Navdanya and the Navdanya movement was created by Dr. Vandana Shiva 30 years ago in India to defend Seed and Food sovereignty and small farmers around the world. Navdanya pioneered the movement of seed saving and seed freedom, which began in response to the crisis of erosion of agricultural biodiversity and introduction of GMOs and patents on seeds through intellectual property rights (IPRs) and so-called ‘free trade’ agreements. It has long fought against biopiracy, the patenting of indigenous knowledge by self-interested multinational corporations and won cases related to Neem, basmati rice and wheat in India.
Navdanya promotes a new agricultural and economic paradigm, a culture of food for health, where ecological responsibility and economic justice replace the present greed, consumerism and competition which have become dominant in society. It aims at regaining the common good as a foundation for a renewed sense of community, solidarity and culture of peace.
We strive to achieve these goals through the conservation, renewal and rejuvenation of the gifts of biodiversity we have received from nature and our ancestors, and to defend these gifts as commons.
In the last 30 years, Navdanya’s research on Biodiversity based Agro-ecological farming has shown how Agroecology can increase nutrition and health, as well as farmers incomes while rejuvenating soil, water and biodiversity and enhancing climate resilience.
The Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm, founded in 1995, is where the actual practice of Navdanya methods of agroecology and organic farming takes place. It functions as a living system from which farmers, school groups, course participants and interns can learn. Thanks to Navdanya’s learning centre Earth University (Bija Vidyapeeth) farmers from across India can get trained in organic farming to create the future in agroecology. Courses are organised every year for citizens’ organizations and movements from all over the world to explore the principles and practice of sustainability and diversity and learn from the cutting edge ecological research combined with practical experience.
Navdanya has been instrumental in conserving biodiversity through the set up of 124 community centred, decentralised indigenous seed banks across India, which are making farmers free of dependence on costly unreliable nutritionally empty seeds and helping them move from vulnerability to resilience in the context of climate change.
Navdanya International was founded in Italy in 2011 to strengthen Navdanya’s global outreach in its mission to protect Nature, Earth’s biodiversity and people’s rights to seed and food and protect farmers’ rights to save, exchange and evolve seeds, as well as to protect indigenous knowledge and culture.
Navdanya International launched its global Seed Freedom Campaign in 2012 to bring to citizens’ attention the crucial role of seed in the battle to defend food sovereignty and food safety and help strengthen the movement to save and exchange seeds in response to the growing corporate hijacking of our seeds and our food. In the context of the deepening global seed emergency and food crisis, Navdanya International formed the Global Movement for Seed Freedom as a way of uniting the diverse groups and organisations around the world saving seeds, resisting the criminalisation of seed saving and promoting ecological agriculture, and to add strength to the mobilization against the industrialization, poisoning and impoverishment of our food systems. The Seed Freedom Movement has grown into a very strong and vibrant global community, which continues to expand through the mushrooming of hundreds of local seed groups and networks throughout the world, through festivals, workshops, demonstrations and policy advocacy campaigns.
Navdanya International has been at the forefront of showing connections between multiple crises in the global debate in a holistic perspective, but also connecting movements and actions on the ground. Its international campaigns, convergences and assemblies and advocacy actions have been focused on exploring the context of our food systems and its connections with soil, climate resilience, biodiversity, equity and social justice, with the aim of adding strength to the global mobilization against the industrialization, poisoning and impoverishment of our nutrition and environment, in order to create change at a systems level.
Through its Earth Democracy project, Navdanya International works to promote a new vision for a Planetary Citizenship, an alternative worldview, rooted in caring and compassion for the Earth and Society, where ecological responsibility and economic justice, based on the Law of Return, are central to creating a liveable future for humanity.