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September 3, 2010 9:08 PM   Subscribe

"Every input in agriculture is a war chemical. Every agrichemical is a war chemical." Physicist Vandana Shiva on monoculture, agricultural imperialism, and protests in Delhi conscribed to the hours of 9-5.
[When] I started to save seeds, and I’d try and find the English names for our dals, you know, urad dal is the black gram. ...You didn’t have black gram, red gram. You had chickpea, cowpea, horse gram, because the British didn’t know how to use it, so they treated all this as animal feed. And we still only have animal feed names for the most important part of the Indian diet. And the other day, [Mirah] came back, she’d collected this package from the local market, of a new dal called iDal. iDal. 'i' like iPod. IPhone. iDal. It literally is a dal only in imagination, because it's made of [wheat] flour and soya flour. And it’s colored yellow. And it’s extruded. And they have a whole science of this now, called analogue dals. It’ll be the same soya and flour extruded into different shapes and dyed different colors. And we will imagine we are eating different things, but it’ll be the same thing.”
This footage is from Dr. Shiva's recent talk on food and seed sovereignty at the International Meeting on Resisting Hegemony held 2-5 August 2010 in Penang, Malaysia.
posted by simulacra (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Indian farmers have been very pro-active about preserving real seeds and resisting the imposition of terminal seeds. I respect them greatly for resisting fake food.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:27 PM on September 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here's the full video of her talk.
posted by parudox at 9:30 PM on September 3, 2010


This is fascinating, but I hate when people assume that the word "chickpea" comes from chicken.
posted by crataegus at 9:44 PM on September 3, 2010


crataegus: "I hate when people assume that the word "chickpea" comes from chicken."

The more you know!
posted by boo_radley at 10:17 PM on September 3, 2010


"chickpea" comes from chicken

Some say it's "chicken" that comes from chickpea.
posted by stbalbach at 10:18 PM on September 3, 2010


Here's Vandana Shiva alongside Gwynne Dyer on Democracy Now! Part 1 and Part 2.

She comes across as very earnest and very optimistic about how climate change can be averted by small scale agriculture.

In this video, she's misleading at best about Norman Boralug. He quit his job at DuPont to go work on crop rusts in Mexico, and by most accounts, rejected an offer of having his salary doubled to do so. She makes it sound as if he was reassigned by the US Government.

I don't know. Agricultural policy is fraught with problems, and industrial agriculture in particular does have a tendency to cause problems, especially if it's not carefully regulated and controlled. But that's true of industrial anything.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:29 PM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry that not everyone knows 16th century French etymology.

Is there anything the British didn't ruin in India?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:00 AM on September 4, 2010


Is there anything the British didn't ruin in India?

Well, the railway, for one. The civil service is debatable. And much as I hold the Raj responsible for an awful lot of wrongs, there is a reason that an awful lot of people in the subcontinent still have a hankering for the days of Empire...
posted by bardophile at 2:04 AM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]



Is there anything the British didn't ruin in India?


Thugees

posted by lalochezia at 5:24 AM on September 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating, but I hate when people assume that the word "chickpea" comes from chicken.

Some say it's "chicken" that comes from chickpea.


Which came first ?
posted by fairmettle at 5:34 AM on September 4, 2010


There was an article in the Economist recently, which somewhat surprisinglyhamburger attributed the agricultural success of Brazil to GM crops, open trade and lower taxes on capital. (Actually, now that I think about it, lower taxes on capital is a pretty direct corollary of the article, too.)
posted by ~ at 6:27 AM on September 4, 2010


there is a reason that an awful lot of people in the subcontinent still have a hankering for the days of Empire...

Agreed. But how many of those people were actually around during the times of the empire?
And if they were...I'd compare them to the newly liberated slaves, post-civil war, who hoped to work in the big house again because thats the only thing they had done their entire life and they might have been given an iota of respect as compared to the rest of their brethren.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:09 AM on September 5, 2010


hal_c_on: I agree for the most part. But also, in many ways, the British, at least in India, were "kinder masters" than many other colonial powers in their colonies. This left "the natives" much more ambivalent about the Raj than other post-colonial societies seem to be about colonial times. On balance, I much prefer an independent South Asia. I was simply responding to your question about whether there was anything the British hadn't ruined. :)
posted by bardophile at 1:36 AM on September 5, 2010


* Thanks for linking to this article. Large scale agriculture has been the engine of Brazilian economy for more than a decade now, and the underlying reason why Brazil is being talked about so much these days. Still, the "family farms will save the world" movement have basically criminalized that economic sector in Brazil, while enjoying the economic safety net provided by its exports.

Vandana Shiva was a critic of Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution that saved India from massive hunger and earned him a Nobel Peace Prize. The Guardian's obituary of Norman Borlaug has more information.
posted by falameufilho at 7:08 PM on September 5, 2010


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