Sister Jayanti met with Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director, Hunger Solutions Office, World Food Programme, who showed a lot of interest both in spirituality and solar energy.
Natural Farming & Yogic Agriculture at the NGO forum, UKZN
Piero Musini from Italy shared his personal experience of natural farming in Italy to a packed room, including rural farmers from the Limpopo region of South Africa, community based organisations promoting organic gardening, local farmers and NGO's assisting small scale farmers. Food production is the second most vital industry. Piero began by emphasizing the high resources and pollution created as a result of the meat industry.
According to the World Food Program, some 36 million people die of hunger annually, while 29 million people die from obesity-related diseases. We may have sufficient food resources but there needs to be a more equitable way of distributing them. Piero's experiment with natural farming began three years ago. The principle applied is to produce food that is of the season, best suited to the soil and free from chemicals and pesticides. He uses traditional seeds - seeds that have not been modified in any way– and has found that the soil in these fields is returning to its natural state.
Piero then offered some research data carried out by the Brahma Kumaris Rural Wing, India, in conjunction with SD Agricultural University, Gujurat, India. In India a crisis has emerged for small scale farmers who have gone into debt through using expensive conventional farming techniques. This has led to continuous depletion of the soil and ever growing dependency on expensive fertilizers and chemicals. At one point, one farmer every 35 minutes was committing suicide.
The Brahma Kumaris Rural Wing introduced Raja Yoga meditation and organic farming methods to these farmers. The practice of meditation was included at every step of the farming process from seed planting through to harvesting. The results have been very positive. When compared to a sample of wheat grown using conventional methods, there is a shorter germination time, faster growth, a substantial increase in micro-nutrients, protein and carbohydrate content, an increase in friendly micro-organisms in the soil and increased crop yields.
After highlighting the practical benefits of meditation on crop yields, Piero ended the session with a guided meditation.
Meeting with Rural Farmers
After the presentation, Piero Musini had a special meeting with a group of South African rural farmers from the Limpopo region. This was facilitated by an interpreter in Sotho language. The farmers were very keen to know how to implement such a low cost method of natural farming.
The side event, “The Imperative of Equity for an Effective Climate Agreement” arranged by Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, and the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India, was very informative, giving a good update on the present position of the COP negotiations. Sister Pratibha Patel from Kenya met with H.E. Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment and Forests, India and presented our work.
Today was an active networking day, meeting many people at the stand, in the hall and at the side events. We experienced a huge interest in meditation and spirituality.