In addition to determining the compatibility of traditional plants, or landrace, diversity and intensified agriculture, Zimmerer also addressed important links between migrant communities and smallholder farms.
"Many of these farmers rely on money sent back home from relatives abroad, primarily in the United States and Spain," he said. "This money is key to the farmers' ability to run successful smallholder farms and grow high agrobiodiversity maize."
The farmers' families tend to become better educated, and local non-profit groups currently supporting food security, health, and agrobiodiversity see the migrants as potential major allies for their projects and policies they advocate, according to Zimmerer.
"Migrants are adept at global and other long-distance opportunities on the one hand, and still well aware of the value of their local agrobiodiversity traditions on the other hand," he said. "The migrant communities also are developing international outlets for these products. For example parched or toasted maize and a kind of popular fermented beverage from Bolivian maize are both readily available in Washington, D.C., and in northern Virginia, where there is a community of 60,000 Bolivians."
In recent years, several prominent summits on ecological concerns have identified biodiversity in agricultural ecosystems as a major sustainability issue with implications for food security, conservation, health and well-being and adaptation to such global concerns as climate change.
"Sustainable development is crucial in Bolivia and other places in hotspots worldwide," Zimmerer said, "since it's these landscapes and peoples' livelihoods there that will ultimately determine the fate of humankind's global centers of biodiversity and agrobiodiversity in particular--unequalled and unique types of many major food plants, as well as minor and increasingly familiar ones. Sustainable development means protecting the future
|Contact: Melissa Beattie-Moss|