Ideas seem to happen to us. Like the flashing light bulb in a cartoon. The intention behind this paper is to explore how new ideas that exist outside the mainstream discussions about development can be brought into its narrative and influence its course. And, how food in general, and agricultural biodiversity in particular, can help facilitate this process.
The authors begin the paper with a testimony of their own blindness, while working in the Pamirs, the mountains between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Only after two years, a question dawned. Why, in a region where 153 varieties of wheat are grown, is simple white bread the only thing made with it? In a culture that is so deeply rooted in agricultural traditions, where did all the food go? The authors explain why speaking about food helped them to understand more of the difficulties of Pamiri life, and more of its beauty, and to see these in a light that went beyond resource scarcity or war, themes usually associated with this part of the world. Ideas emerged but very few of these ideas were reflected in the development efforts being implemented. Why weren’t they there? The remainder of this article seeks to find an answer to that question, and a possible remedy.