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

Érosion, désertification, salinisation, à Fimela, delta du Saloum, 30 % seulement des terres agricoles restent cultivables. C’est la cause du bradage des terres et de l’exode rural vers les villes ou vers l’étranger. Pour  remédier, l’ambition de Jardins d’Afrique est de former des jeunes à la pratique d’une autre agriculture,...
Senegal
Innovation
2018
Part of online course Social ecologism in times of emergency, reflections from confinement treating topics as a Sustainable and healthy diet for young and old, Preparing the Day After transformative consumption options for post-confinement this virtual meeting focuses on agroecological alternatives. Emergency measures are centralizing food purchases in large supermarkets, putting...
Learning
2020
The Green Revolution, the symbol of agricultural intensification not only failed to ensure safe and abundant food production for all people, but it was launched under the assumptions that abundant water and cheap energy to fuel modern agriculture would always be available and that climate would be stable and not...
Working paper
2012
FAN was born out of the need to regularly inform a wide range of stakeholders about aquaculture development, especially in developing countries, to disseminate news about the many and diverse FAO field projects, and to inform about FAO global activities developed at headquarters. This issue is being published ahead of an important intergovernmental event, the 10th Session of the COFI SCA, to...
Newsletter
2019
Everyday Experts explains how knowledge built up through first-hand experience can help solve the crisis in the food system. It brings together fifty-seven activists, farmers, practitioners, researchers and community organisers from around the world in 28 original chapters to take a critical look at attempts to improve the dialogue between...
Book
2017