Moderator: Ken Wilson, The Christensen Fund
Jeannette Armstrong, Swift Foundation Board Member
Melissa Nelson, The Cultural Conservancy
Alejandro Argumedo, ANDES
Jannette Armstrong: “Food sovereignty is not just about agriculture, i’s about how much we share with one another, it infuses us with the ethics. We have to do, share and work hard which gives us those ethics.” Besides the ethical obligation and territorial sovereignty, other aspects connected to food sovereignty were discussed, like cultural and spiritual dimensions: “Sacraments define who we are which is often connected to and identified with and via our native foods.” Equally important is the link to cultural conservancy, as many Central American and Mexican Natives trying to maintain a semblance of their culture and foodways here in the US.
Alejandro Argumedo of ANDES , talked about how six communities around Cusco in the Andes Mountains created and now manage an ayllu, a traditional form of community in the Andes, that functioned from prior to the Inca conquest, to present day. Alejandro defined it as an “association where humans are only one part of the larger community of the wild and sacred.” He also talked about a Potato Park, a unique model of holistic conservation, established in 2010 on 10,000 ha. Through the Park, located at the center of the area where potato originated, the locals sustain and promote food production, biodiversity, while keeping the culture and creating a local economic base, and most of all Sumak kausai, the good life. You can read here more about the Potato Park. The efforts of the central government to privatize land goes against the traditional Andean allyu concept, which keeps a balance between humans and nature. Alejandro went on to talk on how agro-biodiversity is central to cultural identity.