Kimchi and Female Empowerment
YUMCHI is a story of family, friendship, tradition and courage. And the women in her life who have instilled in her a love of fermented foods. Lily learnt to make kimchi from her mother, who in turn learnt it from her mother. And it was Lily's auntie who infused devotion for the art of fermentation.
YUMCHI strives to raise awareness of the value of fermentation activities and the ways in which fermented foods can offer a more responsible, accessible and harmonious food culture.
Fermented products can play an important role
to the livelihoods of rural and peri-urban dwellers alike, through enhanced food security and income generation via a valuable small-scale enterprise option. There is such a diversity of fermentable substrate available year round, that the activity can provide a regular income. Although harvesting or substrate may be seasonal, fermentation itself is largely independent of weather, and by-products can be recycled into livestock fodder.
Fermentation activities are highly combinable with a variety of other traditional and domestic activities, and can make a particularly important contribution to the livelihoods of women, the disabled and landless poor who, with appropriate training and access to inputs, can increase their independence and self-esteem through income generation.
In the world there are a large variety of fermented foods and beverages with traditional and cultural value. The diversity of such fermented products derives from the heterogeneity of traditions found in the world, cultural preference, different geographical areas where they are produced and the staple and/or by-products used for fermentation. In many instances it is highly likely that the methods of production were unknown and came about by chance, and passed down by cultural and traditional values to subsequent generations (UN 2001).
The Traditional fermented food and beverages for improved livelihoods booklet was published by the UN in 2001. Written by Elaine Marshall and Danilo Mejia of the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, the booklet raises awareness and provides decision support information about opportunities at farm and local community level to increase the incomes of small-scale farmers. Fermented foods enterprises are suitable for smallholder farms in terms of resource requirements, additional costs, exposure to risk and complexity. The products generated are suitable for meeting demand on a growing, or already strong, local market and are not dependent on an export market.
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