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The tradition of the Laklãnõ-Xokleng indians planting of Zág (Araucaria angustifolia) in the Atlantic Forest (Brazil)

The Zág is our sacred food since 6000 years ago. Zág must recover its place as a principal food to eliminate hunger among Indigenous people.

Photo of Carl Gakran
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Association of Indigenous Students of Federal University of Santa Catarina (AEIUFSC).

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Youth Organisation (between 18 - 30 years old)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.


Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Florianopolis, State of Santa Catarina (Brazil)

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Indigenous Land Laklano (420 km^2). It includes parts of four different cities: Jose Boiteux, Vitor Meireles, Doutor Pedrinho, Itaiópolis.

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I am an indigenous from the Laklãnõ-Xokleng tribe. I have been lived here for my entire life. The Laklãnõ-Xokleng tribe actually exists only in this indigenous land. This place is important because it recover all the ancestral memory by our grandparent. We are connected with this place beyond the nature.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The place is an indigenous land. Lives around 3200 indigenous here. We have ten villages inside the indigenous land. Most inhabitants are Laklãnõ-Xokleng indians. Our tradition food is based in honey, meat of some specific animals, some fish, a traditional type of cornflour (totolo) and mainly pinion / pine nut (from Araucaria angustifolia). Because our dependency of pine nut we have traditional technics to conserve it. This knowledge can be permanently lost. Since non-indians begin to deforest our land, the pine nut has been disappearing and we were forced to substitute progressively our traditional food in the last 100 years. Right now Araucaria angustifolia is under red list of IUCN (critically endangered, the last level before become totally extinct). We live in a mountain range, over 800 meters in a cold temperature. The geography is ideal to plant Araucaria Angustifolia. We are organised under tribal chief hierarchy and laws. We spoke and use mainly our native language (Laklãnõ-Xokleng), but most of us can understand Portuguese language too. The Indigenous Land Laklãnõ is the only land in the world where you can find Laklãnõ people still living. The closest city is Jose Boiteux, a tiny rural city which produces mainly tobacoo and eucalyptus. The city was funded only in 1989. The agriculture in the region of Jose Boiteux is turned into production of tobacoo and eucalyptus. Some indians produce vegetables or raise pigs and chickens, to internal consume. The indigenous land has a river where in the past we could fishing, but after the non-indians build a dam (the biggest in Brazil) we had our fishing capacity severally reduced. Part (minor) of the men living in the indigenous land works in their own farms, small ones, and only to self-support. Another (major) part of the men works for external farms in Jose Boiteux in tobacco plantation. The women are responsible for the children and also the elders. After the reduction of Araucaria angustifolia (Parana Pine) and the reduction of wildlife (especially white-lipped peccary and deer) because the deforastion, the indians start to changes their diet and together it comes a number of new diseases, mainly diabetes and high blood pressure, but also some types of tumors and cancer.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

From 2020 ahead we have the challenge to increase the consciences on the food. We have many families here eating industrialised food. The salt, the sugar and the preservative foods maybe are our worst enemies. We have until 2050 the challenge to recover the access to our sacred food. Araucaria angustifolia (Parana Pine, Zág) takes around 30 years to grow up and give the first pine nuts.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

We understand which planting Zág since now we can change the situation of deforastion. Recovering the Araucaria angustifolia another species will come back, as the deer, the white-lipped peccary and especially the azure jay. Our mythology understand and explain how the Zág (Araucaria angustifolia, Parana Pine) is the feedstock used to create all animals. The science understand which the population of this animals will increase with proper forest recovered.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Recovering the access to our traditional food, pine nut and specific meat, we will can change the development of diseases inside our indigenous land. We also will reduces or even remove the dependancy to buy industrialised food out of our indigenous land. In a larger view we also will can stop to become temporary workers in the tobacco plantations. Just to illustrate, the poison used in the tobacco plantations out of our land ends up in our river, where from we drink the water.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

We understand that our vision reaches the six interconnected themes: The environment is noticeable because we are reforesting an endangered species, which is sacred to our people and endemic to the region. All planting will be carried out within a permanent environmental protection area, within the indigenous territory, by the indigenous people. When it comes to the diet, we are recovering the possibility of all our relatives eating again based on our traditional diet. Our traditional diet is basically driven by the consumption of honey, pine nuts and meat from some specific animals. Of these foods the least inaccessible is precisely the pine nut, which is the seed of Parana Pine (Zág). Pine nut is a very complete food, easy to transport and store, and with much appreciated flavor. On the economics aspects, we realize that not only will we remove a heavy burden that our relatives have acquired by moving to an external and foreign diet alien to our cultural context. As a secondary consequence, it will be possible to trade the pine nut in the nearby locations, because the pine nut is widely appreciated throughout the region. The Zag is our sacred tree, understood in our mythology as the raw material that was used by our ancestors to shape and produce various animals. Restoring Zag's forest area will be a key role in strengthening and preserving our culture. The Laklãnõ-Xokleng have a single indigenous land in Brazil, where all our relatives are resident. We are literally an endangered people and language, sharing the situation with our sacred tree. Technology comes from different perspectives. There is all the scientific knowledge that has been produced over the last decades about the management and cultivation of pine nuts that we can absorb, and on the other hand all our ancestral and traditional knowledge can further enhance the scientific development already built by non-indigenous people. We have known for centuries about particular ways of conserving pine nuts for consumption throughout the year, as the plant provides its seeds for a short time and has low longevity outside refrigerated spaces. Beyond it, the pine nut is a very healthy food. We have knowledge over 10 species of Araucaria angustifolia, each one with particulares characteristics. We also understand as a healing and medicinal plant, can be used in context of ritual healing. Regarding political aspects, all the revision of the food policy and health policies that have been promoted against the indigenous people by the surrounding society is necessary since the first contact was made. Forbidden to maintain their traditional diet, the Indians began to consume food produced and marketed by non-Indians, becoming dependent on the use of currency. In a short time, self-sustaining, natural and healthy production was replaced by a dynamic exploration and liberal logic of consumption of low cost food and low nutritional quality. In addition to the political and economic aspects already described, there is the issue of food autonomy that arises as a real possibility, as it no longer depends on external suppliers for food. Indians can decide what, how much and when to eat. The food crisis started when non indians start to look and explore the Zág as a source of money, selling the wood. The wood of Araucaria angustifolia is very value. The entire process of reforestation is designed, developed, executed and completed by the indigenous themselves, reaffirming their participation in all stages of the process, making the necessary decisions and actions for its execution. The main challenge will be the food reconfiguration of part of the population that has become accustomed to foreign food. Therefore, food education and clarification on the benefits of traditional food need to be component parts of this project.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Carl Gakran  Great to see you joining the Prize!
We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Prize. Even if you've not started populating your Vision just yet, by publishing your submission you can make it public for other teams in your region to see, get in touch and possibly even collaborate with you.
You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.