Sunita Rao


Sunita does her work because she cannot imagine doing anything else. Sunita is the Founder and Executive Director of Vanastree. Vanastree is a women-run seed saving collective in the Malnad region of the Western Ghats in Southern India. It is a critical force for initiating empowerment and the socio-economic security of its members. Vanastree is also a facilitator for the production of quality organic seeds and products. And a provider of experiential learning programs rooted in community and agroecology.

Prior to and alongside Sunita’s current work involvement, she was with Kalpavriksh, a non profit organisation working on environmental and social issues, mainly working on environment education. Before Kalpavriksh, Sunita was with the Indian Institution of Public Administration, New Delhi.

Sunita also oversees the Seed bank at Vanastree and all its dimensions of work including working towards its sustained future and independent existence. When time permits, Sunita also does a certain level of research and publications/writing, along with outreach work with agency working with marginalised youth. Sunita has a MS in Ecology from Pondicherry University in India and a BSc in Environmental Science from Bangalore University, India. She also has a Certificate in Wildlife Management from the Smithsonian Institution, Malaysia.

Born in Madras, now Chennai, Sunita currently calls a forest farm near the town of Sirsi, Karnataka her home.


Number of Lives impacted
by Vanastree