Innovative rebound strategies for mountain food systems


The importance of networks for mountain territories in times of crisis was the focus of a roundtable discussion at the 2021 edition of the Origin, Diversity and Territories Forum on 15 October 2021.

The session, sponsored by the Institute of Research and Development for Mountain Regions of the Mediterranean Islands (MountMed Institute), looked at territorialized mountain food systems and their capacities to respond to shocks and crises.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to and amplified existing challenges facing mountain food systems, as evidenced by the near breakdown of food supply chains, the food shortages in many developing countries, and the increase in people suffering from acute food insecurity. To ensure mountain people are not left behind in building back better from the pandemic, sustainable food systems in mountains must be supported and developed in a holistic manner.

Representatives of networks from across the world – including the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, the Mountain Partnership Secretariat, the MOuntain Valorisation through INterconnectedness and Green growth (MOVING) network, Slow Food and the Swift Foundation – shared their innovative rebound strategies for mountain food systems.

Ideas such as biocultural branding to support indigenous landscapes in the Andes and ad hoc science-policy platforms for tailored assistance to mountainous territories of the Hindu Kush Himalaya were highlighted. Promoting renewed understanding of mountain value chains to face climate change, the transmission of local knowledge on the processing and preservation of mountain food products, and unwavering political advocacy and support for local initiatives was at the heart of their discussions.

“Networks stemming from the private and public sectors are important for connecting institutions and activities in sustainable mountain development and to ensure greater participation, coherence and impact,” said Rosalaura Romeo, Programme Officer of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat.

The roundtable closed the three-day workshop “Mountain territories: dynamics and rebounds – The place of localized food systems and networking”, held within the framework of the Origin, Diversity and Territories Forum.

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News by Claire Bernard-Mongin, CIRAD

Photo by François Pythoud

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