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EcoFoodWeb: A Linking and Sharing Online Platform on Agroecology and Earth Healing Lifestyles of the Future

A website links communities of indigenous young people developing earth healing food systems for sharing, learning and trade

Photo of Sophia Garduce
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao, Inc.

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Other

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

Indigenous communities and schools Farmer cooperatives Agroecology advocacy and research institutions

Website of Legally Registered Entity

https://www.facebook.com/LumadCommunityCollege/

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

  • 1-3 years

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

Maco, Davao de Oro has a total area of 342 square kilometers. More than 80% of its population are indigenous farmers

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Philippines

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

Barangay Lapu-lapu is in Maco, Davao de Oro which has a total area of 342 square kms. Over 80% of its population are indigenous farmers

What country is your selected Place located in?

Philippines

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Since I volunteered as a community educator at the Community Technical College, I have been living in this locality for almost 3 years now. I grew up and finished my education in the polluted, highly urbanized Metro Manila in the Philippines. Since moving to this place, I have learned to respect the multifarious cultures of over 10 indigenous / ethnic groups of children and youths studying in this school. I have interacted well with the surrounding communities of the school and studied the gaps and strengths as far as their food systems are concerned. There is overall hunger, but the land at this point in time is still in the hands of the small farmers. Each family owns around 2 hectares of land. The youth of the place are highly receptive to learning and practicing advanced Agroecology systems. Since some of them come from other regions of the Mindanao island, the food systems vision we can collectively develop from this locality can be replicated to a greater number of farming indigenous communities in Mindanao.

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 locality of Barangay Lapu-lapu and its immediate environs in the first class municipality of Maco, Davao de Oro, is composed of 80% indigenous farmers, majority of whom are of the Mandaya or Mansaka ethnic group.

There is a ripe opportunity to transition into organic agriculture and agroecology as for years, the locality and its people lived with the destructive and ill health effects of banana plantation farming. Every morning, they are exposed to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to push maximum Cavendish banana harvest, rendering the soil highly acidic and the waters contaminated.

Starting in 2014 and very rapidly by 2016, the deadly Panama virus affected large plantations. Most hit were the middle to small scale farmers as they had no savings to rely on in times of crisis. Slowly, they are converting land use back to planting rice, vegetables and more sturdy crops, and a growing number are starting to become receptive to the importance of organic agriculture and Agroecology.

The area is seldom affected by typhoons, which normally hit the Philippines starting from Eastern Visayas region moving up to Northern Luzon. The 2012 typhoon Pablo wreaked disastrous ecological havoc on the land and its people, but at the same time taught people to start thinking of climate action.

The time to help the local indigenous farmers build productive, efficient and effective food systems is now, because it could spell for a vibrant food system in the future. If indigenous farmers of the locality are helped in developing efficient food systems, chances are they will not be forced to sell their land to big corporations trying to maximize the development in the area into another urbanized Hongkong with airports and international ports.

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

342

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

81000

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

Current challenges to the food system include environmental degradation and plunder of indigenous people's ancestral domains and limited or no access to technology and the political situation. Despite the large tracts of lands covered by an indigenous community's ancestral domain (some as large as 1,800 hectares for one ethnolinguistic group in one locality), limited access to agroecology knowledge and skills, skewed local economics and policies favoring private politically entrenched landlords and corporations in agribusinesses, and a small-scale farming culture among the indigenous peoples. Diets therefore generally comprise of poor nutritional levels leading to stunting and malnutrition across various generations of the indigenous people.


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

Agroecology as a climate change mitigation strategy, and making use of the ICT are future challenges that must be slowly addressed by making the knowledge base available to the indigenous communities of the locality through education and mobile trainings. Planning the agroecology components must be made responsive to the diet needs of various age groups like infants and young children as well as senior citizens.

Introduction of various aspects of the future food system vision where an EcoFoodWeb allows communities to connect their products and input needs, technology and knowledge capacities must also be made culturally responsive, making space for diversity.

Lastly policy advocacy must be put at the center to ensure successful developments of any component of the food system vision are made sustainable.

 Continuing research, documentation and development in the hope of translating and making the knowledge base available to all communities within the Maco locality and elsewhere where the conditions are similar is a foundation of the strategy to address the challenges.

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.

Indigenous people, especially the youth, manage an online EcoFoodWeb where practices and lessons are exchanged for potential upscaling of agroecology, renewable energy products and the like. Diets are enriched at an affordable cost. The impact of climate change mitigation on their ancestral lands with the practice of Agroecology, improvements on their diets and income are shared with other communities and connections are increasingly made to create a movement of circular lifestyles with organic farming by indigenous communities led by the youth.

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

A movement of indigenous communities practicing circular lifestyles develop into a web of linkages to influence practices, policies and programs that affect the environment, people's diets, economies, technology and culture. Indigenous youths own the space for knowledge, land, Agroecology knowledge and practice, continuing research and development as well as influencing local policies supportive of the circular lifestyle movements that will evolve in the future. 

In the process, indigenous youth take their place in the global movement to heal lands ravaged by synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and reinvigorate biodiversity almost lost through monocrop plantations in the locality.

Traditional diets enhanced with diverse organic produce (vegetables, crops, fruits and livestock), processing of organic agricultural products made possible through practical trainings, biodiverse farm plans made real and renewable energy systems in place. A healthy food system not only for people but for an increasingly biodiverse flora and fauna of the locality, especially the now threatened or near extinct species.

Sustainability of organic food system are enhanced by positive policies. 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Email

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Biodiversity in agriculture is also a big part of our Scaling readiness to improve health, well-being and ecosystem management: the valorization of vegetables in vulnerable food systems  food vision. We would love to connect and learn more about your program!

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