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

On August 9th, the International Day of the World's Indigenous People is commemorated. This year, the day focuses on the theme "The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge. Indigenous Peoples have shown the world that their food and knowledge systems are sustainable, and resilient...
Video
2022
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
Union of Land Workers (UTT) (Argentina) is organizing small-scale farmers and peasants to produce fruits and vegetables without pesticides and within a fair-trade framework. The union formed 10 years ago now includes 10 000 families producing food on their own to sell at fair prices at more than 200 locations...
Argentina
Article
2021
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