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Food Sovereignty and Uncultivated Biodiversity in South Asia   

Food Sovereignty and Uncultivated Biodiversity in South Asia

Essays on the Poverty of Food Policy and the Wealth of the Social Landscape

Farhad Mazhar, Daniel Buckles, P.V. Satheesh, and Farida Akhter

Paperback Book (8˝" x 11")  :   Pages : 84
2007  Edition   :   ISBN -81-7188-614-0
Price : Rs. 995.00 ;  US $ 39.95
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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.


Farhad Mazhar is a founding member of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) and is currently its Managing Director.

Daniel Buckles is Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and former Senior Program Specialist at IDRC.

P.V. Satheesh (India) is the co-founder and current Director of the Deccan Development Society.

Farida Akhter is the Executive Director of UBINIG.


Foreword – Bina Agarwal


Our crops – our selves


What is Agriculture?

2. Diversity on the flood plains of Bangladesh
3. Diversity on the dry lands of the Deccan Plateau
4. The politics of weeds and the decline of farming systems
5. Why do dry land farmers practice ecological farming?
6. Penta Pooja – worship of the manure heap

Biodiversity and the Technology of Cooking

7. Uncultivated foods and the technology of cooking
8. Uncultivated greens – the nutritional values
9. Uncultivated foods and daily diets Cultivating the Social Landscape
10. Survival strategies of the very poor
11. Poverty and the social landscape
12. Toward a new economics of agriculture

Politics and Culture

13. The cultural politics of food sovereignty
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