understanding in the use of the microscope to identify the health of the soil and the organisms that live and thrive in the earth- from ameba to fungi! Plant pathologist, Dr. Y.P. Singh presented on the science of nitrogen fixing plants and the beneficial nutrients they share with the soil.  Living soil week closed with seed patent and human rights lawyer, Blanche Magarinos- Rey’s hopeful lecture on the battles she fights for Kokopelli, the French seed saving organization who fights for freedom of the seed and therefore, the soil. With Bhoomi week upon us, we look forward to many days of lectures around Women in Defense of the Earth.

 

 

A-Z of Organic Agriculture, 2012

Week Two, Living Soil

 

 

A-Z of Organic Agriculture, 2012

Week One, Living Soil

 

Week One, Living Seed

As we complete our first of four weeks at the Navdanya A-Z of Organic Agriculture course, let us say how grateful we are to Dr. Salvatore Ceccarelli for honoring us with his expertise in Participatory Plant Breeding.  A true seed guru, Dr. Ceccarelli explained how this method, left in the hands of the small farmer, can uplift livelihoods and save indigenous knowledge inherent to the seed.  Dr. Vandana Shiva and Dr. Salvatore Ceccarelli were a dynamic team that delivered an inspiring message of seed freedom for our week dedicated to the Living Seed. More course activities included a class in the Navdanya Seed Bank where we learned about the 680 precious rice varieties saved here at the farm, along with hands on learning around seed saving and preservation. We also had a wonderful field lecture by R.S. Rawat on medicinal herb identification, and a visit with local Navdanya member farmers, whose crops were a true testament of the benefits of organic farming.  With week two upon us, everyone is excited to dig in to the Living Soil!

 

 



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