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Discover The Rich Biodiversity Of Meghalaya's Food Systems Through These Walks

Discover The Rich Biodiversity Of Meghalaya's Food Systems Through These Walks
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Learn about the local landscape, biodiversity, various food plants, and indigenous food systems through these unique walks in Meghalaya

Piyali Sen
September 23 , 2022
02 Min Read

In Meghalaya, a series of unique walks are aiming at building awareness about local knowledge systems on food and medicinal plants of the region. 

Held by Meghalaya slow food organisation NESFAS, The walks are usually led by a traditional knowledge holder or a custodian farmer of a particular community. Anyone who is interested in learning more about the region’s rich biodiversity can join and the walks are free of cost.

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NESFAS and its communities have been regarded as guardians of the Indigenous FoodSystems (IFS) for the continued work to promote and conserve the traditional food systems and the agrobiodiversity that supports these systems. Among the many activities that have been devised by the organisation and the partner communities to promote IFS, Agrobiodiversity (ABD) Walks is one activity that has continuously strengthened the transmission of traditional knowledge from the elderly members and community facilitators to the younger generations. In these walks, local knowledge holders lead groups of students/youths and introduce them to the various food plants and medicinal plants that are available in the different food production systems. Their knowledge of the seasonality and benefits of the plants and the herbs are also shared with the group who document and catalogue them.

The purpose of conducting the ABD walk is to help the youths of the community learn and appreciate the rich biodiversity of the area and the importance of protecting Mother Nature and its richness. ABD walks were started as initiatives to enhance the scope of outdoor learning and to coexist with mother nature in harmony. 

The walks is one activity that has continuously strengthened the transmission of traditional knowledge from the elderly members and community facilitators to the younger generations. In these walks, local knowledge holders lead groups of students/youths and introduce them to the various food plants and medicinal plants that are available in the different food production systems. Their knowledge on the seasonality and benefits of the plants and the herbs are also shared with the group who document and catalogue them.

The walks are not fixed, we conduct them during various programs and for various purposes. They make it a point to conduct walks during every major event to commemorate biodiversity and mother nature. Example, during World Environment Day, World Food Day, International Day for Biological Diversity, World Earth Day, and more. 

In their present project “Empowering Indigenous Communities through Agroecology Learning Circles for resilient, integrated and innovative natural resource management”, more than 70 ABD walks have been conducted and are still ongoing. 

There are many things that one can learn from an ABD walk. For instance, the local landscape, biodiversity, food plants, and different food production systems. Especially the indigenous food systems such as jhum, biodiversity in forests, about kitchen gardens, and many more. One can also learn about the cooking methods of local food plants and generate awareness abou local variety of food plants, especially ones that are either on the verge of extinction, underutilised and neglected.

Check here for more information.


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