“As long as the superstition that people should obey unjust laws exists, so long will slavery exist”
Seed affects all life on earth and every human being.
Open-pollinated organic seeds create the foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship with pollinators like butterflies and bees, soil organisms, birds and insects.
Chemically bred seed and monocultures destroy biodiversity both above and below the soil.
Farmers have bred open source seeds for health, nutrition, taste and diversity. Seeds of freedom for farmers are also seeds of freedom for everyone that eats food that farmers grow. Healthy seeds produce healthy food, whereas seeds bred to respond to chemicals or genetically modified seed contributes to disease and ill-health. Seed Freedom is Food freedom.
Each of us needs to become a seed defender to protect the freedom of seed and biodiversity and our own freedoms to have healthy, safe and diverse food. We need to act because industrial farming, genetic engineering and seed patents are undermining our freedoms.
You can be a seed defender by joining actions through the Seed Freedom Movement. Click here for the Seed Freedom Action Kit to see how you can join the campaign and participate in our fortnight of actions!
Actions can include:
- Legal action to challenge patents and biopiracy
- Political action to demand GMIO labeling to defend the right to have GMO-free seed and food like the California ballot initiative
- Gandhi had said “As long as the superstition that people should obey unjust laws exists, so long will slavery exist”. He considered it a moral duty to not cooperate with unjust and brute law, like the apartheid laws of South Africa or the Salt Laws the British tried to impose in India. Mahatma Gandhi started the Salt Satyagraha to protest against the colonization of salt by the Salt Laws imposed by the British Empire. We need to spread the Bija (seed) Satyagraha Movement to say no to Patents on seed and life forms. We need to begin a non-cooperation movement against unjust and immoral intellectual property right law from being imposed by global seed corporations.
A Look Through Time: Navdanya’s History of Bija Satyagrahas
1991: This marks the beginning of the Bija Satyagraha Movement organized by Navdanya to help keep seed in the farmers’ hands. Participants vowed not to cooperate with Intellectual Property Rights Laws, and the Seed Act both of which make seed a corporate monopoly and seed saving and sharing a crime.
1992: In February, Navdanya organized a national conference regarding GATT and Agriculture with the help and support of Karnataka Rajya Ryota Sangha. The following October, a massive farmers rally in Hospet was organized by Navdanya and KRRS that was launched following the the launch of the Gandhi rally in Hospet based on the fight for truth and non-cooperation with unjust regimes.
1993: In March, a national rally was held at the Red Fort in Delhi under the national leadership of the Bharatiya Kisan Union. Independence Day was celebrated with farmers asserting their collective Intellectual Property Rights.
Half a million farmers took to the street and participated in the historic Bija Satyagraha Rally at Bangalore’s Cuban Park. This was the very first international protest agains the World Trade Organization (WTO).
1999: In March, Navdanya reinstated the Bija Satyagraha Movement against with the help of 2500 groups defending farmers’ rights and seed freedom in the face of biopiracy and seed monopolies. The Bija Satyagraha marked a new freedom movement against a new colonization of life, livelihood, and living resources.
2000: 400 farmers from all over the world came together to form a Beej Panchayat (People’s Seed Tribunal) to provide evidence of the seed and agriculture crisis in the wake of globalization, pushing small farmers to suicide. In response to the deepening crisis Navdanya took the initiative to organize a Bija Yatra with a focus on seed rights, seed conservation, and sustainable agriculture.
Under the Bija Satyagraha Campaign Navdanya achieved a major victory when seed giant Syngenta tried to grab Dr. Richharia’s collection of over 22,972 rice varieties.
Navdanya, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and West Bengal Institute of Juridical Sciences drafted an alternative Intellectual Property Right law which provides sovereign rights to the nation over its genetic resources and gives recognition to the community’s rights over its own biodiversity.
2005: From January through March Navdanya and its partners undertook further Bija Satyagraha Campaigns to declare non-cooperation with the new Patent Laws which allow the patenting of life, the Seed Act, and the criminalizing of farmers.
2006-2007: In light of the passage of the Seed Act and the growing number of farmer suicides on May 9th, a Bija Yatra was launched to mark 150 years of struggle for freedom, to stop the genocide of our farmers and reclaim our food sovereignty. The yatra began in Wardha District in Maharashtra and concluded on May 26th in Bangalore.
The internationalization of Bija (Seed) Satyagraha has come to mean for us, the globalization of peoples rights and seed freedom through the resistance to centralized control over biodiversity, and all aspects of life. These movements are organized, and will continue to be undertaken so as to articulate the voices of small farmers throughout India, to prevent the seed and their livelihoods from becoming dictated by the corporate sector and peoples’ interests that are driven by profits.