An online resource 

Linking Wild Foods, Biodiversity 

and Forest based Livelihoods: 

Towards an Outlook of Inclusive 

Foods Systems in Asia to 2030

Proceedings and updates from the March 8-12, 2021 Virtual Forum

organized by the Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihoods Network, a SIANI expert group 


Thank you for joining us last March 8-12, 2021

during the virtual forum dedicated to Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihoods!

We are grateful for your participation and contributions during the recently concluded virtual forum on wild foods, biodiversity and forest based livelihoods!

An emerging network on wild foods in Asia: 

Updates on the Virtual Forum

Last March 8-12, 2021, the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) and the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) organized for the first time a virtual forum on wild foods, biodiversity, and forest-based livelihoods with the objective of exploring an outlook towards inclusive food systems in Asia to 2030.

It is the culminating event in a series of discussions carried out online by the Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihoods Network, a SIANI Expert Group. The group works to bridge traditional, ecological and social sciences together with relevant policy arenas to ensure inclusive and impactful decision making in the areas of food security, poverty reduction and sustainable forest management.

The aim of the event was to provide a platform to discuss and reflect on policy and practice recommendations towards an enabling environment for indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) who utilize and manage wild foods. It was also a venue for various stakeholders to interact and engage each other in supporting wild foods initiatives.


There were over 300 attendees who participated in the events coming from the public, private, civil society, research/academe, and indigenous peoples and local communities sector. The forum is an important milestone in strengthening an emerging network on wild foods and traditional food systems in Asia, bringing together interested groups and individuals with a common interest and advocacy on sustainable food systems and wild foods conservation and revitalization.


The main sessions explored during wild foods week were: (1) An outlook on wild foods and inclusive food systems in Asia; (2) The state of wild foods in the region; (3) Regional dialogue on enabling and enriching policy and practice. Meanwhile, side events were also organized, with presentations coming from community chefs, social enterprises, indigenous women and youth, and NTFP-EP and Slow Food networks showcasing wild foods of Asia.


The virtual forum activities were meant to increase awareness, support and recognition on the role of IPLCs and wild foods for food security and community resilience. As was mentioned during the regional dialogue by Giovanni Reyes, president of BUKLURAN, the Philippine ICCA Consortium and himself an indigenous Sagada-born Kankana-ey, "There is no food security without biodiversity, and there is no biodiversity without indigenous people's traditional territories, and without traditional territories, no wild foods." 


A conducive environment that supports biodiversity and enlivens a community of practice on wild foods-based diets and livelihoods is seen as an important prerequisite towards achieving 2030 goals.

The outlook and recommendations that emerged from the forum include, among others:​

  • Revival and strengthening of traditional food systems to sustain livelihoods

  • Provide support for capacity building and enhancement of IPLCs, including entrepreneurial skills development

  • Build up local economies

  • Uphold community consensus and respect community's aspirations

  • Work towards more inclusivity; Let women and youth lead

  • Promote inter-generational learning and increase youth interest in wild food through philosophical and physiological experiences

  • Secure land tenure rights so as to secure biodiversity

  • Forge alliances among stakeholders - government, academe, communities

  • Create spaces for traditional knowledge to be passed on

  • Create of alternative discourses and narratives that make wild food themes visible

  • Adopt a holistic approach to policy work and sustainability

  • Utilize the wild foods network to bridge communities, policy makers, private sector

  • Safeguard IPLC's sovereignty and exercise caution on how wild foods are promoted; understand the risk of too much promotion and hype

  • Explore linkages between wild foods, health, and well-being; Put nutrition back in food systems

  • Prioritize protecting IPLC's rights and health

  • Mainstream biodiversity in the agricultural sector


As the forum concluded, Femy Pinto, Executive Director of NTFP-EP Asia and the Expert Group Leader of the WFBL Network mentioned that while opportunities for wild foods are great, so too are the challenges faced, and some of these gaps that have surfaced may be something a a future network can resolve. "At the end of the day, we aspire for harmony between local knowledge and science, and between policy and practice." She emphasized key takeaways from the dialogue which included "the centrality of communities themselves in actioning their sovereignty, having the agency to own their knowledge on food systems and to voice out their views in policy arenas."


The forum concluded with a message on sustaining communications and partnerships and encouraging one another to continue to build the network forward.

Read the documentation report on the proceedings here. Video recordings and visual summaries from the sessions are also available. Translations are available in for all main sessions, while select translations are available for some side events.

An online resource on wild foods, biodiversity and livelihoods

This website, wildfoodsasia.com, will be turned into an online resource for wild foods. It shall host the recordings from the proceedings and related documentation and reports. It is envisioned as an on-going resource page and shall be updated regularly.

Stay tuned for more posts and other materials from the forum. 

You are welcome to contribute information, research and stories about this theme. If you are interested in being part of this network on wild foods, send us a message at wildfoodsasia@ntfp.org. Together, let us continue to explore the importance of wild foods, biodiversity and forest-based livelihoods and the role that each of us can play towards making our food systems more inclusive and sustainable.




The week-long forum was the culminating event in a series of discussions and dialogues that were carried out online in 2020. During the March 8-12 virtual forum, we continued to explore the important links between wild food and customary tenure rights, traditional food systems and knowledge, biodiversity and community based livelihoods.


About us


The Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihood (WFBL) Network is an Expert Group  supported by the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI).  The group is composed of individuals and organizations from multiple sectors, tied together by a common interest to consolidate knowledge about wild foods  in Asia and its links to food security, poverty reduction and sustainable forest  management.

Note: Translations will be made available in English, Thai, Tagalog, Bahasa, Khmer, Vietnamese and Tamil. Details on available translations will be reflected soon in the session descriptions. 


What we’ve learned so far

Over the course of one year, the WFBL Network was able to consolidate collective insights and learnings based on experiences and expertise of various stakeholders with wild foods. Read on to find out what we’ve learned so far:



What are wild foods?


Wild foods are edible non-timber forest products (NTFPs), usually uncultivated plant species, fungi and animals that are not consciously domesticated but collected from the forests, or on the edges of forests and also on traditional gardens and agricultural lands. They are customarily included in the diet of local communities in different ways or forms. Some examples of wild foods are leaves, seeds and nuts, shoots and stems, root crops, fruits, flowers, fish, meat and insects. 



Situation of wild foods


There is much knowledge about wild foods among indigenous and rural peoples as it forms part of their identity and culture. However, alongside that, we also recognize an overall decline in the knowledge about wild foods, including availability of these food sources. There are various reasons for this vanishing knowledge, some of which are: national policies affecting types of food grown and harvested in different regions, a lack of understanding about the role of wild and traditional food in local diets, changing land use and expansion of monocultures in different countries all over the world.


Sustaining community practice of wild foods is a challenge, especially in the context of economic constraints, lack of time to hunt and forage, and shifts in livelihoods and cultural preferences. Tenure issues such as encroachment and land grabbing, lack of recognition of ancestral territories, and extractive industries also threaten availability and consumption of wild foods and negatively impact biodiversity and community livelihoods. The difficulty in obtaining available data in general on the subject, including information on the nutritive values of wild foods has also been noted. This highlights the need for more time and attention in building a more nuanced profile and understanding of wild food sources and related traditional food systems. 



The way forward

Given the situation, it is important to strengthen and sustain wild foods practice, traditions and knowledge through local and global action. Likewise, the need to establish and publicize the links between food and health should be made a priority. Co-relations between wild foods and access and consumption need to be further examined. As we envision a more inclusive food system, it is important to keep in mind all food ways prevalent in the region – this means including rotational farming, gathering, fishing, trapping, food gardens and cultivation in the conversation. The strengths and vibrancy of these systems should be known better in various local contexts, along with the challenges that are faced. As such, we need to continuously update our work, facilitating learning exchanges and interventions that would contribute to the documentation of the knowledge and status of wild foods, as well as addressing gaps and needs identified from our field work and studies.


Other emerging recommendations from discussions led by the expert group include:


  • Bottom-up/locally-based strategies and solutions to address challenges and sharing these in appropriate and strategic platforms

  • Need for better & stronger messaging, especially when it comes to encouraging engagement of the youth (to counter-message other influences)

  • Nurturing the agency of communities so their voices are heard and they understand the policy arenas that impact their lives

  • Organizing local groups for them to have their own economic identity

  • Forging partnerships and exploring multi-stakeholder and multi-platform avenues for interventions

  • Engaging in future research and action that encourages co-production of knowledge; involving communities and letting them lead these actions

  • Advocacy and protest actions for better policies 

  • Awareness-raising and knowledge transfers across generations

  • Supporting and upholding traditional systems and recognizing their contributions

  • Sustainable farming, aquaculture, wild foods conservation and revitalization

  • Sustainable trade and market engagements

  • Linking our work to post-2020 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)  discussions, climate change, food summits and tenure rights. It is important to include wild foods in the dialogue so it isn’t “missing from the picture”

  • Speaking from a position of strength and affirm indigenous knowledge on environmental management and conservation


With the virtual forum held last March 8-12, 2021 the group again brought the topic of wild foods to the fore, emphasizing the need for linkages and knowledge sharing on the value of wild foods for food security and nutrition. These interactions pointed us towards an outlook of inclusive food systems in Asia to 2030.


Virtual Forum Agenda

(March 8-12, 2021)

Monday, 8 March 2021

Side event:

 3 - 3:30pm Manila time | Wild food voices and stories

Listen to wild food voices and stories and watch on-demand films about forests and food in different parts of Asia! 

Forests are where the wild foods are. Go into the wild through your screen and see for yourself the landscapes where wild foods in Asia can be found. Meet the people who are knowledgeable in traditional food systems. Listen to guardians of forests and learn from their wisdom, especially how they are safeguarding our environment for generations to come. Be inspired by community-led action on social forestry and sustainable livelihoods. Find out how the pandemic is affecting life ways of forest-dependent peoples. Take time to listen to wild voices and stories in this online film festival and resource gallery on forests and food.


Wild food voices and stories will be available on-demand, hosted in the forum’s platform starting March 8, 2021.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

1st Main session:

3 - 5pm Manila time | Opening session: An outlook on wild foods and inclusive food systems in Asia towards 2030

In the opening session, we will hear the voices of experts from different sectors on the importance of wild foods and the roles that indigenous peoples and local communities play in ensuring food security for all. Keynote presentations featuring voices from communities, research and the academe, policy actors and donors will be shared. 


Lightning talks featuring members of the SIANI Expert Group on Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihoods Network will highlight important insights and realizations on being part of an initiative working on the links between wild foods, biodiversity and community-based livelihoods.


  • Welcome and introductions, Femy Pinto, Executive Director of NTFP-EP Asia and WFBL Expert Group Lead 

  • Keynote messages/presentations

    • Esse Nilsson, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Development and Food Security, Swedish International Development Agency (Sida)

    • Teodoro Brawner Baguilat Jr., ICCA Consortium President

    • Maria Teresa Guia-Padilla, NTFP-EP Asia Chair and EG member

  • Lightning talks: Expert group perspectives and insights, WFBL Expert Group members and dialogue partners

    • Dr. Prasert Trakansuphakon, PASD, Thailand

    • Ms. Yun Mane, CIPO - Cambodia

    • Madhu Ramnath, NTFP-EP India

    • Nonette Royo, The Tenure Facility

    • Matthew Fielding, SIANI

    • Dr. Denise Margaret Matias, ISOE

    • Dr. Grace Wong, Stockholm Resilience Centre

    • Maria Rydlund, SSNC

    • Dr. Jeremy Ironside, McKnight Foundation/NTFP-EP

    • Clarissa Arida, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

    • Mathew John, Last Forest Enterprise, India

    • Dr. Ramon Razal, NTFP-EP Asia, University of the Philippines Los Baños i

    • Dr. Hong Truong Luu - Southern Institute of Ecology, Vietnam

    • Gordon John Thomas, PACOS Trust, Malaysia

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Side event:

10:30 -11:30am Manila time | What’s cooking? Discovering Wild Tastes in Asia

Attend this session if you are curious about wild food recipes! On the menu for this session are food stories and cooking demos using natural ingredients from nature’s bounty. Learn how communities prepare and cook wild food, and how chefs living in urban areas are connecting with local producers and highlighting natural, organic ingredients in the dishes they serve. Find out more about community-led and local action on revitalization of wild foods.

Traditional wild food recipes are “tales as old as time”, passed on from generation to generation and forming part of the culture and identity of peoples. Knowledge on these wild tastes encompasses harvest, preparation, conservation and management and has been around since time immemorial. In this session, we will have demonstrations of community-style wild foods cooking as well as fusion cooking with wild food ingredients. Join this event and be inspired by community-led initiatives on revitalization of wild food species.


  • Welcome and introductions

  • Cooking demonstrations and presentations

    • Mrs. Lily Tristiningsih and Nadia Miranti, Slow food Yogyakarta/ Omah Garengpoeng Culinary School, Borobudur Village, Central Java (Indonesia)

    • Charles Toto, Papua Jungle Chef (Indonesia)

    • Chef Kalel Demetrio, Agimat at Ugat Foraging Bar and Kitchen (Philippines)

    • Mr. Songphonsak Ratanawilailak (Mulu) PASD (Thailand)

2nd Main session:

3 - 5pm Manila time | The state of wild foods in South and Southeast Asia

Part of the work carried out by the WFBL Expert Group is the production of research papers and case studies on the situation of wild foods in Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Country paper leads will be presenting their findings on wild food challenges and concerns, best practices and recommendations towards better and more inclusive food systems in Asia. Updates from other countries in the region will also be shared. Presentations will be followed by comments from a panel of invited reactors from the different countries, along with an interactive plenary discussion and Q&A.


  • Introductions and background

  • Country paper and case study presentations:

    • Wild Foods: Practices and Policies on Food Security and Resource Management in India, Madhu Ramnath, Country Coordinator of NTFP-EP India

    • Role of Wild Foods for the Food Security of Kreung’s Indigenous people, Chuy village, Ta Veng Leu commune, Ratanakiri province, Ratanakiri province, CHHOENG Soviriya, NTFP-EP Cambodia

    • Vietnamese Paper on Wild Food: Practices and Policies on Food Security and Resources, Dr. Luu Hong Truong, Director at the Southern Institute of Ecology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology

    • Food Uniformity and its Implication towards National Food Security, Jusupta Tarigan, Executive Director of NTFP-EP Indonesia/ Ahmad Arif/ Ayip Abdullah

    • The State of Wild Foods in the Philippines, Giovanni Reyes, President of BUKLURAN Philippine ICCA Consortium and Datu Benny Cumatang, Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR), Agtulawon Mintapod Higaunon Cumadon (AGMIHICU)

    • The State of Wild Foods in the Philippines, Giovanni Reyes, President of BUKLURAN Philippine ICCA Consortium

  • Panel reactions and interactive discussion/Q&A

  • Updates from other countries in the region from partners

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Side event:

10:30 - 11:30am Manila time | Conversations with women and youth food heroes

An exclusive session with indigenous women and youth in Asia on food security and current realities

It takes a village to ensure food security and women and youth are at the forefront, leading the way. In this exclusive session, we will have candid conversations with women and girls about their experiences in foraging food from the wild and cultivating food through traditional ways. We will learn from local food heroes themselves about gender roles in food collection and preparation and ask if these roles and practices have changed over time, and in what ways. In this open space for women and girls, we will delve deep into the current realities of food security in their local contexts and ask them what their hopes and dreams are towards a more food secure future.


  • Opening and introductions, Grant Barraquias, NTFP-EP Asia

  • Keynote presentations:

    • Sefa Tauli, Global Youth Biodiversity Network Steering Committee member and ICCA Consortium Youth Group co-chair

    • Coleen Sumonda, Higaonon youth, SAIA-HTC, Bukidnon (Philippines) 

    • Irene Mositol, partner of PACOS Trust (Malaysia)

    • Pramasty Ayu Koes Dinar, AKAR Foundation; GAGGA partner (Indonesia)

    • Susiliwati, Sungai Tohor, Indonesia

  • Open Forum, moderated by Tes Matibag, NTFP-EP Asia and Merry Tobing, NTFP-EP Indonesia

  • Synthesis and Closing, NTFP-EP Asia

3rd Main session:

3 - 5pm Manila time | Regional dialogue on wild foods, biodiversity and livelihoods: Enabling and enriching policy and practice

Linking wild foods, biodiversity and livelihoods is not possible without cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders. In this regional dialogue on policy and practice, presentations and messages from local communities as well as national and regional actors will be lined up, followed by a roundtable discussion on an agenda for policy and action for wild foods in Asia. Discussions will revolve around reflections on the regional situation of wild foods across the region and areas for synergy towards an enabling environment that would support the transformation of our food systems into a more sustainable and inclusive one.


  • Welcome to Participants and Overview of the Session 

    • Moderator: Dazzle Labapis, – NTFP-EP​

  • Opening Remarks and Keynotes

    • Dr. Ramon Razal, NTFP-EP Asia, University of the Philippines Los Baños i

    • Madeleine Fogde, SIANI

    • Giovanni Reyes, Philippines ICCA Consortium

  • Regional outlook about Inclusive Food Systems in Asia – with a perspective about Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihood  - what have we learned and our collective recommendations

    • Madhu Ramnath, NTFP-EP India

  • Feature Presentation on Indigenous led education and action: 

    • food festivals, mobile field school and initiatives on cultural revival, and strengthening identity and agency

      • Melvin Guilleno, SPNKK -Sentrong Pagpapalakas ng Negritong Kultura at Kalikasan (Philippines) 

    • Q & A and Reactions from EG/DP, other Speakers and Participants

  • Dialogue 1:

    • Interventions on tenure security and IPLC rights, biodiversity protection, and food security and nutrition – relevance to WFBL

      • Nonette Royo, The Tenure Facility

      • Dir. Theresa Mundita Lim, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

      • Dr. Mulia Nurhasan, CIFOR

      • Moderator – Crissy Guerrero, NTFP-EP

    • Q & A and Reactions – with EG/DP and Participants

  • ​Dialogue 2:

    • Enabling Environment for Wild Foods, Biodiversity and Livelihood in Asia through cross-sectoral and integration frameworks and policy

    • Q & A and Reactions from EG/DP

      • Dr. Dian Sukmajaya, ASEAN Secretariat/Food, Agriculture & Forestry Division

      • Mr. Abdelkarim Sma, IFAD Asia-Pacific

      • Ma Estrella “Esther” Penunia, Secretary General, Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)

      • Moderator – Femy Pinto, NTFP-EP

  • Synthesis and Closing, EG/WFBL Network

    • EG / WFBL Network

Friday, 12 March 2021

Side event:

 3 - 5:00 pm Manila time | Slow and sustainable: the future of food

A pioneering partnership with Slow Food networks in Indonesia, the Philippines and India with wild foods in the spotlight.

Learn what Slow Food is and what the Slow Food and NTFP -EP networks in Asia are all about. This session connects slow food advocates and food artisans to learn from each other’s experiences in safeguarding, raising awareness and promoting wild foods from smallholder farmers and gatherers, indigenous peoples and local communities especially in this new normal. This session features presentations, videos, interviews about the work of the Slow Food network and partners in Asia, highlighting wild foods and their links to culture and biodiversity in urban and rural settings in at least 3 countries in Asia. Discover best practices and lessons towards a more sustainable way of producing, marketing and consuming good clean and fair food.


  • Welcome Remarks, Femy Pinto, NTFP-EP Asia

  • Opening remarks, Dai Kitabayashi, Member of the Slow Food Indigenous Advisory Board

  • Session introduction, Crissy Guerrero, NTFP-EP Asia

  • Presentations from the Philippines


    • Negros – Batuan (SF initiative - Ark of Taste) – video and short commentary on other Wild Foods in Negros, Ramon “Chinchin” Uy, Jr.   - Slow Food Community of Negros Island 

    • Palawan and other parts of the Philippines – Fruits, spices and others (NTFP-EP initiatives), John Vincent “Toto” Colili, Brooke’s Point, Palawan

  • Presentations from Indonesia

    • Wild foods of the Krayan highlands (Kalimantan): fruits, spices, edible flowers – video and presentation, Slow Food community Krayan

    • PARARA Indonesian Ethical Store as an example of how wild foods are being used in new recipes Short video and slide show, Theophila “Tami” Aris Praptami - PARARA Indonesia Ethical Store / Slow Food Community PARARA Harvest of the Archipelago 

  • Presentation from India

    • Examples of Wild Foods by a Slow Food Convivium Nilgiris in Southern India, Pavitra Vasudevan, Keystone Foundation

  • Open Forum and sharing of inputs, moderated by Jusupta Tarigan, NTFP-EP Indonesia

  • Synthesis /Recommendations and closing for future networking among NTFP-EP/SF communities in Asia and Closing, Diana San Jose, NTFP-EP Asia

Featured Speakers


Wild food voices and stories

Film festival

Watch on-demand films on forests and food starting March 8, 2021.

What are Wild Foods

A short animated explainer of the definition of wild foods and its vital role to play in the present issues on food security. 

NTFP-EP, SIANI (2020) 2:43m

Covid 19 Narratives, Vietnam & Philippines

Narratives from communities relying on, collecting, harvesting food from the forest in the time of the Covid 19 pandemic.

NTFP-EP, PanNature, CSDM, Ayta Magbukon, BUKLURAN Philippine ICCA Consortium. (2020)

Covid 19 Narratives, Cambodia

Narratives from communities relying on, collecting and harvesting food from the forest in the time of the Covid 19 pandemic.

NTFP-EP, Conserve Indigenous Peoples Language (CIPL) Organization Cambodia (2020)

In a Different Light: The Karen Rotational Farming Story

Rotational farming, also called shifting cultivation or swidden agriculture by some, is one of the most misunderstood systems of land use. Many ASEAN countries have laws criminalizing or banning the practice, but for indigenous peoples, rotational farming is a sustainable practice closely interlinked into their lives and culture. NTFP-EP and PASD Thailand present a short film on how the Karen indigenous peoples in northern Thailand practice rotational farming. It explores how rotational farming has helped them provide for their food security, while also contributing to the sustainable management of their forest ecosystems.  


NTFP-EP, PASD (2021), 11:40m

Forest Food Field School in Addukam:  Resource Centre and Wild Food Gardens

Up in the small village of Adukkam in the Palni Hills of the Western Ghats in India, lies a resource centre created to revive and rejuvenate the local knowledge on wild foods. Madhu Ramnath takes us on a journey in identifying a number of edible plants in the area - from tubers to leafy vegetables, and much more. Along the way, he highlights the work of the resource centre on the field of wild foods and related matters of community conservation. 


NTFP-EP India (2020), 5:50m

The Punan Adiu:  Learning From the Aren River, Malinau, North Kalimantan

In this video, we will see a series of activities of the young generation of the Punan Adiu tribe in Malinau, North Kalimantan, Indonesia, in recognizing local food sources that are available for free in their traditional forests. Accompanied by a field teacher who is experienced in identifying food sources available in their traditional forests, it is seen that the cheerfulness of these young people absorbs the knowledge explained by their field teacher.


NTFP-EP Indonesia

Available in Bahasa Indonesia and English


In English, an abridged version (4:53m)

Bahasa Indonesia, full-length  (6:45m)

Keeping it Flowing: The Pala’wan Almaciga Story

Many indigenous communities inhabit and care for the last high biodiversity forests on Earth. Palawan island, known as the Philippines’s last frontier, is home to the Palaw’an indigenous group. The Palaw’an residing in Amas village in the municipality of Brooke’s Point, Palawan exemplify the inextricable link between culture and ecology. 


NTFP-EP, Samahan ng mga Palawano sa Amas Brooke’s Point Multipurpose Cooperative (SPABP)

2018, 8:27m

People & Forests Slideshow

Humanity is nurtured by nature. In turn, humans have the responsibility to use nature sustainably.  Here are some of the faces of the people at the frontlines, whose lives are interlocked with the forests rhythm. Faces and scenes in harmony with and benefiting from the bounty of the forest. 


NTFP-EP (2015) 4:02m

Salween Peace Park and Food Sovereignty during Covid 19

In the Salween Peace Park, strong Indigenous governance and food sovereignty has been imperative in communities’ effective response to the current pandemic. Practicing traditional knowledge about the ‘use’ of natural resources through diverse agricultural systems and the ‘care’, through ecological conservation, is key to the Karen peoples’ food systems. Having biodiversity in their diverse agricultural systems helps them mitigate, adapt and survive natural disasters. Diversity is strength.


Salween Peace Park, Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)  (2020) 8:15m

Living with Forest and Having Healthy Food

Local Karen communities live together with nature as their livelihoods rely on resources obtained from the natural environment. To maintain and protect the sustainability of these natural resources, local Karen people use customary knowledge and practices passed down from their ancestors.


The local people from Yaw Meh Klo Area, Karen State, held a Traditional Cooking Event on August 25th 2020. The cooking event focused on utilizing resources obtained from the local environment such as vegetables, fish, shrimp and livestock reared at home to strengthen the connection between their livelihoods, culture and the environment. This event will play an important role in reminding and teaching the youth about Karen traditional cooking techniques so they are prepared to pass these practices on to future generations. 


We all know that the forest provides basic food needs, so that it is vital for us to protect and conserve it. However, some people still think that protecting and conserving natural resources and the forest is not our job – it is someone else’s job. Actually, it is everyone’s responsibility to do this. 


Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)  (2020) 5:32m

Strengthening Livelihoods and Protecting the Environment

Rice is a staple food for Indigenous Karen people in Mutraw District, Karen State, Kawthoolei. Living in a mountainous region, the majority of people practice upland rotational farming. The impacts of climate change on regional weather have caused rice production to decline in some years.  To overcome these challenges and increase food security, KESAN worked with communities to establish rice bank projects to strengthen community livelihoods alongside with nature conservation. 


Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)  (2021) 7:59m