Food for Thought: Ancient Visions and New Experiments of Rural People

This book presents new insights about the knowledge systems of rural people. It goes beyond the technical knowledge embodied in traditional farming, land use and health practices by dealing with their underlying ancient worldviews and cosmovisions. It draws some general conclusions about the holistic nature, strengths and also limitations of these bodies of knowledge and describes how in various countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe some development agencies are supporting rural people and their traditional leaders in carrying out practical experiments based on local concepts. A framework for such on-farm experiments and ideas for a methodology for supporting endogenous development is presented. The contributors neither romanticise traditional knowledge nor reject Western science. Rather they argue that a reciprocal relationship between these sources of knowledge can be beneficial for rural development. Rural people, researchers and development organizations are challenged to look for the sources of knowledge most appropriate to the specific ecological, social and cultural context.