In Abya Yala thousands of corn varieties were cultivated while in the Andes over 5,000 potato varieties. Until the 19th century, thousands of apple types were still produced in North America.
In the 20th century, agriculture transformed; nowadays we are less and less engaged in agriculture. In fact, children and even young people in most countries no longer know how food is grown.
With the Green Revolution, the monoculture era began, causing one of the greatest agricultural catastrophes of humanity. Monoculture caused the emergence of pests and the loss of many seed varieties. Today, barely sixty types of potato are grown in the Andes and only four worldwide.
In Europe, farmers began to depend on pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides; instead of obtaining products at lower prices, production costs became more expensive and so did food prices.
In the 1990s, seeds were genetically manipulated to get better products and to make them resistant to herbicides and insecticides, and along with this, seeds were patented. Today food has become a business in the hands of the largest food corporations.
Of the 7 billion people in the world, at least 842 million people have nothing to eat. Worldwide, each year, almost 11 million children under the age of five die as a direct and indirect consequence of hunger and poor diet.
In Latin America, there are 167 million people living in poverty, of which 52.5 million do not have access to food. Among the causes of this, besides poverty, are the poor production and distribution of food, the lack of access to land, the consequences of climate change, and the lack of serious public policies of the States to benefit the majority.
Although, decades ago, food security policies were proposed from the Western world, the biggest food problems have not been solved. What we propose from the indigenous peoples is a "dignified diet with identity".
This proposal means that food must be for everyone; also to be able to recover our production capacity, a natural production of food, re-establishing our own forms of food production, with our logic and our own technologies, to produce healthy food, to recover healthy seeds and use technologies such as the rotation of crops in the logic of multiple cropping, which unlike monoculture, gives a greater nutritional value to food and allows to preserve the fertility of the land, respecting its production and resting cycles, in addition to avoiding the appearance of pests.
As social movements promote food sovereignty, projecting "new social relations" free of oppression and inequality between men and women; we propose "new life relationships", which means that human being cannot prey to satisfy its hunger making other species disappear.
We must relate to our environment while maintaining the sacred balance of Mother Earth and life itself.
Identity is dignity. Therefore, by reconstructing nutrition from our identity, we are pursuing good nutrition; that is feeding ourselves to restore our health and consciousness because for our ancestors their food was also their medicine. Therefore, in this health crisis and others to come, the States must promote as a medicine, both preventive and as a treatment, a natural healthy diet following our ancestral knowledge.
From the indigenous native movements’ worldview and our logic of the culture of life, we know that we can give answers to problems such as hunger, poor diet and even health in general, in the world and under new conditions of life.
These new living conditions, such as climate change, loss of fertile lands, shortage of healthy seeds or the food monopoly, demand urgent policies to give clear answers; for this reason, the indigenous peoples propose an education to generate a new awareness of life in children and youth, which encourages a new way of eating.
To preserve lands that are still fertile and recover those that are no longer. To return to respect the cycles of Mother Earth, applying the ancestral nation’s traditional ways in agriculture. Recover the healthy seeds preserved by ancestral technologies, also recover all the seed varieties that were lost by monoculture. Finally recover community food production, changing the mechanisms of food distribution and redistribution.
A dignified diet with identity proposes to return to the ancestral life logic; which means leaving consumerism, returning to our community practices, and walking again in the culture of life. We cannot continue exposing our lives, our health, and our loved ones.
The Andean Region and Bolivia still have fertile lands, organic products, and ancient wisdom, which constitutes the greatest wealth. We do not need to make the same mistakes as developed countries, which have already experienced the perverse effects of development.
We have the knowledge and technology for good nutrition and for our food being our medicine.