During Indigenous Terra Madre Pueblos de America delegates introduced the work they have been doing in their communities, and the impact of working toward a better food system that respects their traditions, the land, and provides a future for the youth.
These projects include the creation of Slow Food communities as a tool to continue promoting their work, giving it the added value of recognition outside their own communities. Ark of Taste and Presidia are two of the other mediums these delegates are utilizing to further protect and promote an important traditional product at risk of exploitation or extinction.
“In Providencia, a small island in the Colombian Caribbean, we are working to safeguard the black crab, or cangrejo negro. These crabs live in the mountains most of their lives, feeding on forest fruits. They come down to the water in April to shed their shells creating a blanket of crabs that cover the main road of the island. The only other time they come down to the water is to lay their eggs. Climate change has altered the rain patterns in the island changing agricultural work, and bringing strong winds and waves that wash off the crabs’ eggs,” said Diana Marcela Ampudia working with the Black Crab Presidia.
This Slow Food Presidia project aims to develop business diversification in the island, promoting other sources of income and allowing the black crabs to flourish and adapt to the changing climate patterns. At the same time, it educates the local community on how to adapt themselves to the slow decrease of crabs, and on the importance of creating a balanced food system.
Another project includes the Red Chumbi community in Ecuador. The Red Chumbi united the peoples’ mission three years ago with that of Slow Food, to promote the work they have been doing for more than a decade. They are working with agroecological techniques to preserve native seeds and ecosystems that reflect their tradition and ancestry, and commercializing the community’s products in Quito, the country’s capital, where they have found the support of a small net of like-minded people.
“We produce 17 varieties of quinoa, more than 40 varieties of beans, 10 different corn, among other plants. My mother began working with this idea 10 years ago defying the prejudgement of people who looked down at her for being an indigenous woman and a single mother. She has fought against the system to change people’s mentality about the fair price farmers and indigenous producers deserve. When she found out about Slow Food three years ago she exclaimed with joy, “I am so happy to find other crazy people like me who want change,”” said Zarasisa Wakamaya, whose eyes lit up when she talked about her mother Luz Zaruma.
These are just two of the many inspiring stories gathered in one place, the small town of Tlaola, in Mexico, as part of the first Slow Food Indigenous Terra Madre Pueblos de América, an event with an inspiring story as well. It was the dream of Dali Nolasco, a Nahua woman, who pushed to bring the world to her home, a rainy, cold, and small place tucked in the mountains, as she refers to her hometown.
“People used to tell me ‘you are crazy! It can’t be done’ well, this proves to me and everyone that if we dream it and work hard for it, we can make it happen,” she said.