During a recent session at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Indigenous leaders, filmmakers, and other food systems advocates gathered to discuss the need to dismantle harmful structures while supporting and scaling solutions that will promote healthy, nourished communities. The conversation was organized by The Rockefeller Foundation, Media RED, the Food4Climate Pavilion and Food Tank.
“The industrial, capitalist food system has created more food on planet Earth than ever before,” says Dr. Rupa Marya, a physician, author, and Executive Director of the Deep Medicine Circle, “and there are more people going hungry than ever before.”
In her book, Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice, co-authored with food systems advocate Raj Patel, Marya points to the ways that the current systems, driven by forces of capitalism and colonialism have made the world and its people sicker.
Marya argues that addressing this “systems collapse” requires “systems transformation” and encourages everyone to learn from the communities that are “reawakening” traditional knowledge systems or carrying on successful, regenerative practices that have been maintained for centuries.
The Sicangu Food Sovereignty Initiative (SFSI) is one project working to do just this. The recipient of the Food System Vision Prize from The Rockefeller Foundation, SFSI is working to advance community-driven food systems through programs including a seasonal market; their Lakota Foodways Project that is designed to preserve Lokota food knowledge and practices, a farm, and cooking and health classes.
“Like many Indigenous people, we’ve had a food system that works for us and with nature,” says Matte Wilson, an enrolled citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Director of SFSI.
Solutions like SFSI are scalable, panelists argue, but it will require support and community building. “We need to build a movement around the people that are working to make this transformation happen,” Sara Farley, Vice President of the Global Food Portfolio for The Rockefeller Foundation.
Identify and support the visionaries that exist “in every one of your communities,” Farley says. “Get to know them. Create the relationships with them. It changes how you frame food systems.”
Storytelling can also serve as a powerful tool to share these solutions and inspire further action.
With the forthcoming film Food 2050, The Rockefeller Foundation and Media RED are shining a spotlight on projects—and the people behind them—designed to transform food and agriculture systems from the ground up.
“It’s about stories that will drive an impact to ensure that the people whose voices need to be spread out can be spread,” says Andrew York, a producer of the film and COO of Media RED. He continues, “At no point should we look at issues and be scared because it is going to be tough, we should be scared about what will happen if we don’t do it, and we have to step up.”
“I honestly believe our best days aren’t behind us,” Wilson says. “They’re ahead of us.”
Watch the full conversation by clicking HERE.
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