What’s in a seed? Life itself. Ten thousand years ago, Iraq, Egypt and India were the sites of the earliest sowing and harvesting of plants that had previously been gathered in the wild. It was a revolutionary development and made civilization possible. Since then humans have been able to grow food and feed themselves. Today, that freedom embodied in seeds is threatened. Multinational corporations, like Monsanto, have radically changed the agricultural landscape. The imposition of intellectual property rights and patenting have been ways corporations have devised to put a price tag on seeds and to undo what has been for millennia a shared heritage. Around the world there is backlash and resistance to the corporate hijacking of seeds. In many instances it is indigenous peoples who are leading the way in promoting sustainability and protecting the integrity of seeds.
Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned voice for sustainable development and social justice. A physicist, scholar, political activist and feminist, she is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She’s the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. She is the author of many books including Water Wars, Earth Democracy, Soil Not Oil, and Making Peace with the Earth.