The Latin American School for Food Systems Resilience 2019 (ALLSA 2019) focused on socio-ecological systems as an approach to recalibrate the relationship between human beings and nature. Carrying the theme ‘Transformative socio-environmental learning: fostering food systems innovation grounded in local knowledge’, ALLSA 2019 explored the possibilities for transforming the way we produce and consume food, as well as the wide range of approaches we can employ to promote food sovereignty. This edition of ALLSA, the second regional academy in Latin America, was held between 14-25 September 2019 at Hacienda Paukartika, Lamay district, Cuzco province, Peru. The event was co-created and organised by a multidisciplinary team of participants from earlier GESA and ALLSA Academies, in close collaboration with Asociación ANDES, a non-profit association involved in the recognition and strengthening of traditional communal rights over the biocultural resources in the region.
The Academy was designed with a transdisciplinary approach, guided by facilitators with different academic and non-academic backgrounds, as well as by members of the Potato Park communities, who contributed their ancestral and empirical knowledge. Based on participatory and horizontal learning approaches for socio-ecological systems, the aim of the Academy was to promote innovative processes for the sustainability and resilience of local food systems. This was done using decolonising methods and tools that prioritise traditional knowledge and practices over current dominant hegemonic practices that are often applied in this field. Participants explored techniques that included cooperative learning, participatory mapping, community interviews, and indigenous information gathering methods. They also used tools such as storytelling, conceptual graphics, the Inka yupana (an abacus used to perform arithmetic operations), and farmer field schools. During the field visits, the participants had the opportunity to reflect and jointly analyse all these acquired tools, supported by experience and evidence of their respective knowledge systems and ways of working.
This 10-day event brought together 23 young Latin Americans between 20 and 35 years old, from 7 different countries. Among the participants were activists, academics, scientists, entrepreneurs and indigenous experts from the Potato Park, all characterised by their commitment to the sustainability and resilience of food systems.
The academy was oriented around four transdisciplinary axes:
1) The biocultural axis, to (re)connect with traditional knowledge and integrate different local perspectives, serving as a model of how to create bridges between different knowledge and knowledge holders.
2) The second axis examined the contextual socio-ecological tools to study and evaluate food security and food sovereignty.
3) The third axis involved the problems of storage, distribution, transportation and marketing of food in sustainable food chains.
4) The fourth and final axis examined participatory leadership and commitment to action, to foster creative approaches to solving problems through innovation and dialogue between actors.
Read more about the four axes of ALLSA Peru in Building leadership for food systems resilience in Peru.
[Photo by Alexis Suarez]