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Zapatista Food Forests of Today: Recouping Ancient Mayan Knowledge

Beginning in 2015, Mayan students, education promoters, and other Zapatistas began the process of constructing 18 multi-species food forests in several climatic zones of Chiapas, Mexico ranging from a mile-high oak/pine forests to lowlands rain forests.

Food forests represent an ancient, alternative agricultural system which can provide food, medicine, and many other useful products through mimicking the ecology of a young forest. The ancient Mayan civilization was one of many cultures around the world which utilized perennial food forests to meet their basic needs.

For the Zapatistas their efforts to plant food forests today is a recuperation of agricultural practices utilized by their ancestors; it is also a practical response to the bankruptcy of contemporary commercial agriculture and food distribution systems. Within today’s modern Mayan communities, Zapatista educators, students, and activists are uncovering, documenting, and utilizing a rich reservoir of biological knowledge still practiced by their parents and grandparents.

2013: The year of resistance to GM maize

2013: The year of resistance to GM, written by Silvia Ribeiro of the ETC group (monitoring the impact of emerging technologies and corporate strategies on biodiversity, agriculture and human rights) was published in La Jornada and supports “resistance to GM maize and in defense of the native maize, the life and autonomy of the people […]

Harvesting beans

Zapatista Farming

This is the second in the What We Eat series of lesson plans. In this lesson, learners will watch a short video about Zapatista farming practices and examine why Zapatistas value their traditional food and how they grow it. Learners are also encouraged to explore the origins of some foodstuffs of the Zapatistas, which do not […]