Sunday, November 23rd – 2 pm
Book talk: Sapna Thottathil
India’s Organic Farming Revolution

organic_produce_market_in_kerala__indiaIn her new book, Sapna Thottathil calls on us to rethink the politics of organic food by focusing on what it means for the people who grow and sell it–what it means for their health, the health of their environment, and also their economic and political well-being. Taking readers to the state of Kerala in southern India, she shows us a place where the so-called “Green Revolution” program of hybrid seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and rising pesticide use had failed to reduce hunger while it caused a cascade of economic, medical, and environmental problems. Farmers burdened with huge debts from buying the new seeds and chemicals were committing suicide in troubling numbers. Farm laborers suffered from pesticide poisoning and rising rates of birth defects.India's organic farming revolution A sharp fall in biodiversity worried environmental activists, and everyone was anxious about declining yields of key export crops like black pepper and coffee.

“A breath of fresh air in the organic/local food production discussion, this very engaging book provides a significant example of the structural conditions for the scaling up of organic agriculture.”–Eric Holt-Gimenez, executive director, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy

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“This book will make an important contribution to the field of organic literature as well as to the field of such food and agriculture transitions. I am not aware of many efforts to provide the reader with such a comprehensive treatment of such transitions in the context of a specific community.”–Frederick Kirschenmann, author, “Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher”

Biographical Note:
An advocate of sustainable food systems, Sapna E. Thottathil is currently a senior program associate for Health Care Without Harm/Physicians for Social Responsibility, where she promotes sustainable food purchasing by health care institutions and organizes medical professionals around environmental policy. A member of the board of directors for the San Francisco Women’s Environmental Network, she earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. In her spare time, Sapna enjoys cooking, gardening, and identifying wildflowers and birds. She lives in Oakland, California.