Pledging to end hunger on World Food Day 2015, Navdanya started an awareness campaign in India to inform people about the current politics of food and demand for Anna Swaraj (Food sovereignty). The first event organised by Navdanya began with over 60 organic women farmers coming together at the Bio-diveristy conservatory farm in Ramgarh, Dehradun this Friday morning. The farmers met with each other and exchanged mustard and vegetable seeds. This was followed by lectures and discussions on the GM Mustard. The speakers at the event were Dr Vinod Bhatt and Dr. R. S. Rawat, both of who have been active campaigners against the introduction of GMOs in India. He spoke to the farmers about the importance of standing together against seed corporations such as Monsanto, who are now eyeing to destroy our traditional mustard and force thousands of our local oil tillers off the land. The women farmers shared their experience of cooking in soy oil and pledged not to let the Indian Rai (mustard) disappear. “We women have been saving seeds for generations. This is our sacred duty and we will not listen to anybody who wants to stop us from feeding our children nutrition food,” said Bimla Devi, Seed saver from Dehradun.

Before departing each of the women were divided into sub groups and given the responsibility of on variety of seed that they had to preserve. Most women enthusiastically took their seeds and promised to return next harvest season with ten times more than what they had been given. The farmers also discussed the Bt cotton failure in Punjab and expressed solidarity Navdanya’s Farmers lives matter campaign.

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About Navdanya

Navdanya means “nine seeds” (symbolizing protection of biological and cultural diversity) and also the “new gift” (for seed as commons, based on the right to save and share seeds In today’s context of biological and ecological destruction, seed savers are the true givers of seed. This gift or “dana” of Navadhanyas (nine seeds) is the ultimate gift – it is a gift of life, of heritage and continuity. Conserving seed is conserving biodiversity, conserving knowledge of the seed and its utilization, conserving culture, conserving sustainability.

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