The “long table” stretched almost 20 meters. Farmers from the eight villages in the municipality of Pasil, Kalinga gathered in celebration. Men had cut the giant bamboo poles from the nearby forest for the event and lashed them together to make the sturdy serving and eating platform. Banana leaves and split banana tree trunks were gathered and would serve as the plates; rattan baskets as trays and coconut shells as bowls. This is tradition.
Women, gracefully carrying the giant clay pots on their heads, arrive with the dishes of native rice and local vegetables. The Pasil women are renowned for their hand-built, low-fired ceramic clay cooking vessels. The perfect clay is found only in the villages of Dangtalan and Dalupa. Each village brought traditional food, local produce and delicacies to share.
The children had cleaned the area and gathered firewood. Teachers had worked with them on their performance of traditional dances. The program also included farmer leaders and elders sharing their experiences of farming “before”, in words and in ballad songs. After the celebration of local food, there was time to talk with the guests from the Department of Agriculture about farming and their current irrigation and pest problems.
There were many meetings with barangay councils and farmer leaders in order to make this event happen. Participation in the Terra Madre/ Salone del Gusto in Italy and the Indigenous People’s Terra Madre in Sweden have given their leaders new insights about valuing indigenous knowledge, protecting the traditional seeds of the communities, and the value of growing healthy, clean food within the community. As they share these ideas with their neighbors, people are beginning to feel a part of the international movement to protect indigenous rights, traditions, foods and seeds; and that as farmers, they are not alone in their struggles.This 3rd annual Terra Madre event was about a community coming together to celebrate their richness and diversity, honoring the old ways and planning for a sustainable future for the next generation. Farmer said they were proud of what they have accomplished and are working to revive the traditional seeds in the community through gathering and sharing their knowledge on preservation and reproduction.
Pictures and descriptions provided by Rowena and Lam-en Gonnay