Strengthening food systems of the Indigenous Nations of Ecuador for resilience to climate change
Food systems constitute the basis of life for Indigenous families but their deterioration puts them at risk. Native food biodiversity, resilience to adverse weather conditions, customary food traditions, and the spiritual relationship with nature and living beings are all being eroded due to agricultural intensification, excess chemical fertilization and adoption of Western eating habits, among other challenges. These changes have resulted in high and rising levels of malnutrition, micronutrient deficiency and obesity, vulnerability of Indigenous food systems and inequitable, market-dependent food systems where Indigenous crops and knowledge are little valued.
Based on climate-resilient and culturally accepted production methods, the project will design and pilot strategies in up to seven Indigenous peoples’ territories in Ecuador to produce food that restores ecological and social processes while addressing constraints to developing and marketing healthy and sustainable products that contribute to food security and sovereignty. Capacity building, awareness raising, knowledge transfer and valorization of Indigenous, resilient, healthy and equitable food systems models will be conducted hand-in-hand with governing councils of the communities.
Through the project, 420 small holdings will be improved and some 1,400 families will be involved in seed exchanges; healthy, sustainable food products from sovereign Indigenous food systems will be commercialized; and food and nutritional sovereignty of Indigenous peoples will be strengthened with up to 50 leaders and seven field technicians trained.
This project is part of a cohort of seven projects developed under the Transforming Food Systems Initiative in the regions of Central and South America and the Middle East and North Africa. It will inform such transformation to build the resilience of communities vulnerable to climate change, pandemics and other critical shocks by understanding mechanisms through which equity-seeking groups can benefit from and drive the change process, both at the local level and at scale.