|Press Release International Women’s Day, 8th March 2015|
Diverse Women for Diversity
Mahila Anna Swaraj
Initiative for Health , Equity and Society
Moms Across the World
BIODIVERSITY OR GMOS: WILL THE FUTURE OF NUTRITION BE IN WOMEN’S HANDS OR UNDER CORPORATE CONTROL?
Women have been the primary growers of food and nutrition throughout history, but today, food is being taken out of our hands and substituted for toxic commodities controlled by global corporations. Monoculture industrial farming has taken the quality, taste and nutrition out of our food. As a result, India is facing a nutritional crisis: every fourth Indian goes hungry, and in 2011 alone, diabetes took the lives of 1 million Indians. Globally, there is a disease epidemic because our food is nutritionally empty but full of toxics.
Now, the same companies who created the crisis are promising a miracle solution: GMOs. Genetically engineered Golden Rice and GMO Bananas are being proposed as solutions by corporations hiding behind the cloak of philanthropy as a solution to hunger and malnutrition in the Global South. But these are false miracles. Indigenous biodiverse varieties of food grown by women provide far more nutrition than the commodities produced by industrial agriculture. Golden Rice is 350% less efficient in providing Vit A than the biodiversity alternatives that women grow. GMO ‘iron-rich’ Bananas have 3000% less iron than turmeric and 2000% less iron than amchur (mango powder). Apart from being nutritionally empty, GMOs are part of an industrial system of agriculture that is destroying the planet, depleting our water sources, increasing green houses gases, and driving farmers into debt and suicide through a greater dependence on chemical inputs. Moreover, these corporate-led industrial monocultures are destroying biodiversity, and we are losing access to the food systems that have sustained us throughout time. When we consider the number of patents involved in these initiatives, it becomes all too clear that the only beneficiaries of these supposedly ‘people-led’ ventures are large companies operating for profit - not for people.
This needs to stop now. On this international women’s day, we call on all women – the world’s primary food-growers and food-givers – to stand together and join us in reclaiming our knowledge, our farming, and our food. To expose the lies generated by the GMO industry, to reject the false promises of Golden Rice and GMO Bananas, and to reclaim the planet for all living beings.
The alternative lies in women’s hands and minds
On International Women’s Day 8th March 2015, we the women of India and the world commit ourselves to reclaiming our seed, food, and knowledge sovereignty so that we can all enjoy healthy, safe, nutritious, tasty and diverse food. And through our food, we will reclaim our health and the health of the planet.
We will not allow a further degradation of our food systems and knowledge systems. We do not have to go down the road of replacing our biodiversity with GMO monocultures and our rich knowledge of food and nutrition with scientific and ethical fraud. We will not sacrifice our seed and food sovereignty for corporate control and profits.
We commit ourselves to
1 Promote and evolve the use of our indigenous seeds, crops and foods to address the crisis of malnutrition and health. http://seedfreedom.info
2 Spread gardens of hope, diversity and nutrition everywhere: in schools, on rooftops, on balconies.
3. Spread nutritional literacy about our diverse foods , and biosafety literacy about toxics and GMOs
3 Celebrate Mahila Anna Swaraj (food sovereignty in women’s hands) at Navdanya’s biodiversity farm in Doon Valley (27-29 March 2015) by strengthening alternatives that promote sustainability, justice and health
4 Celebrate Mother Earth Day ,22nd April 2015 to liberate the Earth , our farms , our kitchens and our bodies from the burden of disease. Celebrate the connection between the health of the soil and the health of all beings on the planet during 2015 theUnited Nations’ ‘Year of Soil’
As women, in all our vibrant diversity, we will make a paradigm shift from monocultures to diversity, from chemicals to organic, from reductionist and mechanistic science to ecological knowledge, from corporate control and monopolies to seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and knowledge sovereignty in women’s hands and women’s minds. We will grow alternatives to the ecological and health disaster of industrial agriculture and its new false promises of Golden Rice and GMO Bananas.
We will shape the future of food and nutrition through biodiversity in our hands and in our minds. We will take back our seeds, and we will take back our food.
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