The way to safeguard our food supply in the midst of climate chaos is by using and adapting the plant and animal genetic diversity that rural peoples have bred and nurtured over 10,000 years. Most of this diversity is in the global South.
Countless different and genetically distinct plants and animals provide the genetic variability needed to sustain food production and survive climate change – the irreplaceable reservoir of genes that enable plants and animals to withstand drought, extreme heat or cold, flooding, and pests and disease.
The world’s 2.5 billion indigenous and small-scale farmers, fishers and pastoralists feed a majority of the world’s people and most of the world’s malnourished. They also create and conserve most of the world’s biodiversity and are humanity’s best defense against climate change. We will need them even more in the future than we did in the past.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2010, October 26). The Second Report on the State of the World’s Plant Genetic Resources. Retrieved from fao.org
- ETC Group. (2009, November 1). Who will feed us? Retrieved from etcgroup.org
- Pimbert, M. (2009, November). Towards food sovereignty: reclaiming autonomous food systems. London: International Institute for Environment and Development. Retrieved from dlc.dlib.indiana.edu
- The Development Fund. (2011). Part 1. In A. Nærstad (Ed.), A viable food future (pp. 38-51). Oslo: The Development Fund, Norway. Retrieved from usc-canada.org