Representatives of indigenous communities from around the world set to celebrate their food cultures at an international meeting in Shillong
Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 (ITM 2015) – taking place from November 3 to 7, 2015 in Shillong (Meghalaya, India) – will bring together representatives of indigenous communities from around the world to celebrate their food cultures and discuss how traditional knowledge and the sustainable use of natural resources can contribute to developing good, clean and fair food systems.
The event is the result of a collaboration between Slow Food, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (Indigenous Partnership) and the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS). Representatives of indigenous communities from Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Ecuador, South Africa, Egypt, Angola, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, China, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands will participate in the event. They will interact and engage with representatives from global agencies associated with the United Nations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), international organizations, research bodies, scientists and policymakers, all of whom are increasingly turning their gaze toward Indigenous Peoples and their long-standing practices which help to maintain an ecological balance.
The theme of the event is “The Future We Want: Indigenous Perspectives and Actions.” The first three days of intense workshops and plenary sessions will focus on a wide range of issues including food sovereignty, alternative (indigenous) models of sustainable food production, the importance of traditional knowledge, land rights, the diversity of indigenous languages and the conservation of agrobiodiversity. The event will involve 41 local host villages and numerous food communities, giving a voice to some of the most marginalized members of society.
Phrang Roy, Slow Food International Councilor for Indigenous Issues, Coordinator for the Indigenous Partnership and NESFAS Chairman, said: “We are confident that Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 will be a unique opportunity for the participating delegates, as well as the local public.” He added: “The 41 local host communities have suggested that the event be given a local name, and hence, it is being called the International Mei-Ramew 2015. ‘Mei-Ramew’ means Mother Earth in the local Khasi language. The idea is to make it an event truly by Indigenous Peoples for Indigenous Peoples.”
The first edition of Indigenous Terra Madre took place in 2011 in Jokkmokk, Sweden, and was organized by the Sápmi people. It was the first Slow Food event dedicated entirely to Indigenous Peoples and was attended by 300 delegates from 31 countries, 70 different ethnic groups and 50 indigenous communities. Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 is an important opportunity to evaluate the progress made since the last event, as well as to reflect on the evolution of food and agroecological issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples.
North East India is home to more than 250 indigenous groups and is considered to be one of the most bioculturally diverse areas in the world. The first three days of the event will be held at the Campus of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong, one of India’s federally established universities. The fourth day will feature field trips to ten host villages, where participants will have the opportunity to spend time and exchange ideas with local food communities in their respective landscapes. The final day will include a food festival and a closing ceremony in the scenic hills surrounding the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, 25 km from Shillong.
The inauguration on Tuesday, November 3 will be attended by Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul Sangma, who is from the indigenous Garo community of the region. Internationally important indigenous leaders, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Myrna Cunningham, former Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and Winona LaDuke, renown international writer and activist will also be present. Carlo Petrini, Slow Food International founder and president, will speak on how Slow Food and the Indigenous Peoples’ food movement can work together for a more just and sustainable agricultural future.
At the last Indigenous Peoples’ Forum held in Rome on February 14 this year by IFAD, Carlo Petrini said: “Slow Food has sought to preserve agricultural and food biodiversity as a tool for ensuring a future for our planet and humanity as a whole: it would be senseless to defend biodiversity without also defending the cultural diversity of peoples and their right to govern their own territories. The right of peoples to have control over their land, to grow food, to hunt, fish and gather according to their own needs and decisions, is inalienable.”
The Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 event website is online at: http://www.indigenousterramadre.org/shillong2015/
Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 gratefully acknowledges funding support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Christensen Fund and the Government of Meghalaya. Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 is also thankful for the contributions made by Tamalpais Trust, Swift Foundation, AgroEcology Fund, Bread for the World and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Terra Madre is a worldwide network, launched by Slow Food in 2004, which unites small-scale producers from 163 countries involved in the sustainable production of food. Among these, to date the Indigenous Terra Madre Network comprises 372 indigenous food communities, 41 indigenous Presidia projects and 308 indigenous Ark of Taste products. For more information: https://slowfood.com/international/149/indigenous-terra-madre-network
Discover the stories of Indigenous Peoples from around the world on Slow Food website in the ‘Indigenous Voices’ section! https://www.slowfood.com/international/food-for-thought/slow-themes/260987
For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:
Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]
Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 158 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,500 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.