Sustaining Organic Food
Pesticides touch every aspect of our lives, from residues on our produce to increased chronic disease to biodiversity loss. Toxic compounds are used all over the world to the detriment of the environment and human lives. In a small village in Mexico, women are paying the ultimate price. The village of Venustiano Carranza is located in Chiapas, the southernmost Mexican state, which shares a border with Guatemala.
Most of Venustiano Carranza’s 750 inhabitants are indigenous, and are dependent upon subsistence farming for their livelihoods and survival. Recently, the community has documented a disturbing increase in women experiencing malnutrition, illness, and death due to poor diet and consumption of food contaminated with pesticides and carcinogens.
In order to address this critical situation, a local community group, Batsil Antsetik, A.C. is using a $2,500 grant to establish an environmentally-friendly and self-sustaining organic food production center, which will serve as a demonstration and training space for the community and improve food security for 33 families, with the goal of increasing the production of organic foods with female leadership to ensure inclusion of all community members in agricultural decision-making processes.
Trainings at the center will include organic farming, environmental sustainability, nutrition, poultry and rabbit management, composting, and organically growing fruit trees. Women’s leadership trainings will also be offered including an exchange of experience with groups of women from other communities. The project will reduce the use of harmful pesticides, increase the local food production to improve nutrition for children and women, promote women’s leadership, and encourage public conversations on gender equity and human rights.
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