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vandana-shiva

Kind List 2021

Vandana Shiva

Her activism against the GMO movement has earned her the name 'Gandhi of grain'

For nearly five decades, environmentalist Vandana Shiva has been leading a one-woman environmental crusade to remind the world that "food is the currency of life".

Born in Dehradun, India, Vandana has been hailed the "Gandhi of grain" and an "eco-warrior goddess" for her tireless work in the anti-GMO movement and as a food rights advocate. A physicist turned ecologist, she took on big agriculture giants, arguing world hunger could be ended, and the planet protected at the same time as preserving our wonderful cultural and culinary traditions, if we really look at what we eat.

She champions indigenous communities "as the teachers for survival in a period of extinction", campaigning for greater food sovereignty, sustainability and seed rights for local farmers around the world. "Food and culture are the currency of life," she says.

Vandana puts women at the focus of her work – recognising that globally, most of the world's farmers are female. "Women have the potential to lead the transition to regenerate the Earth, her biodiversity and our health and nutrition," she says.  

As well as campaigning for food sovereignty, she also works to break down borders across the world, connecting grassroots organisations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. "We were divided by colonialism," Vandana explains. "We have been divided by gender, race, religion, class. But we are part of the Earth and food is the currency of life. A food system that is at war with the Earth is also at war with our bodies."

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