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Cultivating Diversity for Peace, Prosperity and Protection of the Planet

Cultivating diversity through gardens in vulnerable communities & campaign to transition from an industrial to an ecological food system.

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In order to find radical solutions to achieving peace, prosperity and protecting the planet we must address the interconnectedness of the crises that threaten them and are at the root of the turbulent world we live in i.e. the growing ecological crisis, which includes the climate crisis and the crisis of biodiversity erosion and species extinction, along with the ever deepening economic crisis and global inequality, the increasing conflicts,  and violence. 

Extraction, Inequality and violence

These crises are rooted in an old economic paradigm of “false prosperity” based on out dated model of limitless growth, over utilization and extraction of earth’s resources, and an unsustainable model of production and consumption.  When the non sustainability of land use and water use based on  the extractive logic combines with the extreme impacts of climate change, we see large-scale, rapid displacement leading to violent conflicts.The violence to the Earth is inseparable from the violence in society.  The result of this extractive system can be seen around the globe, from North to South, West to East:   economic inequality is feeding  the violence and social unrest everywhere. Moreover, the intolerance to diversity , both of diverse species and of diverse cultures is undermining  ecological processes and fuelling hate and conflict . We need another model of prosperity which goes beyond the present economic model which maximizes profit at the cost of the Planet, peace, and of people. By linking peace with prosperity and the health of Planet we can start to overcome these insecurities and conflicts and cultivate a culture of sharing and peace.   

Changing our way of thinking

To stem this tide of deepening conflict, we must radically change our present mechanistic and separatist way of thinking to one based on the concept that all is linked, forged around people and the earth. The ecological circular law of return maintains the basis of the Planet’s sustainability.  For society, it is the basis of ensuring justice, prosperity, and peace. These are to be found in the fertile soil of the Planet, the human imagination and human action. True prosperity is created through economies that dont destroy the planet and people’s livelihoods, where everyone’s basic needs are met, which includes food, health and nutrition, and that people have meaningful work in providing for their needs. When these criteria are met, can we create the conditions of security and peace.Starting with the soil, we want to create Gardens of Peace, Diversity and Prosperity in India, Italy and Greece, to start to address the challenges of survival that vulnerable communities, particularly small farmers in India, and immigrants and refugees in Italy and Greece, face on a daily basis.


Industrial Model of Agriculture at the root of multiple crises

The industrial model of agriculture  is also based on the dominant paradigm of unlimited extraction and is at the root of these multiple crisis. Industrial farms produce only 30% food, using 75% of the land, and also destroying 75% of the soil, water, biodiversity, while emitting 50% of the Green house gases that are polluting the atmosphere and destabilising the climate systemLarge farms grow monocultures, using intensive chemicals, and energy intensive mechanisation. The costs of production in chemical, industrial agriculture systems is higher than the value of the output. Without giant subsidies they cannot survive. Farmers in distress and committing suicide are a symptom of an exploitative agriculture which extracts fertility from the soil and wealth from farmers.  

Sowing Diversity, Peace and Prosperity through Small farms and Gardens 

Scientific evidence and Navdanya's work shows that small farms based on diversity are more productive than large farms, providing more health per acre, more food per acre and higher yields per acre than giant industrial farms.Our work (Health per Acre) shows that nutrition per acre can be doubled, and rural incomes increased tenfold through small scale ecological farms.. Returning organic matter to the soil builds up soil nitrogen. A study we are undertaking  shows that organic farming increases upto 99% organic matter in the soil. Organic matter returned to the soil pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and puts it in the soil where it belongs . Scientists are now recognising that this is the most effective solution to climate change. Not only do small scale ecological farms and gardens avoid the emissions that come from industrial agriculture, organic farming transforms carbon in the air through photo synthesis and builds it up in the soil, thus contributing to higher soil fertility, higher food production and nutrition, and a sustainable, zero-cost technology for addressing climate change.  The renowned medical journal, The Lancet, recently published an article on the importance of the contribution of smallholder farmers to the quantity and quality of our global food supply and of their benefits and risk reductions against nutritional deficiencies, ecosystem degradation, and climate change.  Navdanya's experience of working with farmers across the country and Bhutan established that through adopting the principles of agroecology and biodiversity based organic farming farmers could not only increase their yields by 2 to 3 times but vis-à-vis can reduce their input costs. The small farmsmodel simultaneously takes care of the planet and people and provides health from food, as being free of toxic chemicals.   The solution to poverty, agrarian crisis, the health and malnutrition crisis is the same - care for the soil and care for our farmers, who nurture the soil and our health.  

Navdanya's Terra Viva - Our Soils, Our Commons Our Future and Gardens of Hope

In 2015, for the year of soil, Navdanya brought together experts from varied backgrounds - scientists, ecologists, environmentalists, UN experts amongst others to draft a manifesto that laid out a vision for a paradigm shift that has become necessary in the times of ecological, economic and social unrest. We initiated a pact for the protection of the planet, peace and prosperity on 9 November 2015 by planting a Garden of Hope in Paris and showed that through simple steps with high impact we can sow the seeds of change towards peace and true prosperity in harmony with the earth.  This pact has been endorsed by hundreds of organizations and movements throughout the world. Navdanya has also started a pilot project- the One Acre Farm project shows that biodiverse and ecologically intense production systems are the answer to food and nutrition security, prosperity and protection of the planet. 

Navdanya's project is thus to create a worldwide initiate that creates awareness on the links between violence, scarcity, ecological degradation on the one hand and between peace, prosperity as well being and regeneration of the planet on the other.  We will create a platform to bring together thinkers, practitioners and experts across varied backgrounds through a global conference, participatory publication and campaign. Navdanya will also create a  network of gardens and small farms

The Gardens will act as a lighthouse – one which highlights the consciousness between peace, prosperity and the Planet.    It is a site for public awareness education, linked to practical learning, activity, and consciousness building, showing that peace is possible, protecting the planet is possible, shifting your thinking is possible by becoming aware of how caring for the Planet is essential for attaining peace and prosperity. This is also one of the messages of Pope Francis in his Encyclica ‘Laudato Si’ where he urges people to care for the Earth and not let anyone go hungry.People will see for themselves that one seed leads to a thousand seeds, that there is no need for scarcity and that the Planet can create abundance if we only nurture and take care of it, beginning with the soil.  

Explain your idea

Sowing Diversity for Peace, Hope and Prosperity. The project sowing diversity is a global initiative to create awareness about the interconnectedness between peace, prosperity and regeneration of the planet as a solution to the ecological, economic, and social crisis through cultivating community gardens with vulnerable communities; a global campaign on a transition to ecological agriculture and an international initiative for a change in paradigm from violence to peace, from scarcity , disease and poverty to prosperity, from war against the earth to peace with the planet Activities - Global Campaign for a transition to small scale ecological agriculture and local food system based on biodiversity, regeneration of the soil in harmony with nature. While exposing the non sustainability of the existing industrial food paradigm, we will create awareness on how agro biodiversity, and ecological agriculture practices enhance sustainability, farmers' incomes and nutrition, equity and justice. - An international Dialogue, and a participatory publication to create a multidimensional and trans-disciplinary platform for bringing together farmers, growers, scientists, local communities, thinkers and practitioners from varied backgrounds to create a paradigm shift in consciousness from cultures of violence, uniformity and linear extraction to cultures of diversity, regeneration and giving back rooted in the soil. - Cultivation of gardens and small farms in Europe and India with vulnerable communities. These gardens will be sites for education and practical examples to show that Organic, local food systems not only regenerate the soil, are a solution to climate change, create prosperity through local circular economies. These local food economies based on diversity and traditional diets are also the answer to hunger and malnutrition crisis. This initiative will create awareness on the linkages between the multiple crisis of scarcity, degradation violence and the industrial food system paradigm on one hand and the linkages between peace, prosperity and well being, and regeneration of the planet through ecological, small scale agriculture food systems based on diversity. It will show that by creating diversity across species and cultures do we create the conditions of peace and abundance. It will also highlight the impacts of both these systems in different climates, cultures, political and economic contexts - one the biodiverse, ecological systems embedded in local food economies and cultures, and the other based on uniformity, a monoculture, chemical intensive, commodity producing system embedded in so called "free trade" based on the outdated model of limitless growth at any cost. Above all, by linking ecology, sustainability and social justice, the ecological approach becomes the social approach integrating questions of peace, justice and well being with the environment to heal both the cry of the earth and its people.

Who Benefits?

The campaign and project is targetted at all global citizens but particularly benefits vulnerable communities like peasants and farmers, migrants and refugees as well as communities seeing conflicts.

How is your idea unique?

The project is unique as it combines thought and action through a trans-disciplanary systems approach. It is based on the interconnectedness of ecology, society and economy. Navdanya has been at the forefront of showing connections between multiple crises but also connecting movements and actions on the ground. Its international campaigns as well as research has been focused on exploring the context of our food systems and its connections with soil, climate resilience, biodiversity, equity and social justice. Navdanya’s work over the last 30 years has been based on the emphasis of taking a holistic view through a systems approach to tackle the issues of our food systems Navdanya’s report and campaigns on biodiversity based production, campaigns on diverse women for diversity have focused on indigenous small farmer solutions rooted in local cultures and food habits as the key for sustaining nutrition and health and creating local living economies.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

Navdanya has been working for the past 30 years to connect ecology, diversity, equity and justice. Navdanya is a network of 1000,000 seed savers and ecological farmers, the backbone of the organization as well as a research organization specializing in Biodiversity, Indigenous Knowledge, Agro-ecology and Climate Change. Since its inception Navdanya is saving seeds, promoting chemical free organic, agroecological agriculture, defending people’s knowledge, Bio-piracy and deteriorating ecology by providing sustainable eco-friendly alternatives to corporate globalization. Navdanya’s network of seed keepers and organic producers is spread across 22 states in India and Bhutan. Navdanya has helped setup 124 community seed banks across the country, trained over 1 million farmers in seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture, helped more than 2 lac hectare land to switch to organic in last three decades, and established the largest direct marketing, fair trade organic network in the country. Navdanya has conserved more than 6000 indigenous open pollinated seeds in different parts of India and has also created about 5000 poison free zones in different parts of India. Navdanya has partnered with varied grassroots organizations and likeminded groups for lobby /advocacy and to spread its movements that include Seed Savers and Organic farmers groups, Grassroots farmer’s organizations, women's groups and organizations, voluntary organizations, National alliances and networks working on food and seeds both within country as well as at the International level. Navdanya established a learning center, Bija Vidyapeeth (School of the Seed) a center of excellence for Organic farming on its biodiversity conservation and organic farm in Doon Valley, Uttarakhand in North India. Till date thousands of international students have been trained on Biodiversity based organic farming, seed conservation, soil health management, soil food web, food processing etc. In 2011 an office of Navdanya International was established in Florence to co-ordinate the International campaigns and network of Navdanya based on 10 years of collaboration with the Government of the region of Tuscany Italy through the International Commission of the Future of Food. Navdanya is also involved in Active and Participatory Research on Biodiversity based Organic and Agroecological farming, Seeds, Foods, Soils and Soil ecology, Water, Biodiversity, Medicinal plants, Traditional knowledge and Climate change issues. Navdanya has published many reports and books on the above mentioned issues. Navdanya team includes scientists who have shaped the field of agroecology and organic farming and farmer trainers who have been seed keepers and practitioners of agroecology. The farm is constantly carrying out experiments in agroecology and has its own soil ecology lab which helps combine the best of traditional knowledge with new knowledge on agroecology and soil ecology.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

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