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Editorial: Traditional plants build resilience and resistance
June 20th, 2016

This issue of Farming Matters looks at the growing number of initiatives worldwide that aim to harness the potential of traditional plants. Cultivating traditional plants builds resilience and nutrition, strengthens cultural practices and enhances food sovereignty. From the experiences presented here we learn that for the successful revival of traditional plants, farmers’ knowledge on agricultural … Read moreEditorial: Traditional plants build resilience and resistance

Opinion: Traditional crops keep our culture alive
June 20th, 2016

Demand for foods based on traditional crops, with a clear link to local culture, is increasing in Zimbabwe. With this, Elizabeth Mpofu’s message is clear: policy needs to protect traditional crops and varieties, rather than introduce costly new ones, which require agrochemicals that damage nature and our health. In the whole of Africa and especially … Read moreOpinion: Traditional crops keep our culture alive

Heritage grains in Canada: digging our roots, planting our seeds
June 20th, 2016

Two years ago Shelley and Tony Spruit started Against the Grain, an initiative that is reviving heritage grains in Ontario, Canada, from field to fork. Their experience demonstrates how family farmers build seed sovereignty and educate consumers on their power to make change. In this article, their daughter Kristen writes their story. She explains how … Read moreHeritage grains in Canada: digging our roots, planting our seeds

Linking food choice with biodiversity in Germany
June 20th, 2016

Berlin is the German city with the largest number of organic food stores, but dominant distributers and organic supermarkets exclude small scale farmers from the market. By dropping fences between producers and customers, a retailers’ cooperative is raising public awareness about the relationship between food choices, food sovereignty, and the conservation of agrobiodiversity. In 2009, … Read moreLinking food choice with biodiversity in Germany

Locally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field
June 20th, 2016

Just as plants, humans will not survive without their roots. The experiences here highlight initiatives in which farmers, peasants,and educators have successfully organised themselves to rescue their traditional crops and revive their culinary traditions, thereby strengthening their cultural identity. India Crop diversity makes school kids proud Chandan’s grandmother is surprised to find her 10 year … Read moreLocally rooted: Ideas and initiatives from the field

Planting roots with non-timber forest products in Thailand
June 20th, 2016

In recent decades, resource challenged hill tribe farmers and gardeners in northern Thailand have recognised the importance of various threatened species that yield non-timber forest products.Conserving these species in agroforests has not only secured farmers’ access to valued types of food, fibre, and construction materials, but also improved fallows and the integration of displaced communities … Read morePlanting roots with non-timber forest products in Thailand

Opinion: Making ‘bush food’ markets fair
June 20th, 2016

Promoting traditional plants and foods must go hand in hand with acknowledging, respecting and remunerating custodians of their traditional resources and knowledge. Kylie Lingard provides some ideas for how the nascent ‘bush foods’ industry in Australia can become fair for Aboriginal Australians. The commercial potential of native plant foods in Australia (‘bush foods’) has boomed … Read moreOpinion: Making ‘bush food’ markets fair

MIND! BOOKS AND FILMS
June 20th, 2016

Bread, wine, chocolate: The slow loss of foods we love Simran Sethi. 2015. HarperOne 352 pages. ISBN: 9780061581076 “The following is about food, but it’s really about love.” Over the past few decades, our diets have changed drastically. 95 % of the world’s calories now come from only thirty species of crops. Naturally, this has … Read moreMIND! BOOKS AND FILMS

Perspectives: Fair and sustainable expansion of traditional crops – lessons from quinoa
June 20th, 2016

The recent boom in quinoa cultivation provides many lessons for an agroecological transition that enhances agricultural biodiversity. Looking at the effects of quinoa expansion, this article analyses how to protect peasant varieties, support free and fair flow of germplasm and engage in new ways of doing research. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a cultivated grain … Read morePerspectives: Fair and sustainable expansion of traditional crops – lessons from quinoa

Advocating for sustainable pastoralism together
June 20th, 2016

In all countries of the Middle East, pastoralist communities, and Bedouins in particular, are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society. A new initiative, funded by the European Union, is helping to strengthen their voices through trainings on policy influencing, networking, documentation and communication for advocacy. Bedouins and herders, like this Palestinian … Read moreAdvocating for sustainable pastoralism together