Agroecology Knowledge Hub

Culture and food traditions: by supporting healthy, diversified and culturally appropriate diets, agroecology contributes to food security and nutrition while maintaining the health of ecosystems

Agriculture and food are core components of human heritage. Hence, culture and food traditions play a central role in society and in shaping human behaviour. However, in many instances, our current food systems have created a disconnection between food habits and culture. This disconnection has contributed to a situation where hunger and obesity exist side by side, in a world that produces enough food to feed its entire population.

Almost 800 million people worldwide are chronically hungry and 2 billion suffer micronutrient deficiencies. Meanwhile, there has been a rampant rise in obesity and diet-related diseases; 1.9 billion people are overweight or obese and non-communicable diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes) are the number one cause of global mortality. To address the imbalances in our food systems and move towards a zero hunger world, increasing production alone is not sufficient.

Agroecology plays an important role in re-balancing tradition and modern food habits, bringing them together in a harmonious way that promotes healthy food production and consumption, supporting the right to adequate food. In this way, agroecology seeks to cultivate a healthy relationship between people and food.

Cultural identity and sense of place are often closely tied to landscapes and food systems. As people and ecosystems have evolved together, cultural practices and indigenous and traditional knowledge offer a wealth of experience that can inspire agroecological solutions. For example, India is home to an estimated 50,000 indigenous varieties of rice – bred over centuries for their specific taste, nutrition and pest-resistance properties, and their adaptability to a range of conditions. Culinary traditions are built around these different varieties, making use of their different properties. Taking this accumulated body of traditional knowledge as a guide, agroecology can help realise the potential of territories to sustain their peoples.

Database

The Map of Agroecology Knowledge and Practice is a technological platform that allows the mapping and exchange of Agroecological experiences in order to bring people (in every nook and cranny, from the countryside to the city), to strengthen, and create new networks of collaboration that enhance the sharing of real...
Website
2019
Networked Agroecology is a system of information on initiatives in Agroecology. It consists of three interconnected databases: the Experiences, the Research Bank and the Contact Bank (personal and institutional). Database queries and entries can be made freely by system visitors. The following organizations are responsible for managing the databases: • National Articulation...
Website
2019
One of the main problems of the páramo ecosystem (altitudinal belt of the tropical mountain between 3,000m and 4,000m) is conventional potato production. The use of agrochemicals in food production is degrading the ecosystem and polluting the water that reach more than 8 million inhabitants of the city of Bogotá,...
Colombia
Innovation
2018
Malawi is a small landlocked country in southern Africa, bordered by Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. The majority of Malawians are smallholder farmers, who grow crops for both food and income. More than half of the Malawian population lives in poverty, and the rate of food insecurity is very high. Typical...
Malawi
Case study
2016
The authors review the main characteristics of quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa Willd., its origin and genetic diversity, its exceptional tolerance to drought and salinity, its nutritional properties, the reasons why this crop can offer several ecosystem services, and the role of Andean farmers in preserving its agrobiodiversity. Finally, they propose a...
Journal article
2013