Santuario Sisterfarm quotes Vandana Shiva in our mission statement:
An intolerance of diversity is the biggest threat to peace in our times; conversely, the cultivation of diversity is the most significant contribution to peace—peace with nature and between diverse peoples.
Vandana started Navdanya, ( www.navdanya.org ) an organic farm in North India committed to honoring and saving indigenous seeds. Vandana was critical of seed patents being taken out by agribusiness corporations (“bullies”) on traditional grains and vegetables, once again forcing debts on poor farmers. There has been a surge of suicides among small farmers in India who simply cannot pay their debts.
Vandana and Mira, a medical doctor, shared stories of strong and persistent women who recognized the dangers of mining, water pollution, and seed monopolies on health and were willing to stand up to the perpetrators. Many of these women couldn’t read or write, yet knew the names of all the plants and trees in their areas. Women are the traditional teachers and preservers of herbal medicines, the midwives and healers in villages, and those who really know what is going on in their areas. Women were involved in all of Vandana’s participatory research projects.
One of the programs at Navdanya is called Diverse Women for Diversity that seeks to build a global women’s campaign on biodiversity, cultural diversity and food security. This approach resonated with Santuario Sisterfarm’s board members as well as Vandana’s invitation to have all SOE ecology and spirituality centers become a chain of seed savers, Gardens of Hope set up in collaboration with a global “sisters of Earth.”
Watch the video of Vandana with Santuario Sisterfarm’s board members Pat Siemen, Beth Blissman and Carol Coston.