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Leading Environmental Experts Dr. Vandana Shiva and Dr. Hans Herren Embark on Japan Speaking Tour
Shumei International Hosts the 2nd Annual SEED FREEDOM: Seed, Soil and Food for the Future series with Navdanya and the Slow Small School from December 12-14
This is the first time Dr. Herren, a World Food Prize laureate and an internationally recognized scientist in the field of ecology, agriculture and health, will participate in the tour. Shumei International launched the “SEED FREEDOM: Seed, Soil and Food for the Future” series with Dr. Shiva, the founder of Navdanya and recent inductee into the Kyoto Earth Hall of Fame, in 2013 with events in Tokyo and Fukushima.
Now in its second year in Japan, the SEED FREEDOM series is part of a growing global campaign and movement started by Dr. Shiva to spread awareness about the current precarious state of the global seed supply and its consequent threat to food security. The SEED FREEDOM campaign puts a spotlight on the rapid erosion of seed diversity and seed sovereignty. Small farmers, who have bred seeds freely in partnership with each other and nature for hundreds of years, are under attack. The rapid increase in acreage devoted to genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops and patented GMO seeds is threatening to undermine the foundation of worldwide agriculture.
“Every year the interconnected crises of our planet become clearer,” warned Dr. Vandana Shiva, who advocates for biodiversity conservation and the promotion of organic farming around the world. “Industrial agriculture has degraded our land, destroyed our biodiversity, and uprooted farmers from their livelihoods and culture. By privatizing and patenting the seed, the old economy has created an ecological crisis and an economic disaster. It is imperative that we reclaim the commons of the seed, our land, and our cultural heritage.”
Dr. Herren joins the SEED FREEDOM tour with extensive experience working to improve the lives of people in developing countries both with actions on the ground in Africa, and by empowering governments around the world in making informed sustainable development policy decisions supported by system dynamics scenario models.
“Seeds are at both ends of life, and embody all the characteristics that will allow them to grow, mature and perpetuate the life cycles of most living organisms on the planet, including humans. This fact should tell us to treat the seeds with respect and assure that their stewardship remains in the hands of the millions of small-holder farmers, who will nurture them for the generations to come,” said Dr. Hans Herren, president and CEO of the Millennium Institute and the founder of the Biovision Foundation.
In addition to the interactive panels focused on the future of seeds and food security, the engagements will include film screenings of “Embracing the Seed: The Source of Life”, which feature Dr. Shiva, and a sustainable open market at the Kobe Convention Center.
“Since SEED FREEDOM launched more than one year ago, the issues of food security and agricultural biodiversity have only become more important, especially in Japan,” said Alice Cunningham, director of International Affairs for Shumei International, which has natural agriculture programs around the world. “To more fully address the looming crisis in food security, we are taking a more holistic approach and expanding our focus to support small farmers, natural seed saving, soil health, cultivating local crops and promoting harmony with nature in different ways. This tour will be an exciting way to take part in the discussion and hear from two of the leading minds in food security and sustainable agriculture.”
The tour will start on Friday, December 12th, at the Visionary Institute in Roppongi Hills (6 Chrome Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo). “Embracing the Seed: The Source of Life” will run from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the presentations from Dr. Shiva and Dr. Herren will take place between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. On Saturday, December 13th, Dr. Shiva and Dr. Herren will present and answer questions at Meiji Gakuin University (1-2-3 7 Shriokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo) from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The final engagement on Sunday, December 14th will be at the Kobe International Conference Center (6-9-1 Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture). From 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. “Embracing the Seed: The Source of Life” will play, followed by the presentations from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The sustainable produce and product market will be open to the public between 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
About Shumei International
Shumei International is a Japanese-based organization dedicated to working toward the betterment of the human community. Shumei has Natural Agriculture programs around the world that foster a way of life that is in harmony with nature. It also promotes an appreciation of beauty through programs in the arts. All of Shumei’s activities support the balance between inner and outer development. For more information, visit www.shumei-international.org / www.shumei.or.jp
Navdanya is a movement started in 1987 by Dr. Vandana Shiva to protect biodiversity and the integrity of all species, promote the practice of a nonviolent agriculture that works with nature and not against her, and create an Earth Democracy, based on the respect of all members of the Earth Community. For more information, visit www.navdanya.org / www.vandanashiva.org
About Seed Freedom
Seed Freedom is a global campaign and movement started by Dr. Vandana Shiva to spread awareness about the current precarious state of our seed supply and its consequent threat to food security. The Seed Freedom Campaign aims to raise awareness of the state of seeds, what seed means in diverse cultures, how bio-cultural diversity is threatened, and how new movements by indigenous people, farmers, community gardens and others are creating new strategies to defend seed sovereignty. For more information, visit www.seedfreedom.in