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

V consulta sobre soberanía alimentaria realizada en Panamá los días 19 y 20 de febrero 2016. Organizada por la Alianza por la soberanía Alimentaria para América Latina y El Caribe.
Video
2016
It is generally accepted that agriculture is a major driver of climate change as well as being acutely challenged to adapt to its effects. Agroecological approaches involve the application of integrated ecological, economic and social principles to the transition of smallholder farming systems, towards greater resilience. This involves adapting 13...
Working paper
2019
Agroecology is not a new invention. It has already been applied for decades in family farmers’ practices and has guided both policymakers and grassroots social movements in various countries around the world. However, recent global discussions on agroecology across its three different dimensions, namely scientific discipline, agricultural practice and political-​social...
Event
2021
El video es una producción desarrollada dentro del proyecto “Comunidad, Comida y Salud kichwa: mujeres y un nuevo diálogo entre tradición y modernidad culinaria” organizado por la Universidad Regional Amazónica Ikiam, Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial (UTE), Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) y la Agencia Española de Cooperación...
Ecuador
Video
2019
This recommendation paper presents general recommendations for food systems transformation to achieve net-zero emissions from food production by 2030 and net negative emissions from food systems by 2050. According to the document the following actions are needed to transform food systems: 1. A global shift to nature-positive production: Nature-positive food production systems protect...
Policy brief/paper
2021