Dr. Vandana Shiva, Navdanya
Who Feeds The World? Celebrate the Small Farmer.
Oct 6, 2013
(Video & Full Transcript)
There is such an intense debate about who feeds the world. There is one myth that without the Green Revolution India wouldn’t have been fed. But the Green Revolution was only rice and wheat, and it transformed bio-diverse systems with very high productivity into monocultures of rice, monocultures of wheat, pumped with high doses of chemicals, ten times more water. Today, our water has disappeared, our soils are polluted, a cancer train leaves Punjab because the toxics and pesticides have created a cancer epidemic.
The reality of who feeds the world is the biodiversity that we are growing here at Navdanya. These amazing millets, the forgotten foods that have disappeared from our fields and from our tables. The diversity of crops grown in cooperation. The amazing intensification of biodiversity where the beans grow with the cereals, where millets that produce forty times more nutrition and use next to no water give us food security in the worst of times. But because we’ve had an arrogance and a racism, assuming that only globally traded commodities are food and a racism that treats everything dark as inferior, we’ve driven out healthy food, we’ve driven out biodiversity, and we’ve replaced it with monocultures and industrial foods, and industrial agriculture.
Industrial agriculture accounts for only 28% of the world’s food production. It is using up 75% of the world’s resources. This is a highly inefficient system. If they were to reach 100% of the resources and destroy our soil, destroy our water, destroy the biodiversity and mess up the climate they could at best get to about 40% food supply, but with the collapse of the entire ecological base that gets food to us.
We are made repeatedly to believe that replacing monocultures of rice and wheat with monocultures of corn and soya that are genetically modified is feeding the world. Only 10% of corn and soya that is grown worldwide is going to people’s table. The rest is biofuel and animal feed. Why are we accepting a 10% myth as the basis of food security? When we have eaten 8,500 species of plants, when small farmers are still 72% of the food base. The 72% must become 100%. And we can make it 100% by defending our small farms, promoting diverse agriculture, promoting ecological intensification of the kind we see in these fields with beans and millets co-existing, with an amazing cooperation of the stalks of the cereals giving the support to the bean and the bean gives the free nitrogen to the soil and free protein to human beings.
These cooperative, intensive, biodiverse ecological systems are the source of food security. Small farms are also the source of food security. Gardens growing intensively like this are the source of food security. Making peace with the earth is the source of food security.
Industrial agriculture—whether it’s the Green Revolution or as GMOs—is a war against the planet. And it’s an inefficient system. It’s going to leave us with neither bread nor freedom, whereas cooperative arrangements between plants and humans and within the plant system, this beautiful pearl millet giving the support to a beautiful pearl bean, this is where the food of the world comes from, and the future food must all be like this, a garden of abundance, rather than a green desert full of poisons.
On World Food Day celebrate small farms, small farmers & local produce. Celebrate the real food heroes.
More information at Navdanya.