Campesino a Campesino 2017 Learning Tour: Mexico and Guatemala
Photos by Leonor Hurtado
Activists of the South Texas Alliance of Young Farmers (STAY Farmers), a member of the Texas Young Farmers Coalition, participated in a ten-day tour to Mexico and Guatemala organized by Food First and accompanied by José Gutiérrez, Mexican pastor and farmer from Reynosa, Mexico. Together, the activists from the South Texas Alliance of Young Farmers and representatives from Mexico are organizing and promoting agroecology on both sides of the Mexico-US border, an alliance that seeks to build a way of life in solidarity with and appreciation to diversity.
Tour attendees learned practical agricultural techniques from leaders in the farmer-to-farmer movement, Campesino a Campesino, in both countries. At Food First, we believe farmer-to-farmer agroecology is the best way for local populations to feed themselves. Agroecological food production is the alternative to industrial agriculture. Furthermore, agroecology allows us the freedom to produce our own food. This was a core message coming from the farmers who originally created the Campesino a Campesino movement.
The fundamental goals of the tour were:
- To share agroecological knowledge.
- To learn about the Campesino a Campesino
- To help participants to work on a strategic plan for establishing Campesino a Campesino movements in the Rio Grande Valley and Reynosa, Mexico.
The two organizations that hosted us, Proyecto de Desarrollo Rural Integral Vicente Guerrero and Granja La Fortuna, shared theoretical and practical training with tour participants. During the trainings, participants were inspired by the Mayan value of “you are my other self.” This value encouraged us to be respectful, punctual, friendly, flexible, and to function as a “learning team.”
With farmers of Proyecto de Desarrollo Rural Integral Vicente Guerrero we learned group and community organization strategies for the implementation of agroecology and political organizing strategies for the defense of rights. At Granja La Fortuna we learned the planting cycle from producing the seed to the harvesting of crops, and further, we learned how to prepare organic fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides.
During the last two days of the tour, we evaluated our learning as a group and began to organize main ideas for the strategic plan. Tour participants were satisfied and felt a new commitment to defending their rights to food sovereignty.