In an organic garden near Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna

UBCO prof to advocate for sustainable agriculture at global conference

Tirso Gonzales to attend international conference Nov. 3 to 7 in Shillong, India.

For Tirso Gonzales, an associate professor at UBC Okanagan, the problems with the western world’s way of farming are clear.

Current practices such as monocropping, pesticide use, and only using a select group of plant species are solely profit driven and unsustainable.

These practices have largely ignored agricultural knowledge of more than 1.2 billion indigenous people and small farmers around the world, knowledge that will be the topic of discussion when Gonzales attends the second Indigenous Terra Madre (Mother Earth), a world conference on the subject in Shillong, India next week.

Running from Nov. 3 to 7, the Terra Madre will see indigenous representatives from around the globe attend, and will include discussions, workshops and solution seeking sessions on how indigenous agricultural knowledge systems can be better used in local communities as well as on the world stage.

“The dominant Euro-American view of food production is colonial in nature and has fundamentally ignored and disavowed the sustainable agricultural practices employed by indigenous peoples for thousands of years,” said Gonzales, who teaches Indigenous Studies with UBC Okanagan’s Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences.

“This is actually part of a larger issue that sees the dominant Western view of the world overshadow experiences of other cultural groups, many of whom possess the knowledge necessary to help address some of the world’s most pressing issues.”

Gonzales’ work is well known in indigenous and non-indigenous academic and intellectual circles. A former Fullbright scholar with a PhD in sociology, Gonzales has conducted research on behalf of the World Bank and United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.

His work examined how science, technology, and indigenous knowledge systems can be used to reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods, and environmental resilience, and also promote efficient ways of producing food while at the same time demonstrating care for the environment, societies, and economies.

“India is just one step in my journey, I am travelling light these days,” said Gonzales, who has dedicated his career to the study of Latin American Indigenous Studies, an area of study that remains largely unrecognized, misunderstood, and unfunded in academic communities across the western world.

In many indigenous areas of study, in particular Latin American Indigenous Studies, history and academic knowledge seeking is selective and approached with a Euro-American view as opposed to a decolonial view from those, like Gonzales who comes from the Peruvian Andes and is related to the Aymara people, whose ancestors lived that history.

“The physical presence of colonial powers of old Europe has actually disappeared, but their legacy —coloniality of knowledge — in the way the world thinks, acts, and what it values remains. Coloniality is not over. It’s all over,” said Gonzales.

“We have moved on from a Eurocentric view of the world to a Euro-American view. This is the prime reason why we are still effectively ignoring the experiences of millions of people whose place-based knowledge, history and experience will be integral in solving many of the world’s problems.”


Just Posted

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

Reworked plan for Kelowna’s Green Square development approved

After rejecting first version of residential development expansion, council says yes to new plan

Police searching for GoPro owner

Police are looking for the owner of a GoPro seized by police in Kelowna

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Two types of civic engagement in PIB

Some voted in the byelection, others protested the polls, as Penticton Indian Band fissures continue

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

B.C. to reimburse methadone patients for taking clinic fees off welfare cheques

Provincial government agrees to pay back more than $5.5 million in deducted fees

Locket and brooch turned into RCMP

Kelowna - locket has been engraved with an undisclosed name

Most Read