Indigenous knowledge of traditional foods and food literacy among youth: insights from rural Nepal
Food literacy among children and youth is configured by two knowledge domains: an informal community-based knowledge, and a formal curriculum-based knowledge. This paper examines how these two domains contribute to food literacy and strengthen food security among rural youth in Nepal. In consultation with schoolteachers and local farmers, a knowledge test was developed and administered to 226 high school students. Scores were collected on agro-ecological, cultivation and consumption-related knowledge on a locally grown staple crop, as contributor to food literacy. Sociocultural factors like age, gender, level of education, migration of household members, level of student interest, and spatial factor like location of school all have an influence on food literacy. While formal school-based education and community-based informal knowledge oppositely interact, there is space for these two domains to synergistically interact to enhance food literacy. Rural students have potential to enhance food literacy in the schools, provided the schools create supportive space for experiential learning that weaves community-based Indigenous knowledges of local foods. However, an effective promotion of food literacy can only be ensured by adopting a holistic approach that includes a wide range of actors such as students, parents, teachers, schools, community organizations and government institutions.