Planet Local examples:
Australia, Hope for Health:
The story of Hope for Health began in 2013, when Dianne Biritjalawuy, an Indigenous Yolngu resident of Australia’s Elcho Island, recovered from a serious health crisis by turning away from processed, store-bought food and returning to a more traditional diet. The experience was so transformative that Dianne raised AU$60,000 to bring twelve Yolngu women to a local health retreat, where they, too, experienced dramatic improvements in chronic health problems, and discovered a new vitality.
Most recently, in August 2015, the cross-cultural education group Why Warriors, which aims to bridge the cultural gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, received grant money to train local Yolngu as nutrition and exercise coaches. These women are now providing the community with local-language workshops and classes in cooking and health, all based on the Yolngu traditional diet. They are also working to establish a Hope for Health Centre, which will sell locally-produced foods and teach traditional methods of food preparation, thus providing opportunities that can help empower the entire Yolngu community.
Brazil, Pacari Network:
The Pacari Network is a medicinal ecology initiative in the cerrado (savannah) biome of Brazil, working with 47 traditional pharmacies to cultivate and catalog medicinal plants and protect their habitat. The network includes smallholder farmers, gatherers, agrarian reform settlers, women’s groups, coconut palm workers, and community organizations representing Afro-Brazilians and indigenous peoples. In addition to supporting community pharmacies, Pacari has developed a set of standards for sustainable harvesting and quality control of medicinal plants. They have also created the ‘Pharmacopoeia of the People of the Cerrado,’ a database for recording known remedies, and techniques for harvesting.
In 2012, the Pacari Network won the Equator Prize, a biennial award given to community-based, rural sustainable development organizations.
To learn more, see the Pacari Network’s Equator case study.
US, Dream of Wild Health:
When people lose the land they have lived with for generations, they also lose the food traditions shaped by that place. As Sioux master gardener Diane Wilson, director of Dream of Wild Health farm in Hugo, Minnesota, explains, “Our people became disconnected from the land. Once you lose that, you lose your relationship with the food. It’s central to our culture: Traditions, song, ceremonies, all were connected to food.”
The destruction of Native food traditions was a central part of the colonization process. Native people who were confined to reservations, many of which were far from their original territories, often became dependent on government rations of sugar, lard, canned goods, and flour. Read more
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