In communities across the globe, people are finding that pride in their culture and control of their food go hand in hand. Food and farming play a key role in the localization process, and resisting the influence of the global monoculture can happen, quite literally, from the ground up.
In Honduras, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) has spent decades fighting for the rights of the Garifuna people, who emerged from a history of colonialism with the knowledge that small-scale farming and fishing can bring liberation and autonomy. Through women’s empowerment, legal action, community radio, and local assemblies, OFRANEH’s defense of the Garifuna encompasses land rights, cultural expression, and food security.
Far to the north, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, US, the urban agriculture organization Nuestras Raíces has grown to include a central farm, a network of 12 community gardens, and a youth program currently working to improve the food served in schools. Founded by Puerto Rican immigrants, Nuestras Raíces brings food and culture together in a tangible way by hosting cultural events at its urban farm ‘La Finca,’ which also hosts training for beginning farmers and spaces for small local businesses.
On the other side of the world, in the village of Kharamal in Odisha,India, traditional water collection methods are being used by residents to combat drought. Small structures called chahalas work in concert with gully plugs, vermicomposting, and other strategic practices to increase local farmers’ incomes while ending their dependence on chemical fertilizers, and to reduce the number of people leaving the village. Kharamal is just one example of the power of localization for farmers around the world.
South of the Equator, in Alice Springs, Australia, a group of 20 academics from India’s Monash University recently visited to share their knowledge of traditional farming practices, and learn about local Aboriginal traditions. From seed exchange and food production to healing, the group discovered common ground in the benefits of indigenous knowledge in both cultures. “We are finding that where traditional knowledge is being revived, food security outcomes are better,” said Dr. Jagit Plahe, who led the group.
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