ANISHA - INDIA
Small scale farmers and gardeners in India often experience insecurity, dependent on buying seeds year on year from big agrochemical companies. Anisha works to increase their household food security by promoting organic farming practices, encouraging the establishment of kitchen gardens in schools and at home.
Anisha lends native seeds from its Seed Bank to local farmers in the remote Martalli region of South India. It encourages participants to save money and support each other through self-help groups, and spearheads income generating initiatives.
SDB has recently funded Anisha’s Schools Kitchen Garden project as well as its Seed Bank. The Schools Kitchen Garden helps to instil in young minds an understanding of food security by developing hands-on projects involving both cultivation and cooking.
The Seed Bank helps farmers and other local food producers to have a source of affordable and viable seeds to sow, releasing them from the grip of companies that offer unsustainable GMO seeds. The farmers give back a proportion of their own seeds to the Seed Bank. Keeping and identifying native seed varieties helps to develop crops that can grow in the difficult dry farming environment of this area of India.
The long term goal is that all the farmers and small holders taking part in the scheme will own native seeds and not depend on buying in each year. Farmers collect seeds they need from the seed bank, from their resulting crop yield they retain seeds for the following year and return two seeds for each one taken. This ensures that the seed bank can grow and supply more farmers in the future. The farmers also participate by giving continued feedback on the performance of seeds and crops throughout the year.