Kinray Hub launches its pioneering project in the Andes agroecosystems, collaborating with the Chichupampa Clan in Cotacachi, Ecuador, to revitalize 25 hectares of ancestral landscape. This groundbreaking effort, termed "Kinray Hub," represents a first-of-its-kind initiative that intertwines Indigenous-led research and development with teaching on the farm platform to transform food systems (forestland and farmland), climate change, nature-based solutions, and ecosystem services compensation. By converging Indigenous practices with modern perspectives, Kinray Hub seeks to establish a sustainable and regenerative food systems model in Indigenous People and Local Communities, focusing on enriching the soil, water, air, climate, biodiversity, carbon, and culture and ecosystem resilient rhythm.
##Restoration Area: Ancestral Land of the Chichupampa Clan
The land, rich in history and culture, once belonged to the Chichupampa Clan, part of the larger Indigenous community of Kutakachi, now known as the Otavalo Nation. Historically, this clan shared resources with nearby indigenous communities such as Morochos, Uksha Punku, and Kumbas Kunde, withstanding significant transformations over the centuries. During the 1500s, the Inka empire's expansion into northern Ecuador marked a considerable change, followed by the Spanish colonial era starting in the mid-1500s, when the Chichupampa land became part of the San Rafael Hacienda. This period of colonization, known as the Other Slavery, saw the Indigenous people removed from their ancestral land and subjected to the Encomiendas system (Spanish plantations).
Spanish Haciendas and Land Reclamation
The Spanish hacienda system persisted until the 1970s' second agrarian reform in Ecuador, which saw the land passing to mestizo landowners. During this period, they significantly altered the agricultural landscape and practices in the region. However, post-reform, Indigenous people were allowed to purchase back their ancestral lands. From 2002 to 2010, the Chichupampa Clan embarked on a journey to reclaim their land, laying the groundwork for establishing Kinray Hub’s regenerative demonstration farm. This period solidified institutional neglect, socioeconomic disparities, climate change, and forms of colonialism inside Indigenous communities.
##Kinray Hub’s Multifaceted Approach
Integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems: At the core of Kinray Hub is the integration of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), Indigenous economy and business approach, and Kultural Ag-Systems Heritage (KASH) with Western scientific knowledge. This approach transforms community-driven solutions and innovations to address socio-environmental challenges in Local, Indigenous, and Descendant (LID) communities.
Transformative Food Systems: Kinray Hub focuses on transforming food systems, which includes forestlands and farmlands, through a living systems approach rooted in Indigenous philosophies. This approach sees the environment as a complex and interconnected system. Indigenous food system practices are combined with modern methods to restore food corridors and enrich the soil, water, air, carbon, biodiversity, climate, and culture.
Climate Resilient Label: A key initiative is the Climate Resilient Certification and Labelling for Ethical and Fair Trade, which decolonizes climate-smart agriculture solutions by integrating Indigenous wisdom and ethics of Nature-based Solutions, mitigation, and adaptation. This label promotes increasing LID farming profitability, fostering resilient agroecosystems, and engaging in regenerative practices.
Ethical Use and Return of Indigenous Knowledge: Kinray Hub is dedicated to establishing frameworks for the ethical use and return of Indigenous knowledge and innovations, ensuring Indigenous research governance and data sovereignty, and communities and nature are recognized as shareholders and compensated for their contributions.
Transdisciplinary and Regenerative Collaboration: Kinray Hub emphasizes the importance of transdisciplinary collaboration, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge to collaborate with LID communities to co-define needs, co-design, and co-evolve klimate (culture-climate smart) solutions.
Regenerative Education: Kinray Hub fosters a learning environment that values and utilizes the insights and experiences of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. This approach encourages the breaking down of contemporary hierarchies in education, ensuring that learning and knowledge-sharing are reciprocal and inclusive of all life forms and natural processes. This inclusivity and emphasis on the kallamp ecosystem (mycelial network) over hierarchy make it a unique and progressive educational initiative to build capacity in Indigenous communities.
Kinray Hub, through its Regenerative Demonstration Farm in the Andes Agroecosystem, represents a holistic and innovative approach to addressing environmental, social, and cultural challenges. By honoring and integrating Indigenous knowledge and practices with scientific research, Kinray Hub contributes to sustainable solutions. It ensures the empowerment and self-determination governance of Indigenous communities, all while restoring and revitalizing the ancestral lands of the Chichupampa Clan.