Seed, at the heart of our supply chain!
Supply chain of any agriculture product starts from the seed. The seed holds the DNA of the crop to be cultivated as well as plays an important role in preserving our bio diversity.
To get to know and understand importance of Seeds, I decided to visit Navdanya, a seed bank and learning centre situated at the footsteps of Himalaya in the city of Dehradoon in Uttarakhand, India. The organisation was founded by Dr. Vandana Shiva, a world renowned activist, writer and teacher in preserving our bio diversity, ecosystem and become “Anna purna” (A Sanskrit word for capable of serving own food needs).
In the following sections, I will go through what I learned at Navdanya, my experiences interacting with its staff and students and lectures delivered by Dr. Vandana Shiva and how it resembles in our vision for our company.
The lectures were named Earth Democracy with focus upon:
- Role of us (human species) in our eco system
- Understanding biological rights as basic rights for every species in our eco system
- Bio diversity and it’s important in our society
- Rejuvenation of earth
Seed is defined by Dr. Vandana Shiva as a “Self-organized evolving entity which has potential to feed everyone on the planet”. Through patenting and commercialisation of seeds and GMO products, we have created an artificial food scarcity, suggests Dr. Vandana Shiva which in term has led to some of the above problems causing more damage to mother earth. Deforestation in Africa for cocoa and coffee is an ongoing example. Nature is a diverse, self-organizing entity and we should not curtail its freedom through our practices.
Art of living and making money
According to Dr. Vandana Shiva:
One major reason for this continuing destruction is mixing art of living with art of making money and giving all importance to the latter. We need to get out of the closed dynamics of land and labour for the capital and need to redefine productivity not only in terms of labour but value of seeds, land, and farmer wages. The quality of food we eat, food resources should be our currency to measure one’s success and quality of life instead of the money in the bank account.
One of the basic problems is our understanding of agriculture production and yield. In big, industrialised farms, only quantity of products per worker is taken into account for a yield of the product. The current equation of yield is:
We need to start taking taking into account
- Quality of the product
- Condition of the farm, soil and environment
- Nutritional value of the product which depends on the quality of the soil.
The modified definition of yield then becomes:
We are currently faced by major challenges of :
- Rapid extinction of species
- Water Scarcity
- Climate Change
- Migration of people and their criminalisation
We have reached a tipping point and we need to change and act fast before it’s too late. This change needs to come at many places starting right from the seeds.
We need to shift from economy defined by extracting of resources and converting to money to a regenerative, circular economy where what we take from mother earth, we also give it back!
This is at the heart of our core principles. You can get more details on our seeds here. With change in our thinking and in our buying choices, we can change the focus from price and yield to respecting and preserving our bio diversity.
Many thanks to the Navdanya Team and participants for a wonderful session!