Act for Seed & Food Freedom: 2-16 October 2013

I am in Navdanya’s Seed Bank where for more that 25 years with love and with care we have been saving every seed we come across. It’s a place that gives me the deepest of joy, the deepest of hope, the deepest of peace. PEACE: because there isn’t conflict here, either between the plants or for the plants; it’s a community seed bank to be shared as a commons. JOY: because life is about joy, the art of living is the art of joyful living. And HOPE: because we are living in times where the amazing memory in each of these seeds: the memory of the land, the memory of our ancestors, the memory of evolution… all of that memory is being attempted to be wiped out by a handful of corporations for a few short years, so they can collect royalties by genetically modifying the seeds. And that is why we call on you to join the movement for Seed Freedom and Food Freedom, particularly in the Fortnight of Action from 2nd October, Gandhi’s birth anniversary to 16th October dedicated to World Food Day by the United Nations. Wherever you look there are laws being passed to make it illegal for people to have their Food Sovereignty and their Seed Sovereignty. The European Commission is attempting to pass a law to make it illegal to have local seeds. Colombia: the farmers are on the streets being shot at, because the US-Colombia Free Trade Treaty has introduced Intellectual Property Rights on Seed and the Colombians see the Seed as their common heritage. Africa: there are laws for harmonisation, whether it is for breeders rights or for patenting and for compulsory registration. Different ways to squeeze the freedom of the Seed, squeeze the freedom of the farmer and squeeze the freedom of ordinary citizens who would like to choose from diversity, who would like to know what they eat. And that is the reason we want labelling laws. The labelling battle for California was defeated with 40 million dollars bought by industry. Now every State in the United States, whether it be Washington, whether it be Hawaii, people are asking for a simple freedom: the Right to Know what you eat. How can it be the democracies are not allowing these fundamental rights? Gandhi taught us that as long as the idea survives that unjust laws must be obeyed, so long will slavery survive. That’s why he refused to cooperate with the apartheid laws of South Africa; that is why Martin Luther King, 50 years ago, with the Civil Rights Movement, talked about a dream, a dream where everyone would be free by being equal. That’s the dream we are carrying on, a dream for every species, every butterfly, every bee, every earthworm, every soil organism to be free, every seed of every crop variety to evolve in freedom; the tiniest of farmers and the littlest of children to have the freedom to sow a seed and harvest from that seed for the future. So we call on you to identify the laws in your countries that are taking away these freedoms: of the earth, of our species and of human beings. Identify and then let us do with them what Gandhi did with the Salt Laws of the British. Tell them we will not obey. The British tried to make salt-making their monopoly. Gandhi walked to the beach, picked up the salt and said: “We will make our own salt, we will not obey”. Unjust laws should not be obeyed and 2nd October 2013 should be a celebration of non-cooperation with unjust laws for seed slavery in order to have Seed Freedom. And 16th October is World Food Day. Before that we must march on 12th of October repeating the March Against Monsanto, going right up to their gates everywhere telling them: “You can buy the Blackwaters of the world, you can put out intelligence to hound each scientist and activist. We are not afraid. We will not allow a Monsanto rule through Monsanto laws to shape our seeds, our agriculture, our food. On 16th October, Monsanto has given itself a World Food Award for saving the world from hunger. 72% of the food of the world comes from small farmers. The Real Food Heroes are gardeners and small farmers, our mothers and our grandmothers, the neighborhood chefs, the market gardeners. Let us on 16th of October identify and honour the Real Food Heroes who give us Real Food. Let us celebrate the gifts and diversity of Nature, let us celebrate every person who is making a safe, healthy, nutritious food system possible. Let us celebrate our Seed and Food Freedom and commit ourselves to defend it, no matter how much the corporations would like to take over our seed and food. We will not allow them. And when we stand together as one humanity, each of us in our little place but one in our consciousness, one in our solidarity, one in our common commitment to Seed Freedom and Food Freedom, we are a bigger power than the most brutal corporations and their dictatorships. We will celebrate with you in the Fortnight of Action.

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