Social worker and farmer activist Vijay Jarhdhari of Beej Bachao Andolan (Uttarakhand) has been given the prestigious “Indira Gandhi Priyadardarshini Environment Award” by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The award, carrying a silver lotus plaque and cash prize of Rs 3 Lakhs (Rs 3,00,000/-, approximately US$ 5500, at current exchange), was presented to him at a special ceremony in New Delhi on Environment Day, 5 June 2012, when a special biodiversity train was also flagged off. In the next three years, the train carrying the message of biodiversity conservation will travel all over India. Continue reading
By Masanobu Fukuoka
Published on Friday, July 20, 2012 by Common Dreams
The following commentary is adapted from the posthumously published Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Masanobu Fukuoka (Chelsea Green, 2012). Fukuoka was the author of the international bestseller One-Straw Revolution. He died in 2008. Given the recent news about the extended drought facing much of the United States, we thought our readers might want to read Mr. Fukuoka’s deep insight into how Western agricultural practices have helped to create vast deserts across the planet, while on the surface appearing very “green.” In fact, Mr. Fukuoka notes, below the grassy surface, soils are being depleted and drained — becoming deserts under our feet. As you read this, keep in mind that Sowing Seeds in the Desert first appeared in print – in Japanese – in the mid-1990s.
Although the surface of the ground in Europe and the United States appears to be covered with a lovely green, it is only the imitation green of a managed landscape. Beneath the surface, the soil is becoming depleted due to the mistaken agricultural practices of the last two thousand years. Continue reading
By Common Dreams staff
Bay area residents on Sunday, in order to prevent development of a chain grocery store, reclaimed 10 acres of land owned by the University of California-Berkeley and planted a community garden.
The protesters-cum-gardeners, several dozen of them in all, broke the lock on a chain-linked fence about mid-day and got to work digging beds, roto-tilling soil, and planting carrots, broccoli, and other vegetables. The plan is to build a sustainable community garden and stave off any attempt by UC Berkeley to sell the land for private development. Gopal Dayaneni, one of the 20 or so core organizers of the action, told the San Jose Mercury News that the group was committed to growing both the farm and its community of farmers. Volunteers had about 10,000 starts — small bulbs or seedlings — and dug dozens of rows. Some people brought chickens, and the group even brought in a large tank for watering.
“This is the last, best agricultural soil in the East Bay, and we want it to be preserved for community farming and sustainable urban agriculture, not chopped up and sold off in pieces by the university,” said Dayaneni, a 43-year-old Oakland resident and father of two who said he’s long been active in environmental and ecological issues in the East Bay.
Police were on the scene throughout the day, but no arrests were reported. The ‘renegade farmers’ were pitching tents at the end of the day, but said they had no plans to permanently occupy the land. “Our goal is not to live here, our goal is to create a working urban agro-ecological farm,” Anya Kamenskaya, a spokesperson for the group, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Marianne Landzettel, England
What does one do on a Saturday in Mussoorie, taking a break from an intensive course in Hindi, when one’s brain is oblique with a postposition permanently stuck to it?
My husband, being a gardener and interested in seed saving for as long as I’ve known him, had worked it all out: Vijay Jardhari has agreed to meet us, I was told, and we’re going to see Beej Bachao Andolan. Continue reading