“Who sows wheat sows justice” – Zarathustra
Twenty five years ago the Diverse Women for Diversity movement started with the statement of concern:
“We women, in all our vibrant and fabulous diversity, have witnessed the increasing aggression against the human spirit, human mind and human body and the continued invasion of and assault upon the Earth and all her diverse species. And we are enraged.
We demand of governments, international organizations, transnational corporations and individual men who share our rage, that they address the crisis that has been caused by the creation of mono cultures and the reduction, enclosure, and extinction of biological and cultural diversity.
We insist that those who would address the crisis listen to and take leadership from women, indigenous peoples, farmers, and all who have raised these concerns at the local level. We ask them to heed those whose wisdom, stewardship, knowledge and commitment has already been demonstrated by the preservation of the diversity we celebrate today.”
Founding Statement of Diverse Women for Diversity
We, Diverse Women for Diversity, diverse in culture, race, religion, socio-economic conditions, have one common goal: biological and cultural diversity as the foundation of life on Earth. We stand for self-sufficiency, self-reliance and solidarity, locally and globally.
We, Diverse Women from all walks of life, are creating a new solidarity, where we show that our cultures have long existed on this Earth in peace. At the 1996 World Food Summit we declared that we must keep food sovereignty in women’s hands in the face of industrial agribusiness that was creating disease, hunger and ecological destruction. Coming from all over the world, the Diverse Women For Diversity movement has continued to gather and share the belief that our differences, our contexts, the variety of our voices, the variety of ways that they express our care, is the key to resist the imposition of industrial uniformity. It is our diverse cultures that will continue to lead the way to the future.
In March 2023, we gathered at the Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm in Dehradun, India for for an international festival to celebrate the unique and rich diversity of life, cultures, food and knowledge, to share our struggles, victories, and actions in defense of the Earth, biodiversity, and food. Over 150 women gathered, from more than 20 countries, from all across 21 states of India, Latin America, North America, Europe, Japan, Africa, and Australia, among many others. Together we were farmers, bakers, poets, archivists, indigenous leaders, travelers, fisherwomen, archaeologists, gift economists, geneticists, academics, doctors, mothers, and more. We were in our twenties and we were in our eighties. We celebrated our Sacred Mother Earth by planting a Garden of hope with seeds from all over the world, cooking and sharing our Breads of Freedom. We shared seeds, prayers, music and dance. It was a celebration of Nature, the sacred laws of Ecology and the regeneration of the Earth Family through women’s creativity and power.Our celebration also became the space for us to reflect on the current state of our world, and how we see the answers to all the overlapping crises in Mother Earth.
In a world increasingly being controlled by surveillance capitalism and financialization of all life forms, we reject and denounce all false solutions. We resist all attempts by the corporate world and their allies to re-edit and engineer the genetic basis of life for corporate profit. We do not accept genetically engineered crops and animals, including gene edited food, or fake foods, which result in greater monopolization by corporations and further destroy biodiversity. We call for no more contamination, pollution, distortion and colonisations of our food. No more resource exploitation, no more ecological destruction, and theft of our indigenous knowledge.
Instead we call for the imperative transition to local, biodiverse, ecological systems that work in harmony with nature, in order to heal ourselves through healing the Earth. We are all connected through biodiversity, from the soil microorganisms, to plants, animals, our food and our microbiome. We need diversity in food systems, diversity in seed, diversity in food and economies. We are all made and interconnected through these living webs of diversity. Just as the biodiversity of life connects us all, so does our cultural diversity, our language diversity, and the diversity of our struggles. Diversity is the thread that connects us all.
Today, women are again in the vanguard of defending biodiversity, seed freedom, and food sovereignty. Women activists, scientists and scholars are at the forefront of shaping new scientific and economic paradigms to reclaim seed sovereignty and food security across the world. As seed keepers and food producers, as mothers and consumers, we are engaged in renewing a food system that is better aligned with the ecological processes of the earth’s renewal, the laws of human rights and social justice, and the means through which our bodies stay well and healthy.
Eighty percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found on Indigenous land. It is time we start listening to women, indigenous people and the small-scale farmers protecting their plants, seeds and cooperating with Mother Nature to live in harmony with the Earth. Our food is our life, and we will continue to defend it. We stand for the promotion, protection and practice of diversity: biological, cultural, economic, political, and knowledge. We will continue to share and reaffirm the commons, the knowledges for living, the true science of life, all rooted in ecofeminist and indigenous epistemology.
Just as Mahatma Gandhi’s spinning wheel, the Charkha, became a symbol for freedom, Seed has become our Charkha for the emancipation of all life forms from transnational corporations and the governments they have captured in this period of recolonisation. Seed is self-organized complexity in permanent renewal, regeneration and interconnectedness. We call for a celebration of the Seed, symbol of life and of future potentials. We recognize that the revitalization, and conservation of biodiversity is only possible through diverse women, their culture, their needs, and their creativity. We stand for Seed Freedom, freedom of people, freedom of the Earth, and the freedom of every living species. The conservation of diversity is the commitment to let alternatives flourish in society and in nature, in economic systems and in knowledge systems.
The future of food and the future of life on earth, as well as the solutions to the ecological collapse cannot be found in the logic and hands of those who caused it in the first place. Solutions are in the hands of women, agroecological farmers, social movements and networks that are resisting the disruption of nature and society.
Learn more about DWD