Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems in tune with their values, cultures and territories.
What is it?
The Indigenous and local farmers of the world are the descendants of the original domesticators of food crops. They are the farmers most active in moving genes between wild and domesticated varieties of the world’s most important staple foods. Agrobiodiversity is the diversity of livestock and crop species created in these processes. Thus food sovereignty is tied directly to the protection and enhancement of the precious genetic resources that make up agrobiodiversity.
Why is it important?
Food is one of the central points at which people connect with and shape their environment and it is central to the economic and cultural lives of Indigenous and local communities. In conjunction with natural selection, creative farmers, herders and fishers, over thousands of years, have nurtured agrobiodiversity which has co-evolved with specific environments, diets, cultural practices and aesthetics. Indigenous and local communities around the world struggle to maintain their traditional agricultural systems and food self-sufficiency in the face of land loss and erosion of traditional knowledge. This in turn threatens the world’s rich stores of wild and traditional food crop varieties.
We believe that robust agroecological systems – that harmonize with Nature and culture – can not only feed the world, but are also humanity’s best means for coping with the negative impacts of global climate change and species extinction.
How Is The Christensen Fund Involved?
Four of our program regions are internationally noted regions of historically important agrobiodiversity. We are working in partnership with Indigenous and local farming communities, and their allies, to enhance agrobiodiversity and maintain local food systems. Our involvement ranges from the local level – where we support food and culture festivals; the maintenance of agroecological landscapes; and the livelihoods of Indigenous and local farmers – to the global level, where we support alliances of Indigenous People, local communities, and international organizations to integrate indigenous practices and perspectives into global media, research and negotiations around food and agriculture. Some of this research come together on the Platform for Agrobiodiversity Research.