A declaration on “Forest Foods and Ecology” collectively endorsed by many representatives of adivasi and forest-dwelling/dependent communities – ASHA

“The tribal world and the tribal way is complete in itself.” – Mahasweta Devi quoted by Gopalkrishna Gandhi in “Swearing by Mahasweta” (The Hindu, 6 August 2016)

An appeal for a new consciousness of empathy and wise governance –
to protect our rich natural heritage, culture, and harmonious collective future
We, from numerous Adivasi and forest-dependent communities in India, along with people from different streams of society, gathered at the “Forest Foods & Ecology” Festival, December 12 to 14, 2014 at Sri Aurobindo Society, New Delhi. About 1200 varieties of forest/uncultivated foods from various parts of the country were displayed, sharing our rich heritage of Nature’s gifts.
The forests run deep in our life-blood; and we feel anguish seeing the grave threats they face. As an outcome of our joint discussions, we – forest-dependent communities, supported by others – declare:
1)      The natural forests are a nurturing mother to us. Our very identities, cultures and world-views are closely linked to the forests that provide our primary needs.
2)      Our forests and other common lands bless us with many invaluable gifts – abundant, diverse, nutritious foods, medicinal plants, and numerous other useful products – vital to our daily life and livelihoods for generations beyond count, particularly in times of scarcity, like droughts.
3)      Our rich traditional knowledge and understanding of our bio-diverse forests, evolved over millennia, is passed on from generation to generation, along with a spirit of respect and gratitude. Our cultures discourage greed, the root of scarcity, harm and sorrow.
4)      The natural forests regenerate our life-sustaining environment, essential for the well-being of all on earth. They harvest the sun’s energy, produce biomass, create fertile topsoil and guard against its erosion. They moderate the climate, mitigate global warming, provide oxygen, bring rain, recharge groundwater, buffer against floods, and provide habitats for rich biodiversity.
5)      Any attempt to cut down the forests, threatens grave environmental damage. It also violates our fundamental right to life and livelihood. We pledge to do our utmost to safeguard our forests and the rich life it harbours – for the well-being and joy of all!
6)      The sarkari laws and their implementation – to safeguard our community forest rights, life cultures and livelihoods – need further strengthening, not weakening, so that Mother Forest continues to remain healthy to nurture us and future generations.
7)      We cannot understand how anyone can claim to possess any kind of proprietary right, including ‘Intellectual Property Right’ (IPR), over any part of our ancient wealth or traditional knowledge, violating our ethos and our age-old collective rights. This is neither reasonable nor acceptable.
8)      Today’s education system ignores our cultures and local natural resources, alienating the young from our former healthy and ecologically-sustainable lifestyles. This needs to change urgently.
9)      Our traditional wholesome foods are part of our culture. The government food schemes should respect this, and not pollute our young with inferior, alien foods and tastes.
10)   Our forests and traditional commons, our peoples and our cultures, are all under grave threat from misconceived “development” projects, grabbing by outsiders, and by modern agricultural methods and mono-cultural plantations. These do grave harm, and must stop now. We further call for an immediate end to our displacement and dispossession by such short-sighted, destructive projects that devastate our life-culture and threaten our very survival.
11)   We seek a rethinking of money-centric ‘development policies’, and urge a holistic approach that respects our cultures and sustainable lifestyles; and which enables us to live and thrive on our ancestral lands, safeguarding the country’s rich ecological and cultural heritage.
12)   We declare that we will do our very best to keep alive our rich heritage resources and traditions.
Welcoming a new era, we urge the support of all – to safeguard and regenerate the health of our Mother Earth and forests. Our warm greetings and heartfelt wishes are extended to all; and we humbly ask you to support us!
This declaration is hereby collectively endorsed by many representatives of adivasi and forest-dwelling/dependent communities, supported by other civil society representatives, public health experts, nutrition scientists, ecologists, educators, sociologists, senior State functionaries and concerned citizens.

(This Conference and Exhibition were jointly organised by Living Farms, Kalpavriksh, SADED, Gandhi Peace Foundation and Vividhara. The contact details of Living Farms, one of the organisers are:(This Conference and Exhibition were jointly organised by Living Farms, Kalpavriksh, SADED, Gandhi Peace Foundation and Vividhara. The contact details of Living Farms, one of the organisers are:Living FarmsPlot No.1181 / 2146Ratnakarbag-2, Tankapani Road,Bhubaneswar – 751018,Odisha, India.Ph: 91-674-2430176, Fax-91-674-2430616,


Source: Kisan Swaraj | Blog | “Forest Foods and Ecology”
Address : http://www.kisanswaraj.in/2014/12/31/forest-foods-and-ecology/
Date Visited: Sun Jan 25 2015 12:02:09 GMT+0100 (CET)


Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture or ASHA is an alliance of about 400 diverse organizations drawn from more than twenty states across India, that initially came together through the Kisan Swaraj Yatra (Oct-Dec 2010), a nation-wide mobilization around Food-Farmers-Freedom.

Source: Kisan Swaraj | Home
Address : http://www.kisanswaraj.in/about/
Date Visited: Sun Jan 25 2015 12:04:52 GMT+0100 (CET)

United Nations World Soil Day 2023 >>

Soil and water, a source of life Our planet’s survival depends on the precious link between soil and water. Over 95 percent of our food originates from these two fundamental resources. Soil water, vital for nutrient absorption by plants, binds our ecosystems together. This symbiotic relationship is the foundation of our agricultural systems. However, in the face of climate change and human activity, our soils are being degraded, putting excessive pressure on our water resources. Erosion disrupts the natural balance, reducing water infiltration and availability for all forms of life. Sustainable soil management practices, such as minimum tillage, crop rotation, organic matter addition, and cover cropping, improve soil health, reduce erosion and pollution, and enhance water infiltration and storage. These practices also preserve soil biodiversity, improve fertility, and contribute to carbon sequestration, playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

“Health spending by the Indian government as percentage of GDP has long been one of the lowest for any major country, and the public health system is chronically dismal.” – Pranab Bardhan in “The two largest democracies in the world are the sickest now” | Learn more: Scroll.in, 24 August 2020 >>


Type “Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA)” into the search window below:

Up-to-date reports by Indian journalists and commentators

To search Indian periodicals, magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here. To find an Indian PhD thesis on a particular tribal community, region and related issues, click here >>

Search tips

Combine the name of any particular state, language or region with that of any tribal (Adivasi) community.

Add keywords of special interest (music, poetry, dance just as health, sacred grove and biodiversity); learn about the rights of Scheduled Tribes such as the “Forest Rights Act” (FRA); and the United Nations “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, “women’s rights”, or “children’s right to education”.

Specify any other issue or news item you want to learn more about (biodiversity, bonded labour and human trafficking, climate change, ecology, economic development, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, global warming, hunter-gatherers in a particular region or state, prevention of rural poverty, water access).

For official figures include “scheduled tribe ST” along with a union state or region: e.g. “Chhattisgarh ST community”, “Himalayan tribe”, “Scheduled tribe Tamil Nadu census”, “ST Kerala census”, “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group Jharkhand”, “PVTG Rajasthan”, “Adivasi ST Kerala”, “Adibasi ST West Bengal” etc.

In case the Google Custom Search window is not displayed here try the following: (1) toggle between “Reader” and regular viewing; (2) in your browser’s Security settings select “Enable JavaScript” | More tips >>

Note: hyperlinks and quotes are meant for fact-checking and information purposes only | Disclaimer >>

See also

Adverse inclusion | Casteism | Rural poverty


Crafts and visual arts

Demographic Status of Scheduled Tribe Population of India (Census figures 2011)

Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes – Report and Recommendations (Technical Advisory Group)

Fact checking | Figures, census and other statistics

Human Rights Commission (posts) | www.nhrc.nic.in (Government of India)

Imprisonment & rehabilitation

Search tips | Names of tribal communities, regions and states of India

State wise population of Scheduled Tribes (ST) and their percentage to the total population in the respective states and to the total STs population

“What are the Rights of Scheduled Tribes? – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)

“What is the Forest Rights Act about?” – Campaign for Survival and Dignity

“Who are Scheduled Tribes?” – Government of India (National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, NCST)