avatar
On Resisting GMOs: “Saving Seeds Is a Political Act”


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: The seed has been a major part of your work. Could you
say a little about what a seed is at its essence?

Vandana Shiva: line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>So what is it worth?

Shiva: It’s priceless. There is no price to seed, which is why the commodification of seed is such an outrage. Every culture that I’ve come across believes that destroying seed is the ultimate sin. Communities have starved to death rather than eat the seed grain.

van Gelder line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”> Can you say more about that? What is the relationship of freedom
to biodiversity?

Shiva: Life is self-organized. Self-organized systems evolve in diversity. You
are not identical to me, because each of us has evolved in freedom. The self-organizing capacity of life is expressed in diversity. Diversity of culture, diversity of humans, diversity of seeds.

Uniformity is constructed from the outside. It is coercive. So a farm of only Roundup Ready soya is actually a battlefield. Chemical warfare is going
on—spraying of Roundup to kill everything green, to kill the soil organisms,
to kill the diversity, but also to kill the potential of the crop to manage itself
and diseases.

Monocultures can only be held together through external control, and
uniformity and external control and concentration go hand in hand.

van Gelder: line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”> If anything, things have gotten more dire since the last time we
talked. How do you get energized and keep your own spirits up?

Shiva: You know it is true that on the one hand, the concentration of power is
more than ever before. But I think the awareness about the illegitimacy of this
power is also more than ever before. If you take into account the number of
movements, the number of protests taking place, and the number of people building alternatives, it’s huge.

The first place where I get joy as well as the energy to continue is the positive
work of seed saving, promoting a peaceful agriculture, working with farmers, and now increasingly working with non-farmers. In the course we are running on the farm right now, we have 55 young people—someone from a banking system, someone from a software firm, three filmmakers.

No matter where in the world you are, people are realizing food is important. They are realizing food begins with seed, and everyone wants to learn. When I see those processes get unleashed, when I see how rapidly gardening has become such an important way of healing violence—I just met a young man who’s working with ex-convicts to spread gardens. That’s his work! He’s created a firm, and they are the owners, and the board members—how can you not be charged with energy?

How To Eat Like Our Lives Depend On It, the Winter 2014 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah is executive editor of YES! 

Leave a comment