To spread the knowledge and wisdom of farmers acquired through experience increasing demand of good organic seeds and trainings from farmers, as well as to document, multiply and disseminate treasure of knowledge on Organic farming, indigenous open pollinated organic seeds and using locally available natural resources to make farmers self sufficient, need for a learning center – a Seed University (Bija Vidyapeeth) emerged.
In addition, Navdanya’s initiative of Fair trade to provide better price or farmers’ organic products in the market and also to create demand in order to be able to sustain consumers also needed to be educated, informed about the benefits of organic foods and prioritize the quality over quantity of simple and healthy food over industrial and fast-food.
To make it reality Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya with Satish Kumar founder Director of Schumacher College in UK conceived the idea of Bija Vidyapeeth. Being part of the Navdanya organic farm it also became a center for participatory research and Training that came into existence in the year 2000. Now the place has become center of excellence in Organic farming and Biodiversity conservation as people from different parts of the world of different walks of life come, learn and have started saving seeds and promoting organic farming in their regions and countries.
Soil ecology lab was also started in 2000, wherein soil, soil food web, water and plant nutrient analysis is going on. The center aims to provide proper information to farmers and students on soil health, soil microbes and their role in soil food web and providing plants with required nutrients. This helps in convincing the farmers about the benefits of the organic farming. It is also helping in educating people on increasing day-to-day health problems due to intensive chemical use in agriculture and their solution from the locally available plant material.
The main objective of the center is to minimize the rift between scientists and farmers and also to popularize the appropriate use of science for the people’s benefit and prosperity, giving due respect to the farmers wisdom. It will also help in reinforcing the farmer-Scientist relations.
Other than farmers, Navdanya has also trained state as well as central government officials, of department of Agriculture, forest and other line departments, scientists from various research Institutions and agriculture and management students from India as well as from abroad.