She is one of the most brilliant and most outspoken advocates for a clean and just food system in the world today. She was born to a farmer and trained as a quantum theory physicist. She defends the rights of third world women and makes her own yogurt. She critiques the World Bank and gets excited about urban gardening. And she is coming to Chattanooga on April 26th.
As a pioneer environmentalist, Vandana Shiva routinely speaks about the impact of industrialized food systems on the world’s poor, the threats of genetic engineering to global biodiversity, and the innumerable benefits of organic farming. While these issues are readily discussed by many other activists and thinkers in the world today, Dr. Shiva’s academic background in hard science coupled with her personal connection to traditional farming practices give her a unique take on these topics that is at once insightful, informative, and compelling. Not many scientists can speak spiritedly about the impact of genetically modified food on the world’s poor or the importance of communities to global health.
As an advocate for civil rights, she is heralded as one of the most articulate spokespersons for the value of bottom-up, citizen-led change. She believes that authority should be questioned and held accountable for its actions, and that communities flourish through people-centered processes. "Authentic democracy, like plants, grows from the ground up,” she claims, “and it is fertilized by people's participation and people's concern." When asked about the most effective way to initiate change in a community, she says, “Start a garden.”
And she’s not being quaint. With over twenty urban gardens scattered around Chattanooga today and dozens of small farms commuting to weekly farmers markets to sell their produce in the city, Chattanooga should recognize the value of her words and will be lucky enough to hear them firsthand on April 26th. She will speak on the environmental issues surrounding our food system and tailor her message to reflect the solutions we can focus on here in Chattanooga.
It’s not often a pioneer steps up to the podium in defense of our environment. We’re fortunate to be within earshot of this one.
Dr. Vandana Shiva will speak in the Roland Hayes room of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on April 26th as a part of the George T. Hunter Lecture Series, sponsored by the Benwood Foundation. The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m. and is open to the public free of charge. For more information and directions, click here.