Environment & Sustainability, Food and Agriculture, Issues We Explore, Reality Tours Blog

Spend a week with Vandana Shiva: Rights of Seeds, Rights of Nature

Picture of Shannon Biggs and Vandana Shiva on the Rio + 20 panel

The following piece was written by Shannon Biggs.

I don’t like to name drop, BUT—(and yes, all name dropping starts this way)—over the last decade-plus, it has been my privilege to work with and befriend one of the most prominent, charismatic, brilliant and eloquent figures in the global movement for justice and social change. I’m speaking, of course, of Dr. Vandana Shiva: philosopher, physicist, environmental activist, author and eco-feminist.

Last summer, she was in San Francisco to keynote the Biosafety Alliance Food Sovereignty conference, and we made a date to have a quiet cup of tea during her hectic schedule to catch up and to talk about future work together around rights of nature.

We made plans to do speaking events together, contributing to Global Exchange’s new report, Rights of Nature: Planting the Seeds of Real Change, and various other actions and collaborations—but it was Vandana’s idea to do a Reality Tour to India:

“I think it would be a really good idea at this moment in time, to do a Global Exchange trip to India on the issue of the seed…and the link to rights of Mother Earth. I mean where does all life begin? You begin with the seed.”

AARTI on the Ganges Photo by Daniel Larson

The trip is a go—November 1-11, 2012. And while Vandana and I were together in Brazil last month for the UN Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20 Earth Summit), we talked about the itinerary—actually she talked, I listened, and video-taped her vision for the trip. The itinerary includes spending 4 days with her on the farm in Dehradun and cooking a meal of ancient “forgotten foods” together, participating in a sacred water ceremony on the banks of the Ganges, visiting seed banks and more. But don’t take it from me—watch Vandana describe the trip herself:



I’m looking forward to co-leading this trip with Vandana and her staff from Navdanya, and exploring the rights of nature in the context India’s sacred seed saving work, Gandhian legacy, Mother Teresa’s Ashram, Agra, fair trade cooperatives and more. It’s going to be one of those special journeys you will remember all of your life, recall often, and know it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Please join me and sign up now!


Shannon Biggs is the Director of the Community Rights program at Global Exchange. She recently co-authored two books, Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grass Roots and The Rights of Nature. Her current work focuses on assisting communities confronted by corporate harms to enact binding laws that place the rights of communities and nature above the claimed legal “rights” of corporations.


  1. My husband and I are interested in a culinary tour of India where we can meet Vandana Shiva. This would be for 2014. Any suggestions would be most aporeciated

  2. Hi Elly,

    Thanks for your comment and your interest! The only Reality Tour we have scheduled so far that features a meeting with Vandana Shiva is scheduled to run November 1-11, 2013. http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/india-rights-nature-dr-vandana-shiva

    We would of course be happy to discuss customizing options with you in India. Please feel free to contact me at rebekah@globalexchange.org, or Alessandro at alessandro@globalexchange.org

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