INDIGENOUS LEAFY VEGETABLES IN THE DIET AND AGRICULTURE OF THE SANDAWE OF TANZANIA
Few studies address the use of leafy indigenous vegetables (IVs) in poorly understood contexts, such as emergent farming communities. This quantitative and qualitative ethnographic study analyzes the role of indigenous leafy greens in the diet and agriculture of the Sandawe, a former hunting and gathering ethnic group located in Kondoa District, Tanzania, that began transitioning to an agricultural subsistence base approximately 100 years ago. Availability and dietary importance of IVs were determined by surveying transects through areas of human activity, identifying and weighing harvested greens, observing the preparation of greens, and compiling food logs. Interviews, participant observation, and mapping provided insights into Sandawe planting schedules, field and garden configuration, seed saving practices, and maintenance of cultivated areas. Attitudes towards the growth and consumption of greens and local folk taxonomies of greens were constructed through the use of interviews and pile sorting. While decreasing plant biodiversity in both wild and agricultural settings has compromised food security in many settings, the use of leafy greens among the Sandawe is high. However, evidence suggests that many leafy greens commonly consumed by the Sandawe accompanied the agricultural complex, and that other wild food resources are not as consumed as frequently as in the past. This research illustrates the importance of quantitative studies of indigenous leafy vegetables as well as the role of cultural norms and individual preference as they relate to the maintenance of biodiversity.
Knisley, M.C. and Nyomora, A. (2007). INDIGENOUS LEAFY VEGETABLES IN THE DIET AND AGRICULTURE OF THE SANDAWE OF TANZANIA. Acta Hortic. 752, 147-152
Leafy vegetables, Sandawe, food security, biodiversity