| Inspiration to Millions |
If you don’t know her amazing story, you should. She’s Vandana Shiva, environmental guru and so much more. Based in New Delhi, she’s been a thorn in the side of GMO thugs like Monsanto and became high priestess of India’s tree huggers as far back as the 1970s. She’s fought for biodiversity, a return to organic and sustainable agricultural practices, the rights of India’s rural women. She’s also an acclaimed physicist. She was honored with the Right Livelihood Award (the alternative Nobel Prize) in 1993 “for placing women and ecology at the heart of human discourse.”
When you visit New Delhi, go to the government-sponsored Dilli Haat market in the south of the city. Not only will you find an excellent traditional Indian handicrafts and artisan goods from all over the country, there’s a modest organic Slow Food Café and retail shop run by Dr. Shiva’s Navdanya (“9 seeds”) Agrotech Research Foundation. (It’s not far from Hauz Khas Village, where she has also a small organic shop.)
So much has been written about Dr. Shiva’s good green work that we won’t try to rehash it here. Perhaps the best thing we can add is that she has inspired so many, many others in her country and around the world to emulate her. Bija Devi is among these. This lady has worked as a farmer since she was a child and has never spent a day at school. She doesn’t know how old she is. But fellow farmers from all over India seek her out. She heads a Navdanya farm in the foothills of the Himalayas that is a central seed bank for more than 1,000 varieties of “lost” cereals, lentils, fruits and veggies—plus an astounding 500 varieties of rice!
As she told the Hindustan Times, “When farmers used our seeds, they realized the soil was retaining its fertility and the crop was free from disease and pests…. I am no scientist, but I know that chemicals and hybrids have harmed the soil. But we can still restore fertility and conserve water if we act now.”