“When I began researching some traditional food that is currently consumed by the families of my community, I was surprised because it was very shocking to see how we have changed our diet. For example, before, when my mother and father would hold a celebration or a party, we would all collect palm. We knew how to do it, and we knew that by cutting the palm we were not harming nature, because my father and mother knew very well when this could be done, once the palm had emptied itself of its seeds. With the cutting of the palm, every part of the plant was used: the trunk was used as food, the most tender leaves were used to decorate the altar, and the sturdier leaves were used to change the roof of the henhouse or the kitchen. Remembering this story has been important for me and for the other families, because it reminds us that we already have the best food and it is our greatest treasure.”
—José Edi, Nuevo Guadalupe, municipality of Las Margaritas
Food is a central component of culture. When traditional foods are revalued and nutrition is understood from the perspective of the Mayan worldview, the culture itself is valued.
In this part of Chiapas, it is now difficult to find traditional wild leafy vegetables in the fields and other fertile spaces because of the indiscriminate use of herbicides. The consumption of traditional foods has declined as a result. The notion of “development” in agricultural practices has also changed the way local people see and experience food, and the negative impacts on biodiversity, culture and nutrition are numerous.
The success of this project would see 100 families from 6 communities rescuing, revaluing and saving the seeds, foods and recipes of traditional dishes. It would also incorporate the wisdom of elders concerning a form of agriculture linked to a spiritual relationship with Mother Earth and the Natural Good. These 100 families would reintegrate into their daily routines elements of the Mayan worldview and spirituality, including the frequent use of the Mayan calendar and a reconnection to the knowledge and energies of the cosmos.