While each of us navigate the current uncertain and frightening landscape in our unique ways, many of us find comfort in food and any opportunity to reconnect with nature, our gardens, our forests. We are reminded of our resiliency and connectivity with our neighbors (human and non-human!) and the vulnerability of certain peoples and the natural environment.
As COVID-19 tests our communities’ health systems, food and social-support resources, we see Indigenous communities around the world withstanding not only the worst effects of the pandemic but showing promise in their community-based solutions to keep themselves and their environments safe and food secure. Simultaneously we are reminded of the importance of nourishing our bodies with organic ingredients and protecting our local natural environments that are vital towards preserving the overall health of our families. That’s why we’ve always sourced organic baby formula brands, including Holle and Lebenswert, that are dedicated to treating land, water and animals as sacred and indispensable resources. We love that they prioritize practices that value the interconnectivity of their farmlands and the environment’s natural ability to sustain itself if given the appropriate respect and care.In line with our steadfast values of ecological preservation and solidarity with those disproportionately affected by newfound and preexisting inequities and hardship, this month we are collaborating with First Nations Development Institute and Rainforest Foundation US. Our donation helps to ensure vitality in their Indigenous food sovereignty and forest + human-rights protection projects– all focused to empower and engage Native communities at the forefront of their own solutions.
First Nations Development Institute’s Nourishing Native Foods and Health program is providing grants and technical skill training to Native communities nation-wide working to “build sustainable food systems that improve health, strengthen food security and increase the control over Native agriculture and food systems.” We admire their strengths-based approach in supporting community projects and always remaining culturally-conscious to how these projects integrate their ancestral roots.
Rainforest Foundation US also offers Latin American Indigenous communities life-saving technologies (a smart-phone app!), empowerment and healing through their Information into Action philosophy. Amidst a lethal struggle for Native peoples to protect their “breadbasket and pharmacy where men and women hunt, forage, and garden for their daily needs,” the Rainforest Foundation team trains and provides accessible technology for community members to monitor their forest land for illegal deforestation activity. The team then acts to compile “the communities’ data, inform the communities of region-wide threats, and advocate with the state” to stop the illegal deforestation (mostly for mining, agriculture, logging, and oil drilling).
The most crucial part of Rainforest Foundation’s work is that they engage and gain consent from Native locals to be the leaders in protecting their own lands instead of imposing an outside agenda. Indigenous people are the stewards, the saviors of our planet’s biggest CO2 capture. “Tropical forests absorb 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere… [and] Indigenous forests absorb approximately 25% of this.” Meanwhile, Rainforest Foundation US reports deforestation in the Amazon to be up 80% this year because authorities are unable to maintain their posts (due to COVID-19) to monitor illegal activity and because of political corruption, especially in Brazil. These facts, coupled with a poisoned river system and economic isolation, have made the procurement and cultivation of basic food, supplies and PPE extremely difficult in these Indigenous communities, where people are more susceptible to viral diseases than the rest of the general population. Rainforest Foundation also partners with Native organizations to ensure their people’s basic needs are met.
Map of Peru showing how effective Indigenous communities are at protecting the rainforest.
While so much of our world continues to prioritize extraction of natural resources while further oppressing Native peoples and their sustainable stewardship of land and food systems, the work of Rainforest Foundation US and First Nations Development Institute is crucial. In our dedication to support these movements, we at Organic Baby Food Shop truly believe that we are one community– all looking out for the well being of our little ones and each other (humans and non-humans!) so that we can lead the most fulfilling, healthiest, and compassionate lives possible.
Please join us in deeping either organizations’ impact by donating to their campaigns as well as taking small steps in your family’s home to help save the rainforests! https://rainforestfoundation.org/10-things-you-can-do-save-the-rainforest/
Donate to Rainforest Foundation US (provide food staples and supplies for Native families, help buy a new drone to monitor deforestation, or employ a local community monitor)
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