14th ISE Congress kicks off with the Mountain Communities Initiatives

27 May 2014, Jangbee (Trongsa) and Ura (Bumthang): Forty-seven participants from 10 different countries arrived in Bhutan on 27th May 2014. They are involved in the Mountain Communities Initiatives for the 14th International Society of Ethnobiology Congress.

The idea of the Mountain Communities Initiatives was borne during the last ISE Congress in Montpellier, France— to create an opportunity for exchange among indigenous mountain communities about the defense of traditional food and agriculture systems in a context of climate change and other ecological and socio-political pressures.

All the participants for the Mountain Communities Initiatives will be hosted by the indigenous Monpa communities of Jangbee, Trongsa and Ura, Bumthang. During their stay with those communities, they will have an informal exchange of experiences, culture, knowledge, wisdom and food. Some of the central themes for this program are:

  1. the different challenges (climatic and otherwise) communities face to the integrity of their food systems and the ways in which they may respond, collectively and collaboratively;
  2. the cultural and political dimensions of these food systems and the role they play in shaping community organization; and
  3. the feasibility of organising international community-to-community seed exchanges

During the Congress session the farmers participating in the Mountain Communities Initiatives will share their findings with the wider Congress audience.

– Reported by Tshering Dendup, UWICE

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