This publication explores the meaning of agriculture and guides the reader into new territory, where food, ecology, and culture converge. In the food systems of South Asia, the margin between cultivated and uncultivated biodiversity dissolves through women’s day-to-day practice of collecting and cooking food, constituting a feminine landscape. The authors bring this practice to light, and demonstrate the value of food production and consumption systems that are localized rather than globalized.
Based on extensive field research in India and Bangladesh, with and by farming communities, the book offers both people-based and evidence-based perspectives on the value of ecological farming, the survival strategies of the very poor, and the ongoing contribution of biodiversity to livelihoods. It also introduces new concepts such as “the social landscape” and “the ethical relations underlying production systems” relevant to key debates concerning the cultural politics of food sovereignty, land tenure, and the economics of food systems. The authors are leading activists and accomplished researchers with a long history of engagement with farming communities and the peasant world in South Asia and elsewhere.
The print edition of this publication includes a DVD entitled Diversity and Food Sovereignty, which presents three farmer-made films. Their message is loud and clear: food sovereignty means the conservation of biological diversity and revitalization of ethical community relations.Additional information on the book is available at the biodiversity blog.