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Bija: the Seeds of Freedom

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Many of you already know the name Vandana Shiva. She is a tireless activist, writer and educator, born in Dehradun, close to the Himalayas.

Vandana's influence on 'green thinking' now reaches all over the world, but she still draws her inspiration from that inexhaustible well... Mother India. Her thought comes from long tradition of village democracy, 'small is beautiful', and Vedic heritage, walking in the footsteps of Ghandi, Schumacher and so many others, believing in the empowerment of people through appropriate technology, bio diversity and seed sovereignty, equality and justice.

Core of her understanding is the integrity of the seed or "Bija". In SanskriteBijameans:that from which live arises forever ..."the very meaning of Bija (or seed) is the holder of perennial evolution".

Once we understand the core role of Bija-Seed deeply in evolution and its interweaving with human history, we can suddenly gain clarity on the issues of breeding, sustainability, bio--diversity and the whole social and ecological fabric that is assumed and implied in seed sovereignty. Breeding of seed varieties assumes a collective of keen minds, carefully observing the interchange of seeds, soil conditions and water and drawing subtle conclusions about the fertility and other characteristics of seed varieties. That is the way to start coping with larger factors such as climate change and the challenge it poses to world food security.

The networks of ecological interdependency are not random, and not to be frivolously messed with for instance through genetic manipulation. GM crops destroy bio-diversity, and then monopolize the seed stock and the availability of real food . The large seed corporations have not come up with any new seed varieties to cope with climate change. The Green Revolution people have come up with some 8,000 new hybrid varieties which are highly dependent on chemical inputs and create monocultures. Yet it is the small farmers that have made the greatest contribution to seeds and seed varieties of all: during the same time they have at least 105 whole new crop species and some 1.9 million new plant varieties.

Who are you gonna trust??

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Willem Malten studied sociology and anthropology in Amsterdam. Afterwards Willem participated in the Tassajara Zen Monastery. In the last 25 years Since 1984 Willem has run the Cloud Cliff, a medium size bakery and restaurant in Santa Fe, and (more...)

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