60,000 low-caste Dalit women in Tamil Nadu India farming collectives use ecological practices

"But the modest parcel on which she stands is about to change that. Kasiammal and 11 others of her local chapter of the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective (TNWC), a statewide grassroots organization composed mainly of Dalit women, were preparing to sow millet, green gram and pulses on the land they have leased. “This is the first time we can decide what we grow and how,” says Kassiamal, rolling her shoulders back slightly and pressing her heels into the ground."

"Kasiammal’s plot is one of about 25 collective pilot farms throughout the state, an initiative that stems from two decades of work by TNWC members. Founded in 1994 by a handful of women, the collective is now a powerful federation of local groups in more than 1,500 villages across the state. They have approximately 60,000 members, mostly Dalit. The members are young and old, married and widowed, and they live in villages, towns and cities."

Jean Friedman-Tudovsky, “From Untouchable to Organic, Dalit Women Sow Change in India,” Aljazeera America, June 14, 2014, accessed July 31, 2014, http://america.aljazeera.com/features/2014/6/from-untouchabletoorganicda...

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