US

WHO WE ARE

We are a group whose work centres around the recognition, promotion, and dissemination of knowledge relating to traditional food systems, seed autonomy, traditional agricultural systems, and local food economies.

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We give support to leaders, peoples, communities, organisations, and indigenous movements which keep traditional knowledge alive.

THE TEAM

Karen Swift

Co-coordinator of the SOUTHERN REGION

Karen Swift is an activist, coordinator, and lawyer based in Ecuador. Her work focuses on the defence of land, seeds, and food sovereignty. For the last decade she has worked to bring about food sovereignty, agroecology and reforms in the food system. She has also managed to secure rights for indigenous territories. These achievements have been facilitated through a combination of political campaigns, conferences, and workshops.

Calfín Lafkenche

Co-coordinator of the SOUTHERN REGION

Calfín Lafkenche is Mapuche, coming from the community of Francisca Lienlaf Viuda de Calfin in the Tolten commune of Araucania, in the south of Chile. His work has won him recognition locally, nationally and internationally. He provides technical assistance to indigenous leaders and authorities, participating in the production and presentation of human rights reports, working with both national institutions and international bodies alike.

Berenice Sánchez

Co-coordinator of the REGION of Mexico and CENTRAL AMERICA

Berenice Sánchez, an indigenous Nahua-Otomi woman from the state of Mexico, Mexico, works to defend the rights of indigenous peoples. She has participated in, presented, and organised tens of conferences, as well as national, regional, and international workshops. These conferences and workshops have focussed on issues including the rights of indigenous peoples to autonomy, self determination, and food sovereignty. She has been nominated by a number of organisations to participate in United Nations conferences about the climate and biodiversity, amongst other topics. She has participated in national and international campaigns to recognise and respect the territorial rights of indigenous people confronted by megaprojects in the extractive sector. From 2013 to 2015 she played a role in representing the autonomous governance of her town, San Francisco Magú (in the state of Mexico), a period in which she took up the fight to defend the town’s territory and autonomy in the face of a property development megaproject.

Tezozomoc

Co-coordinator of the NORTHERN REGION - the United States

Tezozomoc has worked with South Central Farmers for more than 13 years. His work focuses on agricultural cooperatives and traditional farming practices. He is a lecturer and seasoned educator, and works to promote the idea of cooperatives. He also helps other cooperatives in their efforts, advising them on how to avoid common pitfalls and maximise their success. He works for more than ten organisations around Los Angeles, as well as with numerous organisations of indigenous peoples around the American continent. He is a board member Acequia Institute, an organisation which promotes social justice for indigenous people. Tezozomoc is president of the South Central Farmers Health and Education Fund (SCFHEF), a non-profit organisation with the mission of helping farmers’ cooperatives with their education and labour.

Kaylena Bray

Co-coordinator of the NORTHERN REGION - the United States

Kaylena Bray (Haudenosaunee) is a member of the Seneca Nation (U.S.). She has a B.A. from Brown University, as well as an MSc from the University of Oxford. She has worked for Ashoka in their social and communication entrepreneurship camps, and has co-facilitated exchanges, symposia, and multimedia launches for organisations such as ‘Conversaciones con la Tierra’, ‘Evaluación del Cambio Climático de los Pueblos Indígenas’, and ‘The Cultural Conservancy’. Assuming these roles, she has been involved in exchanges, symposia, and multimedia initiatives. She has also participated in various United Nations meetings about climate change, with the aim of strengthening the vital links between food, local economies, and biodiversity management. Her career has concentrated on promoting the role of indigenous knowledge. In particular, she has focussed on the growth of networks led by indigenous leaders, with the goal of revitalising practices of seed-saving, traditional agriculture, and land management, as well as cultural wisdoms concerning stories, songs, recipes, and practices which encompass traditional foods.

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