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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

MILPA: From Seed to Salsa : Presenting the Book in the Mixteca Alta

MILPA: From Seed to Salsa : Presenting the Book in the Mixteca https://www.facebook.com/milpafromseedtosalsa/

Presenting the Book in the Mixteca Alta

Kathy and Phil-Dahl Bredine and myself delivered the finished book product to one of our most diligent families in our project in the Mixteca Alta. It was so rewarding, and a bit surprising, to see their reponse to the finished book. I was reminded that books are NOT that important in a culture where survival depends upon making sure there is food on the table, and where education of the older generation may not have taken place. I think Apolonio, the husband and father,  is able to read - many of the men are encouraged to go to grade school through 3rd or 4th grade - but the women of earlier times were not so lucky.

So here are Francisca and her husband Apolonio reacting to seeing her own kitchen on the cover of the book as well as to their lovely full-page portraits; Apolonio, who has a terrific milpa farm, and great sense of humor, had no idea what plant was embroidered on his hat, it was a gift....and we all had a good time with that one. They were all especially tickled to see their laundry hanging on the line on a double spread in the book (and grateful that we showed only their clean laundry, not their dirty laundry) ! Apolonio declared me Francisca's new 'comadre' and felt a new car was most appropriate for our new relationship....lots of laughs and a great cup of hot chocolate with Day of the Dead bread prepared by Francisca....such delightful, happy people.  Francisca and I ended up becoming 'comadres of chocolate,' a wonderful friendship!

I'm not sure how many times Francisca had seen a picture of herself, or seen such a big book, or  even knows how to read. It took her a second to recognize her own kitchen…she also has eye problems from years in her smoky kitchen. 
One of the goals of the book was to give the participants an increased sense of their own value, to the women especially, and to show them all how important their return to organics and sustainable agriculture is to everyone, both regionally and universally. I do believe the book will accomplish this as the days go by and more and more people see it.  

We are giving away about 100 copies of the book to all the participants, which will get shared and looked at - hopefully read - dozens of times per copy. CEDICAM has received 1/4 of all printed books to continue to spread the word or to use a fund raiser.