Hope for a Beleaguered Planet....
Our book Milpa: From Seed to Salsa - Ancient Ingredients for a Sustainable Future explores through a blend of essays, recipes and documentary photography how the ancient agricultural knowledge and the wealth of 1000 year-old seeds and planting practices still in use among the Mixtec peoples of southern Mexico can help us to meet the ecological and food crises of today.
The essays, written in conjunction with campesino farmers, serve as a warning about the complicated dangerous effects inherent in the rapidly expanding distribution of GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds in Mexico, the birthplace of corn. Our documentary cookbook discusses alternatives for campesino farmers across the world and gardeners and consumers who care about food safety. Using the example of the Milpa planting system in the Mixteca Alta region of Southern Mexico just north of Oazaxa City, the book supports recent studies by UN investigators that show that small plots of land, heritage seeds and sustainable practices can in fact feed the world while enriching the soils on which we all depend for life…….
Milpa contains the traditional recipes lovingly shared by the local indigenous Mixtec women, allowing readers to re-create the culinary magic that flows from this ancient agricultural system. Recipes are painstakingly tested and photographed in traditional indigenous kitchens as well as in a professional modern test kitchen. Please purchase the book, below.....
All Rights Reserved: © Phil-Dahl Bredine, © Kathy Dahl-Bredine © Judith Cooper Haden Photography, © Susana Trilling SOMH.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
As in most indigenous communities of Oaxaca, here there are two parallel governments, the municipal and the Commission of “Bienes Comunales”, or communal goods. As the name indicates, it is the responsibility of the Commission of Communal Goods to regulate the use of the forests, grazing lands, and, when appropriate, agricultural lands that families have abandoned, in the name of the community. All of this is the commons of Tilantongo. The Director and Vigilance Committee of bienes comunales are democratically elected in town meetings of the entire pueblo of Tilantongo, including its 17 different communities. For any major decisions the entire pueblo needs to be convoked to approve or disapprove. Meanwhile, it is the task of the director and bienes comunales committee to regulate and manage the common resources of the village, approving permits for harvesting trees for building and firewood, and medicinal plants, for use of gravel and sand, water, and minerals, as well as for fining abuses. Although the serious deforestation that marks the post-conquest history of Tilantongo is testimony to lapses and abuses of the trust placed in the commission of common goods, the system has and continues to successfully govern the commons of Tilantongo and hundreds of other indigenous communities of the state of Oaxaca.
Friday, August 10, 2012
Photography © Judith Cooper Haden
Click on this link.....it's a great story. Amazing that word has traveled so far.
Monday, July 30, 2012
|Preparing the Soil for Planting|
Yesterday Don Narciso, one of the wise ones of the pueblo, stopped us on the street and said:
|Typical Home in the Mixteca Alta|
reflect together with our indigenous neighbors! Perhaps if we are to save ourselves -- we the human family -- in this time of epic crises, we need to become reflective enough to hear the voices around us, the voices of the cultures which can still reveal to us that there are alternatives to our civilization of control that is in crisis.
In such a time of crisis perhaps we need to cultivate what we could call a “dialogue of knowings”, listening and sharing with the cultures that still have not internalized the fatal flaws of our civilization of control and with the ancestors of the human family who perhaps knew more than we thought about how to live well on the planet. Perhaps we could even reestablish a dialogue with the other species in this living planet to see if they have something to tell us …if we were to listen.
We thank you very much, and we always love hearing from you.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
|Time Honored Method of Threshing Local Heritage Wheat - It Works!|
Friday, July 6, 2012
"FARMER IN CHIEF" -- BY MICHAEL POLLON
This is so worthy of a read, or a re--read as the case may be, and explains in a nutshell what we are up against with our food supply issues and our national food agenda. Obama is readying for a second term; this was written right as he was readying for office in October of 2008....
"Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is recycled." Amen! From the Oaxacan village of Etla, which features one of the all-time great markets on Wednesdays.....
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Photography @ Judith Cooper Haden All Rights Reserved
Friday, May 18, 2012
|Non-GMO Corn, OAXACA, Mexico|
|Beautiful Native, Heritage Corn, Nochixtlan, OAX., MX|
All Photos © Judith Haden Photography.com
Monday, April 30, 2012
©Phil and Kathy Dahl-Bredine, Judith Cooper Haden Photography
Monday, April 9, 2012
In the villages of the Mixteca Alta there is a special kind of native corn that should give pause to the sometimes overweening pride of our modern scientific era and to its scorn for the ignorance of previous “less scientific” ages. It is commonly called “cajete” from the form in which it is planted in small indentations or “cajetes” in the dry fields. It is a very ancient corn in a land whose indigenous scientists invented corn from a parent plant called “teocintle” around 10,000 years ago. That feat alone, which accomplished an unequaled botanical leap from a wild plant with no cob or husk to “modern” corn with no apparent intermediary species, should humble our scientific hubris.
In each indentation planters drop 3 to 4 seeds of corn, a native bean seed and the seed for native squash. By June the cajete Milpa is complete with its complementary planted varieties and the spontaneous edible plants called quelites that will grow between the rows. A full food system for both Mixtec families and native soils.
© Phil Dahl-Bredine
© Photographs Judith Cooper Haden
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Traditional kitchens in the Mixteca are seductive. They have no relationship with what we are used to in the United States. Inside, they are smoky, dark and wonderful. Cleanly dampened and swept dirt floors. No windows but light manages to creep in between the bamboo-like stick walls, and in the small space between the tin or thatched ceiling and the walls. If outside, they are usually covered and open to the air. The smells of freshly made masa from corn grown just outside the door being toasted into a tortilla on a huge clay comal is an unforgettable aroma. And once you taste a real tortilla...well, it's hard to see the relationship between that, and what we are served here at home.
|Francisca Garcia Ferrer|
|Manual corn grinder|
rodent police, garbage collector -- and are actually bought and sold, cats fetch 30-40 pesos -- $2.50-4$! They are not attributed with feelings or needs; it takes a while to get used to the treatment of these domestic creatures. (I remember receiving a letter from home while while in the Peace Corps in El Salvador; my Dad knew our beloved beagle was really sick when he refused a large portion of roast beef....I read this after coming back from the wake of a baby who died in essence from dehydration and starvation..... we don't know how lucky we have it.)
This was the first picture I took at the very beginning of this project, over a year ago. We all felt it had special significance.....and still do!