Connecting Cultures through Regenerative Farming

(By Christina Stucker-Gassi, Healthy Food & Farms Lead)

Preparing the field for planting (left), Seed plots of hundreds of varieties of rice from all over the world are conserved by Navdanya (right). Photos taken by Christina Stucker-Gassi in 2015.

It is no secret that conventional farming activities contribute large amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, known causes of climate change. When factoring in the processing, packaging and distribution of food and fiber, some studies estimate one third of human driven emissions result from “business as usual” in the agricultural industry. However, there is a growing movement for wide scale adoption of sustainable and regenerative approaches to farming that actually trap carbon in the soil and rebuild the resiliency of human food and farming systems.

Climate change is more than just a hot topic, and NCAP is committed to working on the global fight to secure a livable climate future for generations to come. In 2011, former Executive Director Kim Leval sat down with Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya - Bija Vidyapeeth (the biodiversity conservation farm at Earth University). They talked about how NCAP’s mission to protect community and environmental health by inspiring ecologically sound alternatives to pesticides weaves into a larger movement to inspire and demand ecological responsibility. You can watch the full 10 minute interview below, or on NCAP’s YouTube channel (Part 1 / Part 2).

As the newest member of NCAP’s staff, I serendipitously found the interview while traveling in India this winter. At the end of the interview, Dr. Shiva suggests that there should be a cultural exchange between the two groups. It just so happens that in 2015 I traveled to the farm in north central India that serves as a home base for Dr. Shiva and her team, who are actively “involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture” across India and beyond. I met my partner on that trip and have traveled to northern India several times since then to visit family. These visits have deepened my knowledge and appreciation for all the work being done to regain control from multinational agribusinesses that continue to subvert traditional farming techniques.

As an undergraduate, I learned that India was the first nation in the world to legally recognize the rights of trees and rivers. In late 2018, they successfully won a lawsuit against Monsanto declaring seed patents invalid on Indian soil. This respect for the inherent value of healthy ecosystems connects people across the world who are pursuing workable solutions to the climate crisis.

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