A combining of food generation with food production.

Going distances to gather food, then preparing and consuming it in the same place.

Generation of food through territorial management.

The importance of spirituality.

What can industrial farmers learn from indigenous peoples’ farming techniques?

Can indigenous food systems produce the same amount of food as industrial systems to feed the world? “Absolutely…We could have food systems dotted around urban areas, utilizing both perennial and domesticated plant seeds,” said Sherman. “Think about how much one small farmers’ market farm can produce in one summer. We could be growing a ton of food, then it’s about understanding how to preserve it.”

The UN is in agreement that indigenous food systems can scale up.”If indigenous peoples had the same level of access to land and resources in finance that non-indigenous peoples have in agriculture, my hypothesis is that there would actually be greater production of food.” said Mikaila Way who leads FAO’s indigenous peoples’ unit in North America. Reclaiming land could allow indigenous food systems to be interconnected and seen through to their full potential.

Indigenous techniques that will make industrial farming more sustainable.

Eating strawberries or oranges all year round requires transporting them long distances across the planet and making a huge carbon footprint. Food the local environment provides seasonally doesn’t need to be transported as far. While there may be less of certain items they could taste better and perhaps have a higher seasonal demand.

Industry could also learn to focus more on food generation. Food generation is what nature grows without human intervention. Food production uses human intervention to produce food from nature. For example, the ocean providing fish is food generation, the act of fishing is food production. A focus on food production exacerbates the scarcity of resources, as overfishing has depleted fish populations around the world. Investing in regenerative approaches can include periodically not fishing in certain areas so that fish populations can grow, and replenishing soil so that native plants repopulate an area.

🎧 For more intel on food systems, listen to the Quartz Obsession podcast episode on fish sticks. Or subscribe via: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher.

The globe’s current food base is based on a few crops like wheat, rice, soy, and corn. Industry can work to diversify this set of foundational foods. “It is not only tremendously risky in terms of price shocks” said Fernández de Larrinoa, but also is a very limited choice of sustenance and unhealthy if not balanced with other foods. Fruits and vegetables that are nutritious are often neglected for monocrops. Processed foods like high-fructose corn syrup are not digested well by the human body and are associated with health problems. Industry could increase the variety of crops grown to offer other kinds of foods that are more nutritious.

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