Agrobiodiversity in the Andes is exceptionally rich in species and varieties of global importance for food and health. More than 50 species including roots, tubers, grains, pulses, fruits and other types of edible plants were domesticated in the Andean region. However, most are excluded from our food systems and some are at risk of being permanently lost. Land-use changes, globalization of the modern diet and climate pressures challenge the future of agrobiodiversity, human well-being and our planet.
The current COVID-19 crisis is a sobering reminder of the urgent need to redesign food systems that serve and sustain biodiversity, people and the planet. In this webinar, we examine the achievements, challenges and new opportunities toward development that is socially inclusive and sustainable from the lens of bioeconomy for agrobiodiversity conservation and healthy diets. We address such questions as: What is needed to transcend the gaps in agrobiodiversity conservation and utilization? What innovations support the transition to food systems that foster rather than undermine the bounty of agrobiodiversity in the Andes?
In this webinar, the International Potato Center’s Andean Initiative brings together experts from academia, the public and private sectors with complementary perspectives on nutrition, sustainable and healthy diets, and differential market systems. Drawing from Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and the United States, the panelists will present on lessons learned and new, emerging pathways from the Andean farm to the table.
To foster the exchange of scientific knowledge and showcase tailor-made examples of development with Andean agrobiodiversity, highlighting its contribution to human nutrition, food systems for healthy diets, and potential of developing inclusive and sustainable bioeconomies in the Andean region.
Issues to be discussed
- Nexus of nutrition and agrobiodiversity in the Andes
- Development of socially inclusive bioeconomies with unique agrobiodiversity
- Perspectives and experiences toward sustainable food systems
- Challenges and opportunities from the Andean farm to the table in a post-pandemic world
Alejandra is an ecologist (BSc) and agroecologist (MA, PhD) who grew up in Peru, Belgium, and the United States. She pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her graduate studies at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Antioquia-Medellin. She has more than 10 years of cross-cultural and multidisciplinary experience in diverse contexts of smallholder agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean, from Cuba, Haiti and Honduras in Central America to Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Peru in South America. Her most recent and full immersion stay in Peru’s central Andes deepened her interest and fascination with the vast array of agrobiodiversity’s expressions on the field and uses in local food systems. In 2019, Alejandra joined the International Potato Center’s Andean Initiative team as Associate Scientist in Agrobiodiversity, where she looks to contribute to scientific innovation with people and for nature.
Associate Scientist in Agrobiodiversity
Cristina is an agronomist with an MSc. in Agricultural Production, specializing in Agribusiness. She is Senior Research Associate at the International Potato Center, member of the Andean Initiative team and the Division of Social Sciences and Nutrition. She has 30 years of experience in research and development in potato-based Andean agri-food systems, specifically: food security and nutrition, biodiversity, political advocacy, value chains and climate change. Her work focuses on socio-economic studies and the management and implementation of innovation projects financed by international cooperation in the Andean region. Her nationwide contributions include the development and dissemination of participatory methodologies aimed at strengthening the technological and commercial capacities of small producers, the revaluation of native potatoes, and the quality of life of high-Andean producers. Cristina has also contributed to the generation of the Competition Standards of the Potato Producer to expand the agricultural extension of the country, the Peruvian Technical Standards of the potato and its derivatives, to boost its commercial development and consumption, and has more than 40 publications.
Senior Research Associate
Andean Initiative, CIP-LAC
Andy Jones is a public health nutritionist interested in understanding how food systems influence climate change and healthy diets. He has led numerous research initiatives throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. Andy is currently Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. He received his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, and holds BA degrees from the Pennsylvania State University in Geography and Film.
Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences
University of Michigan, United States
Michelle O. Fried, an ecological public health nutritionist and an advocate for the nutritional value of the traditional food and ingredients of Ecuador and the Andes. She is the author of the classic cookbook, Comidas del Ecuador: recetas tradicionales para la gente de hoy, which has sold over 50,000 copies and a second cookbook, Un mundo de comida con los ingredientes del Ecuador. She shares a way to eat, cook, and live that is delicious and healthy for you and for the planet.
MICHELLE O. FRIED
Public Health Nutritionist
Sustainable Cookbook Writer, Global Forum on Food and Nutrition Security (FAO)
Slow Food, Ecuador
Marcelo Collao is a Bolivian agronomist with an MBA in International Marketing from Germany. He has more than 25 years of experience in rural development projects, rural financial services, marketing and entrepreneurial development services, sustainable food systems and territorial development. He is an expert in project cycle management and has ample experience with the international donor community. Marcelo is lecturer in master’s degree programs at the national and international level and speaks four languages fluently.
Regional Officer, Sustainable Foods Program
Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (HIVOS) Bolivia
Juan Carlos Quispe Ledesma is Provincial Mayor of the central Andean city of Huancayo, Junin region, Peru. He leads the Food Supplementation Program for preschools in Huancayo, which strengthens the diets of thousands of children with organic, fresh fruits and vegetables directly purchased from the region’s agroecological farmers. The program seeks to foster children’s health while supporting local development. During the mayor’s term, in 2019, the Provincial Municipality of Huancayo joined the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, thus becoming the only Peruvian city in the Andes to be part of this international agreement amongst cities across the world, all working toward sustainable, safe, inclusive and diversified food systems. Juan Carlos Quispe’s background includes military service with the Navy of Peru. After his service, he pursued a career in business management. He has always held an interest in the agricultural-rural development of the Mantaro Valley, leading him to develop diverse initiatives that strengthen this important sector which in the current pandemic requires the government’s undivided attention.
JUAN CARLOS QUISPE LEDESMA
Provincial Mayor of Huancayo, Peru