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Indigenous Youth share ideas to revitalize indigenous food systems

15/07/2019 - 

Indigenous youth from Indonesia, India and Mexico visited FAO headquarters to present the outcomes of the hard work they are doing at local level to revitalize their communities’ indigenous food systems.

As part of The Indigenous Partnership Fellowship Program 2019, Chenxiang Marak from the Garo matriarchal community of North East India; Nofri Yani from Maningkabau matriarchal community of West Sumatra, Indonesia; Merrysha Nongrum from the Khasi matriarchal community of the North East India, and Edgar Monte Borges, from a Maya community in Mexico, profiled their community’s food systems, through a specific methodology.

This methodology was developed by FAO in collaboration with Bioversity International and the French National Research Institute for Development (IRD), to profile indigenous food systems, measuring current and historic elements of sustainability and climate resilience of different indigenous food systems in the world, in terms of food generation and distribution, human health and wellbeing, and environmental impacts.

Thoughtful and wise words were expressed by indigenous youth this day in FAO headquarters.  Please take note of them:

1.           Indigenous Food Systems are still diverse but they are under increasing pressure.

2.           Our territories are our mother, our common home of all the Indigenous peoples and everyone who inhabits this earth.

3.           Our ancestral knowledge has been accumulated and recombined for hundreds of years of observation, trial, error, modification and exchange, passed from parents to children through oral communication and storytelling.

4.           We work to prevent the disappearance of our local food and its culture, but the living nature of this knowledge makes it difficult to protect it. Research and support are key steps to preserve it.

5.           Indigenous knowledge may have some answers for the global challenges, but we need to preserve it and strengthen the intergenerational knowledge transmission.

6.           Indigenous Knowledge mechanisms are indeed at the core of resilience building. However, our ancestral observation mechanisms are being affected by climate change and some westerns practices.

7.           The values of young generations are changing rapidly. We need more young indigenous people committed to work for communities and we need to build our skills in traditional and contemporary approaches.

8.           As we try to combine traditional and modern knowledge systems, we need to be able to think creatively and promote innovations.

9.           Matriarchal indigenous societies possess unique values and principles sustaining crop and landscape diversity, gender and social equality, and community well-being.

10.         Indigenous communities´ needs are aligned with the global issues and concerns.


Read more about FAO’s indigenous food system initiative here: http://www.fao.org/indigenous-peoples/ifs-seminar/en/