Colombia: Indigenous Communities Protect their Food Security

This post is part of our special coverage Indigenous Rights and Global Development 2011.

Indigenous communities in Colombia are taking steps to protect their food security. Not only are they educating their communities to eat what they grow on their vegetable gardens instead of buying expensive food brought from outside but they are also protesting new laws and regulations limiting their access to milk.


Products grown by the indigenous communities

This first video (in Spanish) shows a community gathering at the indigenous reservation of Huellas Caloto where different townships were invited to bring food made out of ingredients they grow on their own plots of land. Pumpkin juice, porridge, corn cakes and other products were used as delicious examples of how their diet doesn't have to depend on imported or purchased goods, but on local and traditional ingredients.

In these next two videos (also in Spanish) we can see  the indigenous Misak community who among others marched to the capital city of Bogotá to protest a new law that would make selling raw milk illegal. In their communities, where they buy milk from neighbors and supplement their diets locally, putting a restriction on raw milk would mean that they would have to buy processed milk at much higher prices, affecting both milk buyers and sellers.  The videos are titled “Milk in Cans doesn't Kill, Hunger Does”

Part 1

Part 2

Water security is also an important issue: in the following video the Communication School of Northern Cauca shows us two separate cases of water issues and how to solve them. In the first case, a woman is washing clothes in the river, and a neighbor comes up to her and kindly tells her that because she is washing clothes in the river, downstream they are getting soapy water. She apologizes and admits that she wasn't aware that her actions were affecting someone else negatively but that she'll ask at home if they can build her an area to do washing where she doesn't contaminate the river. To this, the neighbor replies that they'll gladly give her a hand in figuring out a solution, and help them build it.  The second scene shows tourists near the river bank, where they have a picnic but leave all their trash behind them. A member of the indigenous community comes along afterwards and complaining about the littering, picks up the trash.

You can follow these and other activities of the indigenous communities in Colombia through their website in Spanish.

This post is part of our special coverage Indigenous Rights and Global Development 2011.


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