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'Grounded' is a series project about people around the world who are living in a close relationship with their territory, through agriculture or food processing. Whether they are fishermen in the Mediterranean, organic farmers in Germany, guardians of sacred forests in Benin or indigenuous people from the Amazon, they are all facing difficulties due to the impact industrialisation is having on our society and climate.

The aim of these series is to show the faces of those that are most affected by the changes happening on our planet. Making the difficulties that are affecting all the rural world globally visible, and to link them with each other on order to create a reflexion on our way of life and our own relationship to our territory. 


Benin is the home of Voodoo culture. Voodoo has a strong connection with territory protection : by placing a voodoo in a forest or a lake, the local healers turn those places into sacred ones, where nobody dares to cut a tree or hunt a fish, fearing that the divinity will curse them and their family.

In Sakété, the people adore the divinity of Oro, who hides in the forests around the city and that no one is allowed to see. The possible presence of Oro has made the inhabitants preserve an incredible amount of primary forests in a territory where most land is used for agriculture and palm oil extraction. Most colonialist regimes have tried to forbid those voodoo beliefs, and some monotheist religious leaders have also wanted to make a sin out of the animist cult. But the culture remained deeply rooted in the local community, and today young, old, catholics and muslims equally respect and celebrate the divinity.

With the climate change, the ground is drying and turning less and less fertile, corn and tomatoes no longer grow as they used to. But, in the middle of the palm trees used for oil extraction, the sacred forests remain untouched.


In the Rio Negro region of the Amazon, local indigenous leaders and scientists have been measuring a loss of biodiversity that caused them to create the ‘Traditional Agricultural System of the Rio Negro’ to preserve their way of life and knowledge of their environment. In 2010, it was named Brazilian Cultural Heritage.

This agricultural system encompasses all the activities and cultural knowledge around the roça, the space where their food is produced and transformed. Usually, a roça is a round space in the middle of the jungle, where the forest is taken down and burned in order to be able to cultivate the fertile ground underneath. The particularity of those spaces is that they are thought of as part of a cycle, where the forest regenerates itself after approx. 7 to 8 years of cultivation. The indigenous communities of the Rio Negro have been burning the Amazon for centuries, but their relationship to their territory and the way they perceive themselves as part of it has allowed them to constantly maintain, if not increase the biodiversity around their homes.

Today, with the expansion of urban zones inside the Amazon and the youth’s interest in studies and connection with the rest of society, the roças are being abandoned inland and the forests have no time and space to regenerate themselves around cities. A system so logical and sustainable, but that isn’t made with any economic aspiration, is slowly being replaced by the international trade of food and ressources.


The Para is the region of the Brazilian Amazon that is undergoing the fastest deforestation in the whole Amazon. In the 1970s, settlers have been brought or attracted there to install themselves along the trans-amazonian road, cut the forests and start the production of cattle, and later soy to participate in the countries economical growth.

When they arrived, the settlers still relied on the forest to live, so some fruits, rivers and animals were preserved. But as the roads got better and the meat distribution organized itself, more and more people cut down their whole forest in order to maximise their gains. This led many completely destroy the areas where açai grows, a palm tree that is found in the humid lower grounds from the jungle and whose fruit produces a very nutritious pulp.

Today, açai is one of the most lucrative products of the region, and some of the families who live in the settlements have found some interest in the conservation of the humid areas in their land. While today most land is owned by bigger companies that blindly cut and kill everything inside their fences, the inhabitants still live everyday facing the choice of cutting and investing in cattle, or preserving and look for different income possibilities.


‘La Gran Sabana’ is long known for its amazing natural landscapes, what led the local indigenous communities to live around tourism. They opened camps for visitors, offered services as guides in their sacred mountains -the ‘tepuis’- and opened restaurants along the roads.

At the same time, many ‘criollos’ came from the whole country and from abroad to work in the prosperous gold and diamond mines, creating tensions with the locals : the land was full of minerals but the territory was being completely destroyed and the money was never kept in the local communities.

When tourism declined due to the economical situation of the country, around 2017, many indigenous who worked in tourism had to leave for the mines. Having lost their connection with agriculture, mining was the only way to sustain themselves. Today, while hoping that the tourists will return, they find no alternatives but to keep destroying their sacred land as the regions whole economy is based on the trade of gold and diamonds.