How Can We Cultivate Abriculture in Our Communities?


Thanks to a link from @NatGeoGreen, I discovered an article entitled ‘Abriculture’ Using Forests to Feed Indigenous Peoples and Fight Climate Change that bears some relation to the perspective of schools as ecosystems:

“Our goal is to make bush foods more accessible to local people,” said Jenny Lynch, the Abriculture Development Officer here in Cairns. The term “abriculture” is an amalgam of the words aboriginal and agriculture. 

Easier access to bush foods will improve the health of local people. It is also a key component of transferring traditional knowledge from elders to younger generations, Lynch said at a Climate Change in Australia workshop.

The Western or conventional form of agriculture and food production is amongst the largest sources of climate-altering greenhouse gases – more than 20% globally according the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Agriculture is Australia’s second largest source of emissions behind the energy sector.

Abriculture is like permaculture where nature does all the work of growing food as long as people understand and respect nature’s complex interconnections. If you take a yam from the forest then you plant one in the same place, said Fourmile.

Bush foods have become difficult to obtain but they contain high levels of vitamins and other nutrients, said Lynch  By looking after the forest, local people also maintain its ability to take carbon from the atmosphere and preserve or even enhance forest biodiversity. [Bold added]

I love this concept of valuing local community knowledge and seeking to invest in local capacity in order to utilize that expertise to build healthier, more sustainable communities.  A major problem with current education reform approaches is that the knowledge of those who work and live within the communities that are most disadvantaged tends to be devalued. Schools are razed, even in the face of community outrage and protest.

It also makes me think more about the idea of the Global Learning Village (introduced in my last post), and about how we can expand our vision of what a school can be, and how it might become more inclusive of adult learners. How can we recognize, value, and leverage the knowledge and expertise already embedded within a community?

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