600 International Delegates at Indigenous Terra Madre 2015, Including Kenyan Tribes and Communities

Representatives of Kenyan tribes and communities will contribute to the event by sharing their knowledge and experiences

A large delegation of representatives of indigenous communities from the Slow Food Terra Madre network and beyond will be participating in Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM 2015), which will take place from November 3 to 7, 2015 in Shillong (Meghalaya, India). 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).

International representatives will be coming to the event from five continents, from 14 African countries, 17 Asian countries, 8 European countries, 12 American countries and 7 Oceanian countries.

Representatives from several Kenyan communities will be attending:

Gabbra communities (northern Kenya and highlands of southern Ethiopia). The Gabbra communities are camel-herding nomads, specializing in the production of milk and animal fat. They will use their traditional knowledge and experience in nomadic livestock management to demonstrate herders’ resilience to cope with constant drought and climate-change-induced stresses.

– the Watta/Wayyuu community (northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia). The Watta community is traditionally made up of hunters and gatherers, though they have now been assimilated into a larger group in the region. The Watta are at the point of extinction, having been marginalized and lost their hunting livelihoods since government policies made hunting illegal and seized land for development. Currently they are pastoralist and are promoting a revival of their culture and language in order to reclaim their identity.

– the Kalenjin community (Rift Valley). The Kalenjin community is a semi-nomadic pastoralist group famous for giving returning champions a drink of traditionally fermented milk known as mursik from a colorful gourd or sotet. The adoption of mursik milk-preserving technology by non-pastoralist communities has meant its commercialization can serve as a viable source of income for livestock farmers.

– the El Molo community (southeastern shores of Lake Turkana). The smallest indigenous fishing group (around 400 people) in the area.

– the Ogiek tribe. Involved in the production of the Ogiek honey, a Slow Food Presidium in the Mau Forest. With support from NECOFA, Manitese and Slow Food the members have been given training in adding value and marketing and are now in the process of developing a Participatory Forest Management Plan (PFMP) that will allow them to co-manage the forest with the Kenya Forest Service. Since becoming a Slow Food Presidium and adding value to their honey they are earning a better income, which has greatly improved their lives.

– the Burji community. This community practices agro-pastoralism and is made up of farmers and traders. The community promotes drought-tolerant crops (e.g. finger millet, sorghum wheat, barley) and uses indigenous knowledge in planting kale and onions to sustain itself. The Burji produce ruke, a bread made from wheat flour, which can last for more than three months and it is mostly used by men when travelling long distances.

– the Borana community (Isiolo county). These pastoralists face numerous challenges because of the harsh nature of their living environment. They are greatly affected by seasonal weather changes, and are not economically empowered to cushion themselves against these tough conditions. The imminent erosion of a culture of preservation will also soon expose a technological inability to ensure a sustainable food supply.

– the Samburu community. A nomadic pastoralist community whose mobility depends on the pattern of the rains. They live communally and they eat mainly milk and blood from their animals and wild honey, which acts as a herbal medicine and helps prevent illness.

– the Turkana community. The third largest Nilotic ethnic group in Kenya, mainly semi–nomadic pastoralists. Livestock is a very important aspect of their lives; they rely on their animals, like cows, goats, camels and donkeys, for milk, meat and blood as their staple foods.

– the Rendille community. A nomadic group in north-central Kenya, very dependent on their livestock, which they rely on for milk, meat and blood, their staple foods. They keep animals like cows, goats, camels and donkeys. The women are in charge of the animal products (meat, blood, milk and ghee) and feeding the families.

– the Porini Sanctuary, a hub in the middle of the Mwireri community. This hub brings together hunter-gatherers, small-scale farmers and pastoralists. It saddles a diverse melting pot of cultures and forms a stable stronghold of intercultural exchanges and cultural tolerance, as was demonstrated during the post-election violence in 2007/2008, when the community was a haven for those fleeing disturbed areas. They are currently collaborating with Slow Food Kenya on how to form a Presidium. Indigenous honey and food crops are the main products, which feed the neighboring communities.

Representatives from several other groups and organizations from Kenya will also attend the event, including the Kivulini Trust (an organization that supports the improvement of the social and economic status of pastoralist communities in the Trust area through capacity building for sustainable livelihoods leading to self-reliance), the Waso Trustland Project (which undertakes protection of land user rights and social and economic development of indigenous communities in Isiolo county), MWADO (Marsabit Women Advocacy and Development Organization), the Samburu Women Trust (a network of thousands of women across four counties in Kenya) and the Pastoralist Youth for Environment Conservation (started in 2012, its main aim is to empower pastoralist youth to become self-reliant and participate in a number of activities).

You can find the program of the event here: http://bit.ly/1LWZaxh

Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 gratefully acknowledges funding support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Christensen Fund and the Government of Meghalaya. Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 is also thankful for the contributions made by Tamalpais Trust, Swift Foundation, AgroEcology Fund, Bread for the World and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 

Terra Madre is a worldwide network, launched by Slow Food in 2004, which unites small-scale producers from 163 countries involved in the sustainable production of food. Among these, to date the Indigenous Terra Madre Network comprises 372 indigenous food communities, 41 indigenous Presidia projects and 308 indigenous Ark of Taste products.  For more information: https://old.slowfood.com/international/149/indigenous-terra-madre-network

Discover the stories of Indigenous Peoples from around the world on Slow Food website in the ‘Indigenous Voices’ section! https://old.slowfood.com/international/food-for-thought/slow-themes/260987

For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:

Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected] 

Ajay Nayak, +91-9820535501 [email protected]

Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 158 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,500 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

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