Descoloniza tu comida en Mexico: Campaña de la Red de Pueblos Indígenas de Slow Food contra la Pérdida de la Biodiversidad

08 Aug 2023 | Spanish

On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 2023, celebrated on August 9, the Slow Food Indigenous Peoples Network launches a campaign in Mexico to protect and promote their local food systems.

Indigenous foods, such as corn, beans, chiles, and native herbs, continue to form the basis of Mexican cuisine. These traditional ingredients contribute to the unique flavors, textures, and cultural significance of Mexican dishes; but at the same time, the way of life of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico is often in danger because their importance is not recognized and their rights to land, to defend their culture and to have a say in the development of their communities are violated. territories. 

The Colonization of Food of Indigenous Peoples

80% of biodiversity is guarded by indigenous peoples. These communities are also protectors of traditional foods and knowledge. However, their livelihood is threatened by land grabs, violations of indigenous peoples‘ rights, climate change and unsustainable agricultural practices. In addition to these visible causes, there is a less obvious colonization that occurs through food. On the one hand, companies seek to extract indigenous knowledge and foods without consent, recognition or benefit to the communities that co-create them; and on the other hand, the growing predominance of industrial and globalized foods is replacing traditional and local foods. The media and public policies encourage the consumption and production of these foods, which leads to food insecurity, loss of flavors, knowledge, gastronomic celebrations, local economies and food identities, especially affecting indigenous youth. .

Indigenous and traditional foods can play an important role in the fight against hunger and malnutrition: The biodiverse diets and production practices of which they are part contribute to healthy lives and preserve local ecosystems and environmental resources that can protect against micronutrient deficiencies.

Today, this model faces considerable competition due to the processed foods of the agri-food industry and the increasing use of GMOs.

The flooding of the market with these products caused a considerable change in eating habits, and soon after the harmful effects of this change on the health of the population could be seen. The OECD reports that approximately 75% of Mexico’s adult population is obese or overweight, making it one of the leading countries in the world in both adult and childhood obesity.

“Our food connects us to our communities, to Mother Earth and to our ancestors,” says Dali Nolasco Cruz, an indigenous woman and member of the Board of Directors of Slow Food International, «it is our culture, our knowledge and our life: our identity. For these reasons, it is crucial to ensure that the foods of indigenous peoples continue to be respected, protected and celebrated as a fundamental part of the global culinary landscape.

Through the Decolonize your Food Campaign in Mexico, Slow Food wants to protect and promote the food systems of indigenous peoples, strengthening their sense of belonging and pride in their gastronomic heritage. Therefore, a call is made to indigenous peoples to share the food they want to decolonize on this platform. These recommended products will be honored during the Terra Madre Indígena event, which will take place in Mexico in early 2024.

In parallel, another global campaign is being launched to support indigenous communities to preserve their gastronomic heritage for our common future, highlighting the role of indigenous youth in protecting biodiversity and addressing common crises such as climate change, honoring the theme of this international day: Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.Youth as Agents of Change for Self-Determination.   

 The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People: On December 23, 1994, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided, in its resolution 49/214, that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People would be celebrated on August 9 of each year. This date marks the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Peoples https://social.desa.un.org/issues/indigenous-peoples/events/international -day-of-the-worlds-indigenous-peoples-2023

Learn more about the Slow Food Indigenous Peoples Network:https://www.slowfood.com/our-network/indigenous/

 The campaign is carried out with the support of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation as part of the project Strengthening capacities and work in network of guardians of diversity in Mexico.

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