Agroecology | Poverty | Migration & Landlessness
At the U.S.-Mexico border, surveillance cameras and military check-points are part of everyday life for those that reside in the surrounding communities. In the borderlands, many workers and their families are exploited and marginalized; ancestral farmland is taken away and replaced with destructive industrial agriculture, and fresh, healthy, local food is not readily accessible for most residents. In this second publication in WhyHunger’s Food Justice Voices series, “Agroecological Approaches to Poverty, Migration and Landlessness,” Alma Maquitico writes that agroecology, or the practice of developing farming systems with low-input ecological principles, can empower people to claim their right to healthy food.
“If human rights is the theory,” writes Alma, “agroecology is the practice.” Alma works with low-wage communities in the borderlands as an educator, farmer and leader in grassroots farming initiatives. As a Mexican woman, she writes from personal experience that, “Forced migration…is characterized by the urgent need to free ourselves, to find a way out of poverty and exploitation, an urgent quest for self-determination.” Agroecology, she writes, is a framework for creating community-based farm systems to develop and support that self-determination, and at the same time builds a new model for agriculture that succeeds outside of the industrial agriculture paradigm.