Environmental Hero Dr. Vandana Shiva to Speak at the National Heirloom Exposition
Post by Susan Audrey
The “world’s fair” of the heirloom industry, the first-ever National Heirloom Exposition will be held in Santa Rosa, California, this September. The three-day event is sponsored in-part by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company and will feature a long list of world-renowned speakers headlined by Dr. Vandana Shiva known as “one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers.” (Other keynote speakers will be Jeffery M. Smith, author and leading consumer advocate for healthy non-GMO foods, and Alice Waters, world-renowned chef and crusader for eating locally, sustainably raised foods.)
Dr. Shiva is the founder of Navdanya, a movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds, and she is recognized as one of the leaders in the pure food movement, both in her native India and abroad.
“Over the past three decades I have tried to be the change I want to see,” she notes on the Navdanya website. “When I found that dominant science and technology served the interests of the powerful, I left academics to found the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, a participatory, public interest research organization. When I found global corporations wanted to patent seeds, crops or life forms, I started Navdanya to protect biodiversity, defend farmers’ rights and promote organic farming.
“Navdanya/RFSTE’s journey over the past two decades has taken us into creating markets for farmers and promoting tasty, healthy, high quality food for consumers. We have connected the seed to the kitchen, biodiversity to gastronomy. And now we have joined hands with Slow Food to celebrate the quality and cultural diversity of our food.”
For those unfamiliar with Dr. Shiva, she is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. She has authored over 20 books and more than 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She is a trained physicist and earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization, and she serves on the boards of the World Future Council and Slow Food International. Among her many awards are the Right Livelihood Award (1993), the Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of the United Nations, Earth Day International Award, the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, and the Sydney Peace Prize (2010).
Dr. Shiva’s upcoming appearance at The National Heirloom Exposition—where she will take second billing only to the thousands of pure heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs—is destined to ignite a take-action enthusiasm for the preservation of pure seeds and pure foods.
“The National Heirloom Expo is being held at a critical time,” said Dr. Shiva in a recent interview. “While GMO crops are failing, the aggression to push them has never been stronger. Monsanto would like a world of toxic monocultures doused with round up and overtaken by super weeds and super pests.
“We will have to fight Monsanto many times over. Each lawsuit is important in the struggle to keep our seed and food GMO free. I have already had to introduce four cases against Monsanto. I am extremely optimistic that the collective case filed to prevent Monsanto from using patent law to sue farmers they have contaminated will have an impact. It has already had an impact by bringing so many organizations together.
“We will also be releasing a global report on ‘The Failed Technologies and False Promises of Monsanto’ in October 2011 to give further strength to our movement,” Dr. Shiva added.
To ensure safe seeds and food for ourselves, our communities and the future, Dr. Shiva stressed the importance of buying local and buying organic. “The most important thing we can do to safe seeds and foods is to support local organic farmers and buy at local farmers markets. We also need to support GMO-free seed saving. People should also become active in the movement to demand GMO labeling.
“At the global level,” she continued, “the most important issue is to join movements and networks working towards keeping our seed and food safe. For networking, visit support movements in different parts of the world. We would love to have concerned people visit us at Navdanya in India where we run the Bija Vidyapeeth (The School of the Seed) as a learning center for seed saving and organic farming.”
To become better educated on the future of our food, Dr. Shiva recommends the following resources: the Navdanya website, www.navdanya.org, and newsletter Bija; the Erosion, Technology and Control Council, www.ectc.org; the Center for Food Safety, www.centerforfoodsafety.org; and the newsletter of The Institute for Science and Society, www.i-sis.org.uk.
“We want a world of biodiversity, of safe seed and food, of seed sovereignty and food sovereignty,” Dr. Shiva stressed. “That is why I will be coming to the National Heirloom Exposition, because it is defending our future.”
Dr. Shiva will speak at the National Heirloom Exposition on Thursday, September 15, 2011, at 7 p.m. The Exposition runs September 13, 14 and 15, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in Sonoma County, California. To purchase tickets to the Exposition and for more details, visit www.nationalheirloomexposition.com. (Special incentives available for online ticket purchase.) Admission is $10 per day for adults; no charge for children and youth up to 17 years old. Three-day pass is $25.
Susan Audrey is a Northern California writer, editor, photographer and artist. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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