Slow Food introduces the newly created Advisory Board for the Indigenous Peoples’ Network

27 Aug 2018 | English

The Board is composed of nine members balanced in gender, age, and geographic regions

After a thorough process of consultations, the Slow Food Indigenous Terra Madre Network* (ITM) has created a global steering group of indigenous leaders. The ITM Advisory Board is composed of seven members representing all regions of the world, plus the two Slow Food International Councillors for the Indigenous Peoples’ network.

The Advisory Board’s main goal is to implement the ITM Road Map towards 2020 and develop the strategic vision for the ITM in line with Slow Food values. It will then work to strengthen Slow Food networking and bridge with new communities, as well as speak as a unified voice on behalf of all indigenous peoples within the network.

The creation of the ITM Advisory Board is a key step in strengthening the ITM network and is part of a three-year project funded by IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), with the goal of empowering indigenous youth and their communities to defend and promote their food heritage. The project will also create and reinforce 10 indigenous Presidia and actively involve youth in their scaling up in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Kenya.

Here is the list of the 9 members by geographical regions:


Margaret Tunda Lepore, member of the Maasai peoples. Margaret plays a key role in advocating for the preservation of positive cultural practices in the Maasai community. She holds a degree in Development Studies from Busoga University in Uganda and a Master in International Studies from The University of Nairobi. Having lived and witnessed the challenges faced by minority communities in Kenya, she realized that these communities should be supported to ensure that their rights to land and natural resources are protected and their voices heard. She is currently collaborating with Slow Food to conserve and promote the red Maasai sheep, a local breed.

Nicolas Mukumo Mushumbi – International Councillor for the Indigenous Network. Nicolas is a member of the Bambuti people of the Kivu forest in the north east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicolas is the leader of the Slow Food Goma Karisimbi convivium and an active member of the Ark of Taste and 10.000 Gardens in Africa projects. He is part of the Steering Committee that organized Terra Madre Great Lakes event and is committed to defending the rights of indigenous peoples in D.R.C, promoting the sustainable use of resources, opposing land grabbing and using food as a means of peace building among communities.


Dai Kitabayashi, youth leader of Slow Food Ryukyu. Dai developed a network among local food producers and consumers by organizing the Slow Food Festival in Okinawa, Japan.


Anneli Jonsson, from the Idre Sámi Sita people of Sweden. Anneli is the chairperson of the Slow Food Sápmi Convivium, which in 2011 hosted the first Indigenous Terra Madre in Jokkmokk.  In 1990, the southernmost Sámi reindeer herding area was claimed in court by landowners, which erased the historic presence of the Sámi the area. Anneli’s activism made it possible for the reindeer herders to learn economics and business management in reindeer economy and led to the establishment of a Sámi center for educating people in industrial and traditional slaughter of reindeer and elk, with a licence from the Sweden’s Agriculture department and in cooperation with the Swedish hunter’s association Svenska Jägareförbundet.


Dalí Nolasco Cruz, from the Nahua peoples of Tlaola, Puebla. She is an active member of Slow Food in Mexico for the defense and promotion of Creole seeds, food, territories, and indigenous biodiversity. She is the leader of the Slow Food Tlaola Kukuk Convivium and coordinator of the Tlaola Serrano Chili Pepper Slow Food Presidium. She is the Director of the Timo’Patla Intercultural Organization A.C. and Mopampa, a network of social and solidarity economy companies of indigenous women. Furthermore, Dali facilitates trainings for women, youth, and children on topics including rights, gender, and interculturalism.


Joel Simo, active member of the Slow Food movement in promoting traditional irrigation systems in order to increase local peoples’ appreciation for their traditional farming systems, which have worked well for thousands of years. Joel was key in organizing the Tupunis Slow Food Festival in 2016. A post-graduate from Australian National University, Joel currently heads the Land and Language Desk at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, working mostly with the local communities in Vanuatu and in the region of Melanesia on land and language issues. He has worked in the region for well over a decade raising awareness on traditional economy and the importance of land in the lives of the indigenous population, as well as on issues related to resilience, sovereignty, and climate change in island states.


Raja Sharma Rymbai, member of the Jaintia people from Meghalaya, India. He has a Master in Food Culture & Communications from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, and currently works at Slow Food International to support the development of the Slow Food network in India. He has been instrumental in highlighting the work of indigenous cooks and chefs in the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance. He is committed to defending the rights of indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia by working with youth & food communities to promote sustainability and enhanced livelihood through indigenous knowledge.


Melissa K. Nelson, Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian, and a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.  Melissa is a professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and is the president/CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, a Native-led indigenous rights organization that she has directed since 1993. She is an activist on indigenous rights and revitalization, biocultural heritage protection and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts.  She has been involved in the Native American food movement in North America and the indigenous food sovereignty movement internationally. She is a partner of the Slow Food Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) project and a founding member of the Slow Food Turtle Island Association.

Denisa Livingston – International Councillor for the Indigenous Network. Denisa is a member of the Diné people, representing the Global North. Denisa is a Steering Committee member of the Slow Food Turtle Island Association, and is committed to addressing the diabetes epidemic (with both advocacy and awareness raising activities), the dominant culture of unhealthy foods, and the lack of access to healthy food in the Navajo Nation. She is a member of several organizations linking the topics of young farmers, sugar and diabetes, native truth etc.

*Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM): is a network of indigenous communities, partners, and organizations. It was born out of the wider Terra Madre network to bring indigenous peoples’ voices to the forefront of the debate on food and culture, to institutionalize indigenous peoples’ participation in the Slow Food movement and its projects, and to develop both regional and global networks. Since the beginning, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and The Christensen Fund have supported the growth and strengthening of the network.  Today, ITM involves thousands of individuals in over 370 communities in 86 countries around the world. More than 750 indigenous products are already on the Ark of Taste and indigenous communities run more than 50 Slow Food Presidia. Several indigenous chefs are active in the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance.

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