Mary, Adiammal and other members of the Kalanjiam Women’s Collective a group of the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective – singing a welcome song

In the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, as in much of India, women have little social, economic or political power, and often struggle to feed their families. Lowest-caste Dalit women, indigenous, and widowed women face even greater hardships. Through the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective, 100,000 marginalized women are organized, many in unofficial worker unions or small collective farms, to strengthen their food sovereignty and thus their broader power. In addition to organizing locally and nationally on issues from their own families’ food security to land rights to opposition to genetically modified seeds, the Collective encourages cultivation of native millet varieties – the hardy traditional grain is nutritious, drought-resistant, and easier to grow in the region than wheat or rice.