Vandana Shiva’s Visit to Victoria
A Catalyst for Local Food Systems
Vandana Shiva’s visit to Victoria on February 29th, was truly inspirational, the ultimate way to kick off the growing season ahead of us. She shared her wisdom and made the most of her time in Victoria by attending four separate events, sponsored by Harmony Foundation and co-organized by LifeCycles, Michelle Tsutsumi,and UVic’s ISICUE.
Throughout the day, Vandana shared her insights on how small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe are working to replace the corporate food system with a return to regenerative agricultural and indigenous food systems. Her overall message was clear: it is of the utmost importance to cultivate gratitude at the centre of all food sovereignty movements.
Ever generous with her time, Vandana met throughout the day on Monday with groups working at various levels of our regional food systems. First thing in the morning, LifeCycles brought together a phenomenal group of community members- elders, farmers, food justice activists and local food security organizations – to share with Vandana what we’re achieving locally here on the island and what we are working towards. She then shared her reflections on how this work ties in to the greater web of global food sovereignty work and how we can be more effective in our efforts through cooperation, collaboration and communicating with voices that are diverse in expression while common in principal.
At lunch, Vandana met with local elected leadership and other key decisions makers who have been involved in local food systems work at the policy and funding level. She led a discussion on concrete next steps to better support the people doing on the ground food systems work in their communities, stressing that ‘all links are vital to repair a broken food system.’ The conversations started between the lunch attendees are slated to continue.
A true powerhouse, Vandana attended a final small group session with UVic students and faculty organized by ISICUE, who are leading the way not only towards a more food secure campus, but to meaningful collaboration between UVic students and the broader community.
Finally, Vandana addressed over 1000 individuals at Farquhar Auditorium Monday evening. Weaving stories from her vast experiences, her talk focused on the connection between food and health and the inherent right of all life to access food that nourishes and sustains. She reminded:”Everything is food. Everything is something else’s food. Take care of the soil and everything else happens.”
There were so many moments for inspiration over the course of the day for us at LifeCycles. At the morning event, Vandana spoke eloquently and fiercely about the true costs of global industrial agriculture- loss of land, soil, seed biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and food sovereignty- and how these costs necessarily need to be replaced and returned to agroecological systems- those food growing practices that value life, resiliency and the interconnectedness of us all to the soil, seed, plants and animals. She left the morning group with a simple yet deeply significant message: in our work towards more just and thriving food systems, the way to connect the brain and the heart is through our hands- through tending, harvesting, cooking and eating the food that sustains us.
Be in touch with us at LifeCycles this season if you want to get your hands into the soil and harvesting the abundance of food we are so lucky to have growing locally! Check out our projects for more info on getting involved
Vandana joins LifeCycles lead discussion with local farmers, traditional food advocates and food non-profit leaders.
Vandana with LifeCycles Organizers and Volunteer.
Vandana at morning discussion with farmers and organizers.
Vandana addresses a sold out crowd at Farquhar auditorium.
All photos taken by Hannah Roessler and Jesse Howardson.