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.