In 1991 during the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the villagers of Amanbaev, Kyrgyzstan, were allocated land plots, told that the state could no longer look after them and that they had to look after themselves. In subsequent years, various what I shall term ‘resilience techniques’ emerged and re-evolved to respond to the immediate needs of the villagers who had lost their jobs and social security. In this chapter, I look at these religious, cultural, spiritual and economical practices among Kyrgyz, Kurdish (Kurmanzhy), Turkish (Hemshil) and Uzbek farmers and how they form their identity and help to maintain their resilience. I will explore how farming communities organise their environmental, agricultural and technological knowledge in order to support farming and food practices and how they interact with each other in socio-cultural contexts. I will suggest that the complex nature of dynamic socio-cultural and ecological systems are unpredictable and always in flux. ‘The most fundamental thing about life is that it does not begin here or end there, but is always going on’.1 In order to maintain the resilience of the community in the face of unpredictable changes, it is essential to have diversity of choice. To enable choice, it is crucial to preserve biocultural diversity. Religious, cultural, spiritual, social and economic practices contribute to biocultural diversity and form alternative technologies, techniques which enhance the resilience of the farmers. The analysis is based on holistic transdisciplinary, qualitative anthropological field research, participant observation of farmers’ daily agricultural activities and in-depth conversations (interviews and transcriptions) conducted in Amanbaev. Hence, this chapter will contribute to discussions on the subjects of anthropology of food, food security, religion, culture, environment, resilience, technologies and biocultural
diversity within Amanbaev and the role of indigenous farmers with respect to these issues.