Did you know that in Peru alone there are 4,000 varieties of potatoes? Altogether, Latin America holds an immense heritage of biodiversity, a natural and cultural wealth that we now risk losing.
Here, as in many parts of the world, agriculture is often viewed as not particularly exciting or rewarding, and very few young people decide to make farming their future. This means that, within a generation, local production of quinoa, coffee, and various vegetables could disappear, and this would create an opening for the industrial production models that ruin soil, destroy landscapes, and give little back to local communities.
However, a flame of hope is still burning among a small percentage of young Latin American farmers. Determined and passionate, they resist. Small-scale agricultural projects in this part of the world can use our support, and Slow Food has responded enthusiastically to this need.
SISAY is the Quechua word for “blooming” and also the name of an event organized by the Slow Food Youth Network. This year the event will be held between October 28 and 31 in Lima, Peru: Young farmers, artisan food producers, suppliers, business leaders, and industry experts will unite to share ideas and build relationships, in full Slow Food spirit.
This is an opportunity to increase awareness about people who struggle to make their voices heard even though their knowledge and practices can help solve some of our biggest problems. By implementing positive agroecological practices within a good, clean and fair food system, they can offer real solutions to the climate crisis that we all face.
And we can give them a hand! Many of the potential participants in the event live in remote areas and do not have the means to come to Lima and SISAY. Because this event was created to encourage fairness, gender equality, and the inclusion of indigenous communities (55 only in Peru), it is critical that people of all economic and social backgrounds are able to participate and share their perspectives. That’s why the Slow Food Youth Network has called on the global Slow Food network to help these farmers attend the event.
“SISAY is not only about the present, but also about the future of our food heritage. The 2019 edition will concentrate on the food chain and the necessity to achieve sustainability throughout its different links. The participants of SISAY are proud to be farmers and happy to be working in agriculture, but in the face of a society that ignores them, their enthusiasm is hard to pass on to the next generation. Thanks to SISAY they can muster and showcase their full potential,” says Valentina Gritti of the Slow Food Youth Network. “Talking about agroecology and cultivation methods that are sensitive to maintaining the environment and its natural resources allows for a discovery of new economic models. Resilient and sustainable food tourism could open up a whole new field of possibilities for the youth,” she explains.
Without a drastic change of direction, sustainable, local agriculture in Latin America will disappear, along with the extraordinary gastronomy and cultural heritage with which it is intertwined.
We must not allow this to happen.
Let’s give a voice to those who can help us create a better system, a future worth fighting for, not only in Latin America, but all over the world.Click on the link to visit the crowd-funding page to show your support for the ecological future of food.