How colonialist depictions of Palestinians feed western ideas of eastern ‘barbarism’

How colonialist depictions of Palestinians feed western ideas of eastern ‘barbarism’

Elizabeth Vibert, University of Victoria

Like so many other Palestinians, my friend Abeer Salah (not her real name) lives in exile. For Salah, home is Baqa’a refugee camp 20 kilometres north of Jordan’s capital of Amman. But she has family and friends trapped in Gaza. Since the horrific Hamas attacks of Oct. 7 and Israel’s catastrophic military action in Gaza, she has been watching the news and social media closely.

Recently, Salah shared a video clip of Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, holding up a brick to show how “terrorist” Palestinians throw them at soldiers and settlers. The clip, recorded last year, has been circulating again.

To my friend, this clip illustrates how western governments and media have long tended to depict Palestinians as backward and prone to violence.

“This man is trying to show that Palestinians are a barbaric people,” Salah said. “They defend their land and their people with stones. They’re backward. Meanwhile, Israelis have tanks.”

As a historian who studies colonial pasts I understand what Salah is saying. The dismissal of Palestinians as “barbaric” or somehow less human is rooted in a long history of colonizing narratives, including views of Indigenous lands and peoples as “uncivilized.”

For the past five years, I have been working on an oral history research project and documentary film with Palestinian refugees in Baqa’a Camp. The film, made by a team including consulting producer Salam Barakat Guenette, explores how families and communities keep their food culture alive in exile. It offers a striking counter narrative to the stereotypes often levelled at Palestinians.

A teaser of the film Elizabeth Vibert is working on with Salam Barakat Guenette, Chen Wang, and a mainly Palestinian crew.

Colonial claims: ‘savage’ and ‘barbaric’

In his classic 1978 book Orientalism, Palestinian-American literary scholar Edward Said explained how British colonizers wielded the “power to narrate” as they cast their eyes, administrators and armies across the lands of “the East.”

Said, whose study focused on depictions of West Asia and North Africa (Europe’s “Middle East”), showed how the “absolute demarcation between East and West” was centuries in the making. By the 18th century, the binary of East versus West or “us” versus “them” had grown into a vast archive of western-produced “knowledge.” The relationship was cemented in the West as “superior” versus “inferior,” “civilized” versus “uncivilized,” “rational” versus “depraved” in all arenas of life: politics, culture, religion.

Psychologists and biologists have shown that “us” versus “them” binaries may be a nearly universal human impulse. Such binaries become consequential when they harden into pernicious and violent racism, and are used to justify the taking of land, homes, food systems, water and lives.

Classifying societies by ‘stages’ of civilization

By the mid-1700s, the great thinkers of the Enlightenment in Scotland, England and France were fine-tuning “four stages” theories to classify human societies according to imagined “stages of civilization.”

In most such schemes, hunting-gathering was placed at the bottom (“savage”) stage, followed by pastoralism (shepherding etc., often labeled “barbarism”), agriculture (emerging “civilization”), and at the apex, European commercial society. Unsurprisingly, Enlightenment writers placed themselves at the “apex.”

People inhabiting lands sought for colonization were often described as “wasting” land, having “backward” food production practices and being in need of “civilization” — all according to western definitions.

Beginning in the late 19th century, Zionists who initiated the nationalist project for Israel, in a land both peoples considered their ancestral home, gave little thought to the Palestinians. Zionists were deeply informed by scornful views of small-scale farming and sheep-herding societies. And British administrators during the Mandate period (1920-1948) took a similarly dim view of much Arab agriculture.

‘A land without a people’

Palestinians were resisting colonial designs on their lands even before the British issued the infamous Balfour Declaration of 1917 — a document that in a short paragraph promised Jewish people a “national home” in Palestine, so long as they did nothing to “prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

This was breathtakingly dehumanizing language for the “existing non-Jewish communities” — the Palestinian Muslims and Christians who were then more than 90 per cent of the population. Historian Rashid Khalidi argues that Palestinians viewed the Balfour Declaration as “a proclamation of war on them.” It marked the start of “a century-long colonial conflict in Palestine,” a conflict in which Britain, the United States and other outside powers have played key roles.

Zionist leaders’ claims about “a land without a people for a people without a land”, then, fit within a larger narrative that erased Palestinians and dismissed traditional Palestinian stewardship of the land.

The Zionist project to “make the desert bloom” was based, in part, on damaging misunderstandings of Arab dryland wheat and baʿlī farming systems. Baʿlī planting, tillage and plant protection methods, as demonstrated by Palestinian geographer Omar Tesdell, facilitate growing crops without irrigation. These agro-ecological practices are at once resilient and dynamic, and have much to teach farmers in increasingly drought-prone regions.

Intense threats to land

For years, farmers in the Palestinian territories have faced intense threats to their land and livelihoods. For instance, farms and gardens in Gaza, adapted across generations to challenging local conditions, were often targeted in military operations. In the midst of Israel’s catastrophic air and ground war on Gaza’s people, it is hard to conceive of a future for their local food systems.

In the West Bank, Israel’s eight-metre-high separation wall and encroaching Jewish settlements have systematically cut off many Palestinian farmers from their olive groves and other lands. With all eyes now on Gaza, settler violence on Palestinian lands has intensified.

As we have seen throughout history, dehumanization can have tragic and devastating impacts on people and land. Nearly half a century ago Edward Said asked a poignant question: Can we continue to divide humans into stark categories of “us” versus “them” and survive the consequences humanely? The Conversation

Elizabeth Vibert, Professor of Colonial History, University of Victoria

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Palestine was never a ‘land without a people’

Palestine was never a ‘land without a people’

Ateqah Khaki, The Conversation and Vinita Srivastava, The Conversation

Modern settlers to Palestine viewed the desert as something they needed to “make bloom.” But it already was, thanks to the long history of Palestinian agricultural systems.

As violence continues to erupt in Gaza, and more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7 remain missing, many of us are seeking to better understand the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been raging for decades.

Some of us assume that the violence between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians — a majority of whom are Muslim — is a religious conflict, but a closer look at the history of the last century reveals that the root of the tension between the two communities is more complicated than that.

At its root, it’s a conflict between two communities that claim the right to the same land. For millions of Palestinians, it’s about displacement from that land.

Land has so much meaning. It’s more than territory; it represents home, your ancestral connection and culture — but also the means to feed yourself and your country.

One of the things that colonizers are famous for is the idea of terra nullius – that the land is empty of people before they come to occupy it.

In the case of Palestine, the Jewish settlers in 1948, and the British before that, viewed the desert as empty — something they needed to “make bloom.”

But the land was already blooming. There is a long history of Palestinian connection to the land, including through agricultural systems and a rich food culture that is often overlooked by colonial powers.

Our guests on this week’s episode of Don’t Call Me Resilient have been working on a film about the importance of preserving Palestinian agriculture and food in exile.

Elizabeth Vibert is a professor of colonial history at University of Victoria. She has been doing oral history research to examine historical and contemporary causes of food crises in various settings, including Palestinian refugees in Jordan.

Salam Guenette is the consulting producer and cultural and language translator for their documentary project. She holds a master’s degree in history.

The relationship with agriculture and the land is the original colonizing relationship. The colonizers came in, viewed Indigenous peoples worldwide as not moving and living appropriately and productively enough on the land.
- Elizabeth Vibert, professor of colonial history

Read more in The Conversation


Dear Palestine by Shay Hazkani

A Guide to Palestinian Wild Food Plants
by Omar Tesdell (and collective)

A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy by Nathan Thrall

Orientalism by Edward Said

Listen and follow

You can listen to or follow Don’t Call Me Resilient on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.

We’d love to hear from you, including any ideas for future episodes. Join The Conversation on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok and use #DontCallMeResilient.

The Conversation

Ateqah Khaki, Associate Producer, Don't Call Me Resilient, The Conversation and Vinita Srivastava, Host + Producer, Don't Call Me Resilient, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Media coverage: “Keeping Palestinian food culture alive,” by Philip Cox

Aisha Azzam examines harvested wheat near Baqa’a refugee camp, Jordan. Credit: Guochen Wang

The Four Stories project's documentary about Palestinian miller Aisha Azzam has been featured in a recent article by Philip Cox. Check out the short excerpt below, and be sure to read the the full article at!

"It's a late spring day in the Baqa'a refugee camp, home to some 105,000 Palestinians who were born into the overcrowded Jordanian district or settled there after being displaced from their homelands by the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. After months without rain, the days are long, hot and dry.

Within the rejuvenating shade of one of the region’s only stone grain mills, UVic historian Elizabeth Vibert, writing master’s student Guochen Wang, history master’s graduate Salam Guenette and a crew of local teammates are filming an interview with owner-operator Aisha Azzam for a documentary they are producing as part of the Four Stories About Food Sovereignty project—a UVic-led, transnational effort to document community responses to climate change, global economic pressures and political instability through the lens of small-scale food producers on four continents.

'For Palestinian food not to go extinct, the young have to learn from the old,' Aisha explains in Arabic for the camera while three of her grandchildren play near the mill’s wearied industrial equipment. 'Food is the most precious part of Palestinian heritage.'"

New research on rural food systems in Colombia

Four Stories researcher Natalia Giraldo Osorio has successfully completed her research on rural Colombian food systems at the Universidad de Antioquia, and her findings are now available. We thank Natalia for her fantastic contributions to Food Sovereignty research, and encourage everyone interested in rural food systems to check out her work! You can also find a slideshow Natalia made at

Title: El territorio visto como una colcha de retazos: Transiciones de la Ruralidad y los Sistemas Alimentarios en el municipio de El Carmen de Viboral.

Abstract: In this degree work I make an ethnographic description of the transformations of rurality in the municipality of El Carmen de Viboral and its repercussions on the food system. The methodology used in this study was an intimate ethnography, where I carried out life stories and interviews with my relatives, friends, and close acquaintances, complemented with territorial tours, archive review, participant observation, a visual field diary, embroidered cartographies and maps of food routes. I found through this thesis that the great changes that, since the mid-twentieth century, have been taking place in the municipality have generated unprecedented transformations for food systems and rurality, where both phenomena influence and have mutual repercussions. In the same way, rurality today, together with food systems, cannot be seen through dichotomous contrasts; rather they are permeated by an amalgam of dynamics, appropriations and actors that, like a patchwork quilt, configure the territory in more complex and diverse ways every day.
Keywords: Rurality, Food Systems, Transitions, Intimate Ethnography, El Carmen de Viboral

Resumen: En este trabajo de grado hago una descripción etnográfica de las transformaciones de la ruralidad en el municipio de El Carmen de Viboral y sus repercusiones en el sistema alimentario. La metodología empleada en este estudio fue una etnografía íntima donde realicé historias de vida y entrevistas a mis familiares, amigos, cercanos y conocidos, complementada con recorridos territoriales, revisión de archivo, observación participante, un diario de campo visual, cartografías bordadas y mapas de las rutas de los alimentos. Encontré a través de esta tesis que los grandes cambios que, desde mediados del siglo XX, se vienen gestando en el municipio han generado transformaciones sin precedentes para los sistemas alimentarios y para la ruralidad, donde ambos fenómenos se influyen y repercuten mutuamente. De igual forma, la ruralidad en la actualidad, junto a los sistemas alimentarios, no se pueden ver desde contrastes dicotómicos, más bien están permeados por una amalgama de dinámicas, apropiaciones y actores que como una colcha de retazos van configurando el territorio de forma más compleja y diversa cada día.
Palabras clave: Ruralidad, Sistemas Alimentarios, Transiciones, Etnografía íntima, El Carmen de Viboral

Download here: Natalia Osorio, El territorio visto como una colcha de retazos

Mutual aid in a global food crisis: Rural South African women work together

Hleketani farmers attend a meeting of their grocery savings club.
(Elizabeth Vibert), Author provided

Elizabeth Vibert, University of Victoria

Stark warnings of a looming global food crisis spark fear as millions of people will likely descend into hunger in the coming months.

As the New York Times put it, for the global food supply “there are few worse countries to be in conflict than Russia and Ukraine.” Nearly 50 nations, many low-income and numerous in Africa, depend on these two countries for much of their wheat, as well as other grains and cooking oils.

For households chronically at risk of food insecurity, the Russian invasion is the latest in a long series of pressures.

The proportion of the global population at moderate or severe risk of hunger has been rising since 2015 as a result of the combined impacts of the climate crisis, conflict and more recently COVID-19.

The women I do research with in N'wamitwa, South Africa, have been staring down food crises and working to mitigate the effects for years. Many of these women are counted among “the poorest of the poor.” This means they live on less than US$1.90 a day (the World Bank’s money metric for extreme poverty) and fall below their country’s lowest poverty line, insufficient income to meet minimum food needs.

Despite being “poorest of the poor,” these women are not sitting on their hands waiting for assistance. Like resource-poor people all over the world, they are busy devising strategies and enacting tactics to meet the latest challenge of food shortages and surging prices.

Keeping households afloat

Thirty years ago, these women established a co-operative farm in the midst of a catastrophic regional drought — we made a film together about the ongoing value of Hleketani Community Garden to their households.

Irrigated by water-saving drip hoses, the garden provides nutritious, affordable produce year round. It was a lifeline for the village during South Africa’s strict pandemic lockdowns.

The pandemic “destroyed things at my home, my community, and my country. We could not visit our neighbours, could not check on our relatives,” says founding farmer Josephine Mathebula. “The farm fed us.”

Select scenes from the film ‘The Thinking Garden.’

Another crucial strategy these women pursue is savings clubs, known in South Africa as stokvels. As Caroline Shenaz Hossein, a global development and political science researcher, argues, these savings clubs are “at the very core of what we know as the solidarity social economy.”

They are a key example of the diverse, ethical economic practices — including co-operatives and other forms of mutual aid — that help keep poor households and communities afloat.

South African stokvels are community generated, self-run savings clubs where members pay a monthly fixed sum and take turns collecting the funds accumulated. Clubs multiplied during the 1990s and 2000s, bolstered by growing confidence among Black and brown South Africans after achieving democracy, and in the face of urgent needs during the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Stokvels are much more than a piggy bank for enforced savings. Strict rules about contributions, borrowing and interest (specific to each group) aim to instil financial discipline and autonomy. Club names like Titirheleni (work for yourself) speak to such goals.

Women in these rural communities say the clubs are rooted in customary practices of shared labour and reciprocal assistance. Farmer Sara Mookamedi notes that club members “help each other, like a family” — albeit one that kicks members out if they fall foul of the rules.

The value of savings clubs

All 27 women who work at Hleketani Garden are members of savings clubs. Some belong to as many as six or eight distinct groups. While members save for everything from children’s post-secondary education to water tanks to funeral expenses, “grocery savings is the number 1 priority” according to Basani Ngobeni, a resident of the village and my longtime research collaborator.

Members of grocery savings clubs sock away funds all year for bulk purchases of dry goods, with some contributing 100 rand (US$6.50) per month, others much more.

In December, they hire a truck and travel to a wholesale warehouse in the city 40 kilometres away to fill their massive order. Clubs prioritize items that are expensive at retail price or hard to find in the village — things like flour, canned fish and sanitary products. The grocery haul a member takes home is in line with their payments throughout the year.

Boxes are piled high as a truck delivers bulk grocery purchases.
Community members unpack a truck loaded with bulk purchases for a grocery savings club.
(Elizabeth Vibert), Author provided

With the cost of a basic basket of foods for low-income households rising 10 per cent in South Africa over the past year — even before events in Ukraine — many South Africans face major challenges in securing sufficient, healthy food for their families. The savings clubs are a lifeboat.

Crisis is nothing new in many communities across the Global South. These communities have been shaped by colonialism, by trade and agricultural policies that undermine local flourishing, by conflict and by the impacts of a climate emergency they did not create. Crisis is a given for resource-poor households globally, but — in the absence of supportive policies — so are these careful strategies of self-provisioning and mutual aid.The Conversation

Elizabeth Vibert, Professor of Colonial History, University of Victoria

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

“Stories of Rurality” in El Carmen de Viboral

Natalia Giraldo Osorio, a Four Stories partner at the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia, has created this slideshow of life in the rural village of El Carmen de Viboral. Translations into English have been provided by Four Stories researcher Fernanda Pacheco.

From herb gardens and carrot harvests to scenes of local kitchens and chiva buses, these images provide a glimpse into rural life in north-western Colombia.

Natalia adds: "I have been accompanying the project Four Stories as a young researcher and inspired by this project I carried out a personal project of the food system in my region. I carried out this project in a town named El Carmen de Viboral in Colombia with cartography and embroidery techniques. In addition to this, I would like to mention that our team in Colombia has a study group of the food systems. In this group we learn and build knowledge together."

Community partner Fatima Obeidat talks Jordanian food-based livelihoods

Four Stories community partner from Jordan, Fatima Obeidat, stars in two new videos. She is founder of Kananah Women’s Organization, which assists Syrian refugee women and low-income Jordanian women to develop food-based livelihoods.

In the first video Fatima talks about za'atar that her organization prepares for export to the US. Za’atar is the name for both an herb (Origanicum syriacum, related to thyme) and an archetypal Palestinian spice blend, which combines the herb with sesame seeds, sumac and other spices.

The video starts with two bags, one with dried za’atar (Origanum syriacum) and the other with the same product but ground. No spices added yet. The za’atar spice mix is in the containers (it is called Dukkah in Arabic, with a hard k in the middle). It is also called za’atar baladi (original zaatar) and its ingredients are simple: the thyme-like herb mixed with sumac, roasted sesame, and salt.

Fatimah says that za’atar when eaten with olive oil on bread – a favourite snack through Palestine – provides a complete meal, with added health benefits from the herb. (The other voice in the video is just reminding her of her steps, including tasting the product.)

A little online research indicates that za’atar has some impressive health benefits: boosting the immune system and skin health, building strong bones, increasing circulation, clearing the respiratory tracts, soothing inflammation, boosting energy, improving mood, aiding memory, and treat chronic diseases. (We can’t vouch for all these benefits!)

In the second video, Fatima talks about makdous, the contents of the metal cans prepared for export to the US. It is a preserved/ pickled eggplant that is usually eaten for smaller meals (breakfast and dinner) or as a side dish with lunch (the main meal). Makdous is almost always part of a mezzeh platter.

Fatima describes the process:
blanched small eggplant
chopped walnuts
diced sweet and chili peppers (some people use fresh and others powder)
diced garlic
olive oil
Once the eggplant is blanched, make a slit on the side and stuff it with a mix of the other ingredients. Preserve in olive oil. Fatima mentions that between the nuts, garlic and vegetable, makdous is a very healthy meal addition at any time.

Fatima hopes that her export project will be successful and that people of Arab descent living in diaspora will be able to find both products in America and thus eat something from "home." She praises all the children who are living and working away from home in order to help their families.

Documentary: The Thinking Garden

A film telling the inspiring story of South African women seeking food justice

This is a film about resilience – three generations of older women in a village in South Africa who came together in the dying days of apartheid to create a community garden. In the midst of severe drought and political turmoil, older women with limited access to land and little political voice joined together, beyond the household, beyond their kin, to make something new. They named their garden Hleketani – “thinking” in the local xiTsonga language – a place where women gather to think about how to effect change. The garden provides affordable vegetables to local people, nourishes those living with HIV/AIDS, and offers land, community, and opportunity for women. In short, the garden has helped restore the lives of people pushed to the edge. Filmed against the backdrop of a new drought gripping southern Africa, The Thinking Garden tells the remarkable story of what can happen when older women take matters into their own hands, and shows how local action in food production can give even the most vulnerable people a measure of control over their food and their futures.

More information on the Hleketani Garden can be found at Dr. Elizabeth Vibert's website,

Dr. Elizabeth Vibert: “Apartheid, Dispossession and Legacies in Jopi Village, South Africa”

As part of a lecture series on Decolonizing Settler Societies, Dr. Vibert gives a presentation on the history of apartheid and dispossession in Jopi Village, South Africa and the lasting legacies from that history.

*This lecture was originally presented to an undergraduate seminar class in the History Department at the University of Victoria

News from La Guajira: “Community Gardens Restore Hope to Indigenous People of La Guajira”

The following article brings some good news from La Guajira, where a participatory-research project has resulted in a thriving community garden.

Currently, they have crops of watermelon, squash, corn, beans, melon and yucca. The rainwater has also made possible the significant increase of goats and goats, and the care of the cows recently incorporated. This production directly benefits 45 families from the Taiguaicat, Pañarrer and Limunaka communities of the Manaure reservation, in which 206 people live.

Huertas comunitarias devolvieron la esperanza a indígenas de La Guajira

News from La Guajira, Colombia on the impacts of COVID-19 in Wayuu communities

The Crop Captain

"And here I am asking Juya - Father of the Rain, to visit these lands soon, because the livelihood and economy of hundreds of families throughout the La Guajira peninsula depend on the rain and much more in this confinement due to the pandemic."

Photographic rights of: Belkis Fontalvo Ramírez

By Covid 19 Hunger and thirst get worse in Wayuu territory

"With the closure of all commercial activities by governments as a preventive measure to avoid the spread of Covid-19, the Wayuu are forced to abandon their daily activities such as the street selling of food, checheres and handicrafts, the offering of means informal transportation systems, and the high migration flow that takes place at the border to commercialize anything that can be bought or sold has stopped."

Photo License: Miguel Iván Ramírez Boscán

Colombia: Indigenous Children at Risk of Malnutrition and Death

"'The indigenous communities of La Guajira do not have access to enough food or the water necessary to practice basic hygiene, including washing their hands, and information and access to health care is extremely deficient,' said  José Miguel Vivanco , director for the Americas from Human Rights Watch. 'This situation has contributed to the fact that for years the Wayuu have suffered one of the highest levels of child malnutrition in Colombia, and it is extremely worrying in the current context of Covid-19.'"

Hunger: the other pandemic of the Wayuu

"The coronavirus pandemic has further undermined the fragile situation of Colombian indigenous peoples. One of the most worrying cases is that of the Wayuu, who make up 20 percent of the total indigenous population of the country. As the data shows, the situation was dire before covid19 arrived."

Plants that heal the body and soul

"According to the Wayuu, although the healing properties of traditional medicines are not scientifically proven, several cases of daily life in the communities show encouraging results about their usefulness in preventing and curing the symptoms of covid 19."

La Guajira food and climate virtual museum

A fantastic virtual museum dedicated to food and climate issues in La Guajira has been created by Dejusticia, a Colombia-based research and advocacy organization. The museum displays a series of beautiful artwork which, in their own words, "shows one of our crudest realities: the constant violation of the fundamental rights of the largest indigenous people in Colombia and Venezuela."

Visit the museum at and explore the gallery!

The virtual tour culminates in Dejustica's five recommendations to address the food and climate emergency. Make sure to check it out!

Notes and Photographs from La Guajira, by Natalia Giraldo Osario

The following fieldnotes and photographs have been prepared by a research assistant on the Four Stories project. They outline some of the challenges faced by Wayuu communities today.

La Guajira, Colombia
Notes and Photographs from the Field, January 2020
Prepared by Natalia Giraldo Osario

Rancheria (Settlement) St. Martin du Puloy
This community is made up of approximately ten families of Wayuu Indigenous people, who go through the seasons there. Families have major problems with access to food. All the food comes from outside since the land is very dry to cultivate and they do not have irrigation systems. Economic livelihoods depend on temporary jobs and selling handwoven bags (mochillas) made by the Wayuu women.

Everyday Life
At about 5:00 a.m. you start to smell the wood fire that announces the beginning of the day. Women gather in the kitchen to prepare food, and they collect water and care for the children. The men perform animal care and look after the land and housing arrangements.

There are many children in the community, who spend their time playing with discarded items found throughout the ranch. They also help to collect firewood and do chores. The school that was at the ranch was recently closed, meaning children must now travel to Manaure to receive their education. Children are the people most affected in the crisis situation occurring in La Guajira.

Women in the community have created mutual support networks, and help to provide each other with items including food, water and other essentials. In addition, some are specialists in traditional medicine. Women are in charge of caring for the nuclear family.

To get to the mill, the only place where there is access to water, involves a walk of about 20 minutes. Women are in charge of collecting the water. This vital element for life, both human and other-than-human, plays a very important role in the social order and cultural life of the settlement. The Wayuu territory is facing challenges of water injustice, which exacerbates their food crisis.

To the rhythm of the drum and the sound of the wind, the Wayuu people dance the Yonna. This is a very important dance for the Wayuu because it is an opportunity to perpetuate their cultural traditions.

Media Coverage: Elizabeth Vibert talks food sovereignty with CBC Radio’s Kathryn Marlow

Many people try to think about where their food is coming from, but advocates for Food Sovereignty say you should also think about the working conditions of the people who grew or produced it, and what the carbon emissions were to get it to you. Four Stories project director Elizabeth Vibert joined All Points West host Kathryn Marlow to explain, and to give practical tips on how to try and work towards Food Sovereignty.

"Globalization is a major root cause of many of the challenges facing our food systems today. Food Sovereignty seeks to take back a meaningful measure of control or self determination of food systems locally, regionally, and even nationally so that it is not the big global internationals determining the value of food."

Listen to the full segment at

Media Coverage: “UVic-based research project aims to support global food sovereignty”

One of our research assistants, Kelsey Lessard, recently published an article about the Four Stories project in The Marlet, Uvic's student newspaper.


"Now more than ever is the time to help support small-scale food producers around the world to ensure the long-term sustainability of a secure and equitable food system. By working together, a new map that ensures food systems are culturally, ecologically, and economically sustainable can be drawn. While the movement is global, local actions can be taken, just as T’Sou-ke Nation has done, to ensure Food Security and a measure of Food Sovereignty for all future generations."


Read the full article at