“I take my boys to our farm, where they get their hands dirty. It is their digital detox.”
– Prabhu Deva
Farming. How often do you stop and think about all the food you eat that comes from the work that farmers do? If you’re like me, who did not grow up anywhere near a farm, it’s a completely foreign concept; and yet the majority of my diet comes from a farm: either local, somewhere else in México, or even from another country.
I know one thing: the work that farmers do is not easy. The hours are long and the risks are enormous: weather, pest invasions, and other unpredictable factors can make or break the success of a whole year’s crop. Needless to say, the Maya depended on farming as much as all ancient civilizations did; and as we still do today. The Yucatecan version of the farm, where food is planted and grown, is known as the “milpa.”
This month, on page 9, Andrea Medina takes us on a journey to the Yucatecan milpa, with an insight that could only come from someone who grew up in the heart of the peninsula, without electronics, surrounded by nature and indigenous communities. She tells us about the planting, the irrigation provided by rain, and the blessings provided by the Yucatecan sun. Corn, beans, squash, and chiles are all local crops that grow in the milpa. Andrea’s perspective is unique: she has a special interest in healing, agriculture, and education. She’s a biologist with a doctorate in Mesoamerican studies, focused on Maya cultures.
The culture of the milpa is part of the story; for example, you will learn about one essential thing that has to be present when the harvest takes place. You will also learn how the Maya keep the milpa traditions alive today.
I hope you enjoy all the great reads we have in the August edition; and that you turn off your cell phone and discover the Yucatecan milpa.
By Juanita Stein
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