Tweet chat with Twitter guest @tania_eulalia.
Tania Eulalia Martinez-Cruz is an Ayuuk indigenous woman who was born in Tamazulápam del Espiritu Santo, Mixe, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Tania is also a social activist promoting the conservation of native maize as key to the biocultural diversity of indigenous peoples.
She also collaborates with several pro-education NGOs that support indigenous girls, women, and children, and children and youth in vulnerable situations.
Her research interests cover politics of knowledge and research, and processes of social inclusion and exclusion in technology-driven interventions in agriculture.
The main tweet chat with Tania Eulalia Martinez-Cruz
Question 1. How can you explain Food security in your own terms?
Tania: #Foodsecurity to me is that everyone has access to quality and healthy food at all times, everywhere. This means we also produce food in a #sustainable way, caring about #individuals and our #planet.
I want to emphasize the #everyone because with the #Socialinequities we face around the world; some people are more food insecure than others.
Question 2. Do you think COVID-19 has posed a threat to the global Food security?
Tania: #COVID19 is a threat to #Foodsecurity as many other #crisis. We usually do not value the role of #farming and #farmers. I love this phrase that says “that once in a while we need a doctor or teacher but every-day we need a farmer because we eat every day”.
The problems are different. While some countries, especially the richer ones, recognize they need farmers and in many cases, those are #migrants, they are not guaranteed the minimal working/health conditions.
A lot of the food in the world is produced in the #Globalsouth & many of our farmers are stuck with their products/harvest with the whole economic situation in the world. Thus, making those farmers again the most vulnerable.
Thus, we certainly are facing a problem of production and distribution depending on the region we are in!
With the current #COVID19 crisis and the lockdown, we still need to eat and means, we need people who cultivate the land, grows food, harvests, transports, distributes, processes in some cases and sells it. Who will be in charge of that?
Question 3. What do you think the strategies should be now to achieve food security?
Tania: I think there are several strategies to achieve food security.
First, we can think more about food sovereignty, producing locally and consuming as much as we can so we rely locally on our local markets, natural resources and people. We would also reduce transportation costs. However, while I’m in Mexico City I have to pay 3 USD if I want to be sure that the lettuce is clean and organically produced. We need to work out policies that also ensure we all can have access to healthy and nutritious food considering the incomes of the poorest families too.
#Second, I think we need to change our culture of consumption, we all want ‘food that looks good’ but we also should think on what is behind the standards of the ‘good looking’ food we all want. For example, when we go to the supermarket, we want big, tasty & shiny tomatoes but that also puts a lot of pressure on farmers on how to come up with that quality of food. We need to change our standards of food. Ask yourself how do you choose your own food?
#Third, we should reduce food waste. According to the @FAO 1/3 of the food produced is wasted.
#Fourth, we need to ensure nutritious & good quality food is available & accessible to everyone. Having to produce a lot and in good quality, has put a lot of pressure on farmers & the intensive use of chemicals while we need to think on healthier alternatives for people & planet.
#Fifth, we need efficient policies that ensure we all can have access to good quality and healthy food no matter our socioeconomic status and everywhere. For example, in my hometown, I can get a locally produced lettuce in what we might call organic for 0.25 USD in Oaxaca.
Question 4. How can traditional knowledge be used to achieve food security?
Tania: I love this question! I think #science & #research has undermined the role of #traditionalknowledge in the pursue of #development that we have failed to #ask or #understand how these #indigenouspeoples have been #resilient coping with change & #foodsovereign.
I think #specially with the #climaticcrisis; we learned it was not only about #producing food in high volumes but also on #sustainable alternatives. Many of those are embedded in #tratitionalknowledge.
We can think of #nativeseeds like #nativemaize in Mexico or #potatoes in Peru that are well adapted and not so well explored to marginal conditions of rain, soil fertility, winds, etcetera.
Question 5. Can you highlight the key roles of farmers in achieving food security?
Tania: First, producing our food which already entails a lot. It is a full-time job that we undermine a lot. farmers wake up early morning to work in their fields, crops do not know of holidays, so they have to be fully committed like they were their children!
In the case of indigenous farmers and family farming, they are the keepers of our biodiversity and therefore of life! A huge role!
Second, I think we also blame agriculture and farmers on how much water they use or how much they pollute our planet. However, this is a shared responsibility. In a way, farmers also take care of our planet. I would put them as #heroes & #lifeprotectors!
Question 6. Do you think food security has anything to do with food quality?
Tania: This is an interesting question! It certainly does! We have focused so much in producing a lot, intensifying agriculture but not caring so much on the quality of what we eat and how we produce it.
When I go to my town, I feel safer eating locally produced food that used native seeds & traditional techniques vs when I’m in the city thinking what water was used, what seeds, or chemicals… etcetera. I prefer locally produced food in many ways & especially from small or local farmers. Yes, food security is also about quality of food. In some places processed food is the best option because fresh food or organic food can also be a privilege and expensive.
Question 7. Your thoughts on how COVID-19 has affected food production?
Tania: It varies from one region to other. I think in some regions where crops were ready to be harvested and sent out to bigger cities, farmers are struggling to sell their crops. This is especially for no basic foods/crops and exported fruits from the #globalsouth.
Question 8. How should food insecurity be tackled at this time?
Tania: First, consuming local & sharing. By buying in the local markets, you are supporting your local economy as we all are affected by this crisis. Buy in the little stores near you & if you can produce some veggies in your backyard, do it!
Linked to sharing, be empathetic. Remember some have less economic power than others, do not overbuy food, think someone else also needs food so do not deplete the stores. if you can donate to #foodbanks, do it! We need to support each other more than ever!
Question 9. Any additional information you may want to add?
Tania: It was great to have this conversation with all of you, thank you for inviting me. I hope we keep the conversation in the future, my positives thoughts in this current crisis and I hope we overcome this soon! we are the seeds of the future!
We want to sincerely appreciate Dr. @tania_eulalia for the great #TweetChatWithEdenWorld today. It has been a great time with her. On behalf of everyone @edenworld_org and everyone who followed this chat, we’re sincerely grateful.
We hope to have you join us some other time.