By the year 2050, the world’s population will be a staggering 9.1 billion people. This means there will be an extra billion mouths to feed. How do we do that in a way that is both sustainable and equitable?
In this special panel discussion, hosted by People Over Plastic at Shack15, we re-imagine food sovereignty through an Indigenous lens. Host Yvonne Chen sits down with Sara Moncada and Josh Mori to discuss how they draw inspiration from traditional agricultural practices and how adopting these practices could help feed our hungry planet. At the heart of the conversation is the concept of indigenomics: growing food in a good way.
Mori shares the concept behind his organic farm in Kauai, Hawaii where food is grown to feed hungry people and not to generate profits. He says by steering away from industrial farming and returning to more traditional and regenerative practices we can address local food insecurity and cultivate land in a less destructive way.
Sara Moncada challenges us to imagine a future that is not driven by agri-business and monoculture (the practice of growing one species) and instead centers on healthy soil and water. Moncada introduces us to the concept of Indigenomics (economics from an Indigenous worldview). She goes on to explain that Indigenous Peoples practiced regenerative farming long before it became a modern buzzword and that it’s time to re-think current agricultural models that are stressing our environments, contributing to climate change and failing to feed us.
We end our evening discussing the most effective ways to support sustainable farming initiatives so they can take root and scale up. This includes an honest discussion about the ways funding restrictions stunt the growth of Indigenous-led farming efforts.
About our Speakers:
Josh Mori is the founder of Iwikua, an organization that serves as an educational and cultural resource for sustainable food production, wellness and community enhancement to benefit west Kauai and future generations. Mori draws his insights on food sovereignty from his lived experience as an Indigenous Hawaiian farmer. He has seen firsthand the devastating impact of pesticide pollution resulting from agribusiness. (You can listen to Mori’s story in the PoP podcast episode, Not My Mainland.)
Sara Moncada (Yaqui) is an Indigenous educator, artist, filmmaker, author, dancer and cultural arts advocate. Moncado is CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, a native-led not-for-profit organization working in Indigenous rights and revitalization across the United States and around the globe. She is also a co-founder of Wise Women Circles, a women-owned media company, and is co-director of Sewam American Indian Dance, a cultural arts and education organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Moncada has presented on stages around the world and is often found dancing quietly while planting in the field. She is the producer of The Cultural Conservancy podcast The Native Seed Pod, a new series that both explores and celebrates Indigenous seeds, ecological knowledge, and foodways.
Photographer credit: Garna Raditya