Who Really Feeds the World?

“Nature is living and she is intelligent.”

shiva

I had the privilege to listen to environmental activist and eco feminist Dr. Vandana Shiva speak at Drake University this week. I had no idea what to expect from her speech, but I am very glad I attended!  She was insightful, inspiring, and hopeful for our worlds future.  Her topic was “Who Really Feeds the World?” and I wanted to write down a few things she said that were inspiring to me.

  • You can learn so much about the earth from people, especially people who society calls ‘illiterate’.
  • “We forgot it was insects who pollinate our crops.”  Instead, we have been killing them with chemicals.
  • Diversity should be celebrated in every context, including our food!
  • Nobody invented plants or animals (aka life).  We may have modified something, but nobody deserves a patent on life.
  • “Hunger is in the design of industrial farming.”
  • We seem to have declared life and diversity as our enemies.
  • “We need to build relationships of love, not relationships of capitalism!”
  • “A system that is killing the planet cannot give us food.”
  • Farmers are incredibly important.  They are the last people who are working with our earth, and they have the ability to turn back some of our harmful practices.  Their work is important and should be used to heal the planet.
  • “Nature is living and she is intelligent.”
  • “Every human process we have put in place is reversible.”

Dr. Shiva was very knowledgable and she does a lot of work to help farmers get out of the struggles that come with industrialized farming practices.  She helps farmers turn to completely organic practices, teaches the art of seed-saving, and works to promote diversity within crops.  She had so much insight on how industrial farming has affected everyone on the planet in some way, but she is especially focused on how it has affected farmers in India.  She spoke of a suicide epidemic among farmers because of the horrible financial stresses caused by industrialized farming.  This is a very sad reality, and one that I was completely unaware of.  I am saddened by this, but also hopeful that the work that Vandana Shiva and many others are doing will work to end this trend.

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Dr. Shiva delivering her speech at Drake University (11/16/16)