In 2010, I took two trips to two very different parts of Mexico: the state of Jalisco, and the state of Chiapas.
A statistical look at farming in Jalisco and Chiapas
A statistical look at Cuquio municipality, Jalisco
In July, I headed to the state of Jalisco, Mexico, to learn about the impacts of the Green Revolution and NAFTA on corn production there. Unlike the corn grown in the U.S., most of the corn grown in Mexico is for human consumption. Those in power who passed NAFTA promised environmental and economic benefits. Unfortunately, the treaty undoubtedly resulted in economic and environmental harm, particularly in Mexico (although arguably in the U.S. as well). For an overall perspective on what I saw on the trip, read my Alternet piece, "The Ploy to Promote Genetically Engineered Seeds and Pesticides to Poor Mexican Farmers Is Impoverishing Their Communities."
Part 1: Mexico Fires Its Corn Farmers
Part 2: NAFTA... Not Implemented As Planned
Part 3: NAFTA's Impacts on Genetic and Soil Erosion in Mexico A Profile of Cuquio, Jalisco
Mexican Agriculture By the Numbers
Day 1: Guadalajara
Day 2 Part 1: Breakfast and the EcoStore
Day 2 Part 2: Jalisco Ecological Collective
Day 3: The Flea Market
Day 4: The Drive to Cuquio
Day 5: Delivering Aid to a Village
Day 6: The Second Aid Trip to a Village
Day 7: Conversation with a Corn Expert
Day 8, Part 1: Visit to a Rich Man's Land and an Explanation of Ejidos
Day 8, Part 2: Tour of the Local Employer, a Shoe Factory
Day 8, Part 3: The Third Aid Trip to a Village
Day 9: The Fourth Aid Trip to a Village
Day 10, Part 1: The Fifth Aid Trip to a Village
Day 10, Part 2: Microlending in Cuquio
Day 11: Pesticides
Day 12: Tequila!
Other Recommended Reading:
The Nation: "Retreat to Subsistence"
Tim Wise: "Agricultural Dumping Under NAFTA"
"The Environmental & Social Impacts of Economic Liberalization on Corn Production in Mexico" by Alejandro Nadal.
Swine Flu, NAFTA, and U.S. Farm Subsidies
Field of Dreams by Stephanie Ogburn
In November, I visited Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state, during the time of the coffee and corn harvests. I spent my time split between the highlands and lowlands, working with and learning about the Zapatistas (an indigenous insurgent group).
Day 1, Part 1: My Yuppified Introduction to Chiapas
Day 1, Part 2: An Introduction to Zapatistas
Day 2, Part 1: Something's Weird in Zapatista Territory
Day 2, Part 2: Our First Day with the Zapatistas
Day 3, Part 1: A Full Day with the Zapatistas in the Highlands
Day 3, Part 2: A Trilingual, Multicultural Corn Experiment
Day 4, Part 1: Zapatista Agriculture and a Shower
Day 4, Part 2: This Corn Ain't Roundup Ready
Day 5, Part 1: Moi's Rant
Day 5, Part 2: The Students' Orchard
Day 5, Part 3: The Students' Ceremony
Day 5, Part 4: From the Highlands to the Jungle
Day 6, Part 1: The Market in Palenque
Day 6, Part 2: Zapatistas in the Jungle
Day 6, Part 3: The Poster
Day 6, Part 4: The Poster, Continued
Day 7, Part 1: The Stingless Bee Workshop
Day 7, Part 2: The Stingless Bee Workshop Continued
Day 8, Part 1: Visit to a Family's Home