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 Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology, in collaboration with the FAO National office in Nicaragua, presented a conference on “Permaculture, agroecological strategies and food security”. The conference was held on 30 November 2020 as part of a series of events aiming at capacity building of rural extensionists and at raising...
Nicaragua
Event
2020
Started in January 2021, Agroecology for Europe is a coordination and support action project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Thanks to a European network and the involvement of different actors from diverse horizons and sectors, the project will analyse agroecology through its different pillars: a...
Project
2021
European agriculture and food systems are strongly impacted by many challenges such as soil erosion and degradation, water quality, loss of biodiversity, food insecurity, access to land and other productive resources, farmers' indebtedness, loss of farms, and climate change. Agroecology, as a way to design, develop, and promote the transition...
Project
2021
The practice of natural agriculture focuses on biodiversity preservation and promotes seed conservation.  This approach emphasizes the environment's fundamental characteristics and supports the Satoyama concept that integrates ecological compatibility among landscape and seascape management. In this session, part of the Oxford Real Farming Conference 2021 programme, Shumei Natural Agriculture presented a virtual tour...
Japan
Event
2021
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) has played a critical role in feeding local communities during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses and gaps in our global food production and distribution systems. In contrast, smaller more local farms and direct sales models are being celebrated as more resilient and veg box...
Event
2021