• Slow Food Celebrates World Indigenous Day by Announcing that Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 Will Take Place in North East India This November

      14th August 2015 Published in English in Ghanaleaks, Ghana

      Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 (ITM 2015) - taking place from November 3 to 7, 2015 in Shillong (Meghalaya, India) - will bring together representatives of indigenous communities from around the world to celebrate their food cultures and discuss how traditional knowledge and the sustainable use of natural resources can contribute to developing good, clean and fair food systems.

      The event is the result of a collaboration between Slow Food, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (Indigenous Partnership) and the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS). Representatives of indigenous communities from Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Ecuador, South Africa, Egypt, Angola, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Tajikistan, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, China, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands will participate in the event. They will interact and engage with representatives from global agencies associated with the United Nations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), international organizations, research bodies, scientists and policymakers, all of whom are increasingly turning their gaze toward Indigenous Peoples and their long-standing practices which help to maintain an ecological balance.

      The theme of the event is "The Future We Want: Indigenous Perspectives and Actions." The first three days of intense workshops and plenary sessions will focus on a wide range of issues includingfood sovereignty, alternative (indigenous) models of sustainable food production, the importance oftraditional knowledge, land rights, the diversity of indigenous languages and the conservation of agrobiodiversity. The event will involve 41 local host villages and numerous food communities, giving a voice to some of the most marginalized members of society.

      Phrang Roy, Slow Food International Councilor for Indigenous Issues, Coordinator for theIndigenous Partnership and NESFAS Chairman, said: "We are confident that Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 will be a unique opportunity for the participating delegates, as well as the local public." He added: "The 41 local host communities have suggested that the event be given a local name, and hence, it is being called the International Mei-Ramew 2015. 'Mei-Ramew' means Mother Earth in the local Khasi language. The idea is to make it an event truly by Indigenous Peoples for Indigenous Peoples."

      The first edition of Indigenous Terra Madre took place in 2011 in Jokkmokk, Sweden, and was organized by the S ¡pmi people. It was the first Slow Food event dedicated entirely to Indigenous Peoples and was attended by 300 delegates from 31 countries, 70 different ethnic groups and 50 indigenous communities. Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 is an important opportunity to evaluate the progress made since the last event, as well as to reflect on the evolution of food and agroecological issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples.

      North East India is home to more than 250 indigenous groups and is considered to be one of the most bioculturally diverse areas in the world. The first three days of the event will be held at the Campus of the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong, one of India's federally established universities. The fourth day will feature field trips to ten host villages, where participants will have the opportunity to spend time and exchange ideas with local food communities in their respective landscapes. The final day will include a food festival and a closing ceremony in the scenic hills surrounding the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, 25 km from Shillong.

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