Konkankoh, founder of the Ndanifor Permaculture Ecovillage in Bafut, exiled in Portugal because of the Ambazonia War, and Indigenous Elder from Cameroon, answers Laureline Simon’s question about what it means to be conscious with food. This dialogue is part of a storytelling project in partnership with Climate Illustrated, for the Conscious Food Systems Alliance convened by the United Nations Development Programme.
To explain the term ‘consciousness’, I would also like to talk about my own initiation in a spiritual forest. Some ceremonies are conducted in spiritual forests to bring consciousness between internal and external ecology. And consciousness is important because it is what makes us start to respect certain moral and ethical values. These values include our beliefs. If we believe that our food comes from our farms and from food forests, our life is integrated into nature. If you look at the forest, it’s part of our community. The trees, the rivers, the mountains, the stones, … And so we can conduct ceremony in the water, or the stones, or the Earth, because this is part of the community and every life flows as this system, as we understand it. Because we know that life is all interconnected. You could also see the relationship between the human beings and the animals. And it was funky, like real fun! If you went to harvest meals in the forest, you’d be fighting with monkeys for bananas. There was no fear between the animals and the human beings. So there was something connected. And in terms of consciousness, we now know that some things have to be blessed. In other words, we now have certain norms for which animals can be caught and eaten and which animals cannot be caught and eaten. And this is a fundamental basis of conservation.