Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Indigenous Foodways in the Andes of Peru


This article explores the Quechua peoples’ food systems as seen through a traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) lens and reflects on the vital role of Indigenous peoples’ knowledge for global food security. Data was collected from two Quechua communities, Choquecancha and Rosaspata, in the highlands of Peru, from March 2016 to August 2018. This data was collected via participatory action research, talking circles with female
farmers, oral history interviews with elders, and Indigenous gatherings at chacras with community leaders and local agroecologists. Analysis of this data suggests that Quechua people’s in-depth and locally rooted knowledge concerning food security provides an Indigenous-based theoretical model of food sovereignty for the revitalization of Indigenous foodways and collective rights to food rooted in often under-recognised
aspects of their Indigeneity and TEK.


Indigenous people; food justice; Allin Kawsay/Buen Vivir; Mauri Ora; food sovereignty; Peru; New Zealand

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Published : 2019-06-30

HuambachanoM. (2019). Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Indigenous Foodways in the Andes of Peru. Review of International American Studies, 12(1), 87-110.

Mariaelena Anali Huambachano
University of Wisconsin. Madison  United States

Mariaelena Huambachano (Ph.D) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the department of Civil Society and Community Studies. Mariaelena is an Indigenous scholar who is native of Peru and citizen of New Zealand, whose work stems from both personal and professional interests. She is a food sovereignty and environmental justice advocate and also an active member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Her research focuses on Indigenous transnational comparative studies at the interface between cultural and agrobiodiversity proving a new approach to understand traditional knowledge, biocultural heritage and public policies. Her work can be found in Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems,
The International Journal of Food Studies, The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability. Also, in the volumes on Indigenous spirituality at work: Transforming the Spirit of Business Enterprise edited by Chellie Spiller and Rachel Wolfgramm and in the volume of Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability edited by Gabriel Eweje. She is currently working on a book project entitled Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Sustainability, and Wellbeing and also she is leading an international community-based project entitled “Our Right to Food Sovereignty” with community partners in Aotearoa New Zealand, Peru and the USA.

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