Dr. Vandana Shiva trained as a Physicist at the University of Punjab, and completed her Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, but she is best known and loved as a food activist and a saver of seeds! Dr. Shiva got her grassroots start as an early critic of Asia’s Green Revolution, which was an international effort that began in the 1960's.  The goal was to increase food production in less-developed countries through higher-yielding seed stocks and the increased use of pesticides and fertilizers. The Green Revolution increased pollution, caused a loss of indigenous seed diversity and traditional agricultural knowledge, and created a dependence of poor farmers on costly chemicals. In response, Dr. Shiva founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (RFSTN) in 1982, an organization devoted to developing sustainable methods of agriculture. Through this organization, scientists established seed banks throughout India to preserve the country’s agricultural heritage, while training farmers in sustainable agricultural practices.

In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade. For the last two decades, Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations, serving more than 500,000 men and women farmers. Navdanya’s efforts have resulted in the conservation of more than 3000 rice varieties from across India, and the organization has established 60 seed banks in 16 states across the country. In 2004, Dr. Shiva started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K.

 

Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual inquiry with courageous activism, and her work spans teaching at universities worldwide to working with peasants in rural India. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental ‘hero’ in 2003, and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators in Asia. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe.

Dr. Shiva has authored more than 20 books, including; Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (1997)Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (1999), Tomorrow’s Biodiversity (2000),  Patents: Myths and Reality (2001), Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit (2002), Globalization’s New Wars: Seed, Water, and Life Forms (2005), Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (2005), and Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed (2007) to name just a few.