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Traditional farming and the Mediterranean diet

September 10, 2016 Leave a comment

The Mediterranean diet is described by the UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity website (http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/00884) as encompassing more than just food of the various cultures. These diets are embedded in bio-cultural landscapes that are at risk from global markets, industrial agriculture, invasive species and climate change, and yet little research aimed at conserving this Mediterranean agricultural heritage is being conducted. A focus on preserving traditional Mediterranean agricultural systems provides unique opportunities to link UNESCO-SCBD’s Joint Programme on Biological and Cultural Diversity (http://www.cbd.int/lbcd/​) and FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems initiative (GIAHS, http://www.fao.org/giahs/) with the goal of developing strategies and policy to preserve this heritage and the food production systems that are its basis for future generations. An important step in this direction is the development of holistic ecosystem-level assessments of the stability and resilience of traditional Mediterranean farming systems to evolving global change including climate change and shifting economic patterns and associated landscape transformations. A holistic approach is an important step to ensure ecologically sustainable development, conserve cultural identities, improve farming community livelihood, preserve agro-biodiversity and ensure the continued provision of vital ecosystem services for humanity.

Ponti L., Gutierrez A.P., Altieri M.A., 2016. Preserving the Mediterranean diet through holistic strategies for the conservation of traditional farming systems. In: Agnoletti M., Emanueli F. (eds.), Biocultural Diversity in Europe, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland: 453-469. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-26315-1_24

Linking UNESCO-SCBD’s Joint Programme on Biological and Cultural Diversity and FAO’s GIAHS initiative may help preserve the traditional Mediterranean agricultural heritage.

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