Dr. Vandana Shiva on food sovereignty forum in Croatia, Sisak, May 13/14th 2015
By Suncana Pesak – ZMAG, 19 May 2015
“Companies that brought us the poisons are trying to make us believe that without them we would not be able to produce enough food. They want us to forget that all of us can save seeds, that we all can grow our food – no we will not forget!” said Dr. Vandana Shiva at the 4th food sovereignty forum in Croatia: “Fine threads of local development, Sisak 2015” where farmers from all over Croatia and the neighbouring countries came to hear Dr. Shiva and share their seeds and ideas.
As part of the Seed Freedom Movement, the Navdanya International team travelled to Croatia on 13th and 14th May 2015 to strengthen local movements for seed saving, food sovereignty as well as strategize for the Global Call to Action for Seed Freedom.
The first stop was the 2 day Sisak Seed and Food Forum where workshops were held. In the two days forum a story was told about the main resources that we need in order to grow food – traditional varieties, and breeds and fertile soil. Besides Dr Shiva’s message on the first day there was a fair of organic and small scale farmers in the city park, seed swap and the opening of photography exhibition by local amateur photographer, activist and seed saver Andrea Shipush. The Forum was also an opportunity to promote a new book of about traditional varieties in the Dalmatian coast.
The next day, after four interesting presentations about soil management, preserving breeds on common pasture as in the Croatian traditional practice, and a presentation about the Anti TTIP campaign, the group of participants from different food sovereignty initiatives worked on their plans for joining the Fortnight of Action for Seed Freedom.
Sisak is an industrial town in Central Croatia that was very prosperous in the times of ex Yugoslavia together with its rural surroundings. But after the civil war (1991-1995) and privatization that came after it, the whole region was destroyed, factories closed and many people left unemployed together with the deep scars that war leaves to individuals as well as local communities. Despite all that, the natural potentials of the area has turned Sisak into one of the counties in Croatia with the biggest number of organic growers – professional small scale organic farmers as well as traditional producers and home gardeners.
The Forum organization is leaded by the NGO Green network of activist groups, but the local host was the Citizen Initiative “Seed together” in cooperation with “Vlado Gotovac” Public library.
For many years the public library has given great support to local producers and gardeners become their gathering point. On regular bases lectures, workshops, presentation of local farms and seed swaps take place at the public library, as the library administration believes that a library should be a place to get together and sharing information and knowledge. For this purpose on of the library upcoming projects is to print a bulletin board/catalogue where people can offer and demand local seeds and products.
In Croatia there are also several other initiatives and seed savers organizations as well as spontaneous groups that are working on protecting traditional varieties and developing crop diversity. Among those attending the Forum: Duga and Bio Garden from Cakovec, Living Earth from Nova Gradiska, Gredica and Hajdina from Varazdin, Life from Ludbreg and others.
Sisak Forum photos source & more information: http://www.zmag.hr/hr/vijesti/forum-za-pamcenje
Udruga Zemlja Za Na – Women’s movement & Subversive Festival photos source: http://on.fb.me/1H5h5zb