5 Food Systems Lessons the U.S. Can Learn from Africa | Civil Eats
“Food is the most important choice we make in our lives,” says Yimer. “We have our own way of celebrating and living in Africa. We are rich enough to live sustainably…as free people.”
Yimer explains that food sovereignty is importantly about who people are, about identity and rights. On the African continent, local production and agricultural biodiversity are closely linked to food choices, which have been shaped by the colonial history of Africa. Occupation by Europeans over the centuries has contributed to changes in the basic diet across much of the subcontinent to favor corn. But Africans are seeing the value and reclaiming basic indigenous crops–millet, sorghum, bananas, manioc, beans and peas, and yams–which are more drought resistant and nutritious.
From what Yimer has experienced of U.S. food system, he doesn’t thinks people are free in their food choices. Farmers are told what to produce by a government aligned with companies and people are told what to eat by marketers, as he sees it.
“We [in Africa] choose what to produce, what to eat, what’s culturally appropriate and sustainable,” he explains. “It doesn’t have to be McDonald’s everywhere.”