the travels of the tanvi

rumbles of thunder

Report: Global Food Security and Sovereignty Threatened by Corporate and Government “Land Grabs” in Poor Countries

Report: Global Food Security and Sovereignty Threatened by Corporate and Government “Land Grabs” in Poor Countries. – Democracy Now

the foreword to the Oakland Institute report “Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab” is by the farmer and philanthropist Howard Buffett, son of the billionaire Warren Buffett. Howard Buffett writes the following, of land grabbing in Africa, he says, “These deals will make the rich richer and the poor poorer, creating clear winners who benefit, while the losers are denied their livelihoods…[Africa] does not need policies that enable foreign investors to grow and export food for their own people to the detriment of the local population. I’ll be even bolder—such policies will hurt Africa, fueling conflict over land and water…Africa is not a commodity. It must not be labeled ‘open for business.'”

AMY GOODMAN: What is the most important movement, would you say, to take note of in the world now in fighting back?

ANURADHA MITTAL: Well, Amy, the beauty of it is, the struggle that’s happening at the grassroots level. I’ve been in India, wherein POSCO—the local communities in Orissa, villages in Orissa are fighting back against the South Korean steel company POSCO, which has been trying to take over forest land, denying communities who depend on the forest products for their livelihoods. We know in Madagascar, it was the grassroots revolt which toppled the government, which was selling off half of the country’s arable land to a South Korean company, Daewoo. So, on one hand, we have to support these grassroots struggles, which might not be known internationally, but which are fighting back, because it is a matter of life and death. It is about livelihoods. It is about centuries of doing things of agriculture that they have practiced. At the same time, we have to challenge institutions such as the World Bank, that are once again coming forward with a paradigm, which is going to promote development, which we know is a completely false model and in fact will create these huge, big plantations with small-holder farmers who will become sharecroppers.

Spokes of Growth: Cycle. Cultivate. Celebrate.

Charm City Community Garden Tours on Saturday, August 21st 2010

2-5 Bus Tour: Baltimore City Master Gardeners UMD Extension leaving from and ending at Cylburn Aboretum

2-5 Bike Tour: Parks & People Community Greening Resource Network leaving from and culminating in

GARDEN PARTY @ 7pm @  Duncan Street Miracle Garden featuring live music, local food, & sustainable networking!

Global Perspectives on True Food

At the local hot spot for social justice discussions, Busboys and Poets, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Founder and Director of India-based Navdanya and Andrew Kremwell, Director for the D.C.-based Center for Food Safety were the featured speakers at “Global Perspectives on Genetically Engineered Foods.” 


For the sake of profits, corporations are genetically engineering seeds, and seeking to replace self sustaining biodiverse small scale agriculture- which are growing the seeds of native landraces- with pesticide and herbicide ridden monoculture crops that deplete our limited soil and water resources. The solution? According to Dr. Shiva and Andrew Krimwell, envisioning ourselves as creators rather than consumers. 

By composting, gardening, and eating local foods we are preventing the extensive corporate control of our food supply and ensuring our food sovereignty. The current patents on seed and life and the lack of labeling on Genetically Engineered foods are infringing on our rights to know and to choose what we consume. 

Overall Message: With a growing consciousness lies the prospect for a paradigm shift away from exploitative systems currently dictating policies around the world.
Read the rest of this entry »

Sowing Seeds Here & Now: After the Summit

Wow, Sowing Seeds Here & Now! A Chesapeake Urban Farming Summit was tremedous. We pulled it off, despite the stressful days leading up to the event where obstacles kept popping up. Great speakers, panelists and workshops; great food; and 400 amazing attendees all made it a great event not to mention the intense contributions of the organizers. We had an amazing batch of volunteers that also helped to make everything go as well as it did, plus the help of my buddies Ed & Ed of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. I was so glad to see everyone and everything come together for this wonderful cause.

I met quite a few interesting people incidentally, just chatting with a random person who turns out to be someone with a strong connection with you. For instance, I got one business card which is identical to one that once held my name- at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Agriculture Program. It turns out they too are turning towards the urban farming solution and are organizing in that direction. Indeed, so is Navdanya, the organization I worked for in India. It seems all things just come together! =D

At the lovely venue of Busboys and Poets, we held a fundraising event for Sowing Seeds, but that is also the same location where I met up with my collegues and mentors from India and the Center for Food Safety in DC for a great discussion. Which I will now proceed to post about as well.

Interview for Sowing Seeds Here & Now!

An interview with Anne Palmer of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Tyler Brown of Baltimore Civic Works Urban Farming Project Real Food Farm in Clifton Park.

In one of the hoop houses on the campus of Clifton High School, the two speak about their partnership and the project prior to their scheduled presentation on Friday, June 18th at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center at
Sowing Seeds Here and Now: A Chesapeake Urban Farming Summit

Hosted by Engaged Community Offshoots

name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><PARAM
name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><EMBED
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always"
allowfullscreen="true" width="960" height="745">

Urban Agriculture

Urban Farming 1


EPA to increase oversight over CAFO manure

Thanks in part to a lawsuit from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and Waterkeeper Alliance, the EPA has agreed to increase its oversight of manure discharges from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)*. The EPA estimates that CAFOs in the U.S.generate three times more bodily waste than humans do, yet CAFOs have virtually no waste treatment facilities. The lawsuit was brought in response to an EPA rule** that allowed CAFOs to make their own determination as to whether they were leaking manure into waterways that were covered by the Clean Water Act. Most didn’t volunteer to be regulated, of course, so regulators had no idea how many CAFOs were operating in their regions.  To prepare for the rulemaking specified in the settlement, the EPA will study CAFO operations more closely, looking at the quantity of animals at facilities, how waste is handled, and other relevant items.  The EPA will propose its regulation by May 25, 2011 and finalize it by May 25, 2012. (AP in the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Times Green blog, and an NRDC press release)

* The EPA defines large CAFOs as having more than any of these: 700 dairy cows; 1,000 cattle; 2,500 swine (> 55 lb.) or 10,000 swine (< 55 lb.); 55,000 turkeys; between 30,000 and 125,000 chickens, depending on how the waste is handled (PDF).

** Grist has a short piece about the EPA rule that launched the lawsuit. Much more detail is on the EPA’s CAFO Rule History page.EPA to increase oversight over CAFO manure.

Environmental & Health Crisis: Simple Solar Solutions

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

India’s Most Famous Political Prisoner Dr. Binayak Sen Speaks Out from India on the 3rd Anniversary of his Arrest

India’s Most Famous Political Prisoner Dr. Binayak Sen Speaks Out from India on the 3rd Anniversary of his Arrest.

Just under a year ago Dr. Binayak Sen, India’s most famous political prisoner, was released on bail after 2 years of imprisonment. Dr. Sen is a world-renowned “physician of the poor,” winner of the 2008 Jonathan Mann award for global health and human rights, and Vice President of India’s oldest civil liberties organization the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

He was charged under the the draconian and widely critiqued Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (or UAPA) and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act (CSPSA). The allegations against him ranged from helping the Maoist insurgency, being a member of a terrorist organization, to waging war against the Indian state.

Today is the third anniversary of his arrest and the trial against him continues. Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat reached Dr. Sen in India.


Solar Solutions to health and enviornmental risks

When I went up into the Himalayas, to a remote village, I stayed with a Navdanya coordinator, Shravan’s uncle. I called him my uncle. The family took extremely good care of me, the girls, Balber Chacha’s daughters, teased me and the boys ran around more oblivious to our inclusions in the household.

Ganga and Shravan’s Grandfather, Balber’s father was an older man, and since Carrie had last visited a month prior, he was in much better health. He’s passed away since I last visited. A neighboring village has burned down due to a kitchen fire. He laid by the fire, coughing, weak, ill. In every kitchen I saw in the village, a fire burned wood in the cow dung stove, the women squatted on the floor to cook in the dark kitchen rooms. Smoke filled the cold room as everyone gathered around the fire on the floor. Chachi (auntie) carefully spooned the meals, made from scratch daily by her as well as tending to the animals and the fields, dividing into haphazard metal dishes and bowls for large family. No one serves themselves, this would be rude and greedy. You are given as much can be spared. Food is not plentiful nor wasted. Countless times have I seen children running around disobediently avoiding the task of eating their vegetables or meal- I was a prime example of this- not one of the dozens of children I encountered ran from food, they waited patiently for their share and prompty consumed it.  In the Himalayas’, rain has become sporadic, and the dependable annual monsoon has failed two years in a row. Mounting evidence places the blame of the receding glaciers and altered precipitation and could patterns in the vast Himalayan ranges to climate chaos caused by greenhouse gases. Rivers run dry throughout the Indian subcontinent, ordinarily fed by the glacier melt water. One third of the world’s population depends on the water of those rivers. They don’t have the modern infrastructure we do, most bathe and fetch water directly from the rivers and wells fed by the glaciers.

The village of Sankri/Saur is located with in Govind National Forest. The dwellers, however, cut the branches off the trees to use as fuel to heat water and cook food. Burning the wood, and deforestation associated, both contribute to greenhouse gasses trees function as a tremendously effective carbon sink.

What possible alternative could exist to their burning firewood fuel to feed themselves, thus undermining not only their own agricultural capacity but also the water supply for the huge nation of India, and the global climate?

To me it the solution jumps out at me as obvious. Harnessing the sun’s energy and heat. Only with donations can villagers have access to this locally produced (with local resources) alternative.


%d bloggers like this: