Biocultural Heritage

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Lessons from Indigenous food systems

29 Mar 2022

IIED principal researcher Krystyna Swiderska discussed what can we learn from Indigenous Peoples and their food systems in an online event following the UN Food Systems Summit.

Some 476 million Indigenous Peoples, spread throughout 90 nations, have established distinct territorial management practices that produce food while also maintaining biodiversity. 
Indigenous food systems have proved to be highly productive, sustainable and equitable, ensuring food security and nutrition while also preserving rich biodiversity and ecosystems  and addressing climate adversities.
In September 2021, following the UN’s Food Systems Summit, the Tenure Facility, Land Portal, Ford Foundation and Thomson Reuters Foundation co-organised an online event  to reflect on the importance of Indigenous food systems and discuss what can world food systems learn from the traditional practices of Indigenous Peoples.
Indigenous food systems’ expert and IIED principal researcher Krystyna Swiderska joined the event as a panellist to share her expertise. Swiderska emphasised the value of Indigenous crops for nutrition and climate change adaptation and highlighted their  critical importance for local and global food security. 
“We need to learn how to produce food more sustainably, without destroying our agroecosystems and biodiversity,” she said. 
Swiderska also highlighted the urgent need to protect the biocultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples, including the traditional landscapes and cultural and spiritual values that underpin biodiverse, resilient and nutritious food systems.