Sunday morning, Nov. 21, I traveled to Juanacatlán again with Miyuki and her wonderful family, husband Chaco and daughter Kei, to participate in a Greenpeace action designed to bring attention to the horrific health threats that are directly linked to the massive toxic pollution in the Río Santiago.
Dozens of local residents and students turned out for the unfurling of a protest banner from the bridge above the falls at the junction of El Salto and Juanacatlán. See the cover photo above. The banner says: “Ecological catastrophe. Enough contaminating!”
In the afternoon, we were invited to the 14th annual gathering of an event sponsored by RASA (Red de Alternativas Sustentables Agropecuarias = Network of Sustainable Agricultural Alternatives) and allied groups to mark the Campaña Nacional en Defensa de la Madre Tierra y el Territorio. (National Campaign in Defense of Mother Earth and the Territory) The event was a celebration by participants of “our maíz,” but also of their native water, trees and heirloom seeds.
With about 100 people in attendance, there were a series of informative speeches and presentations by local farmers practicing natural organic crop cultivation using heirloom seeds, including guest speakers from as far away as Chiapas. The event concluded with a “seed exchange” and a meal of roast pork, frijoles and tortillas.
I am working on an article about this event because the positive implications of the heritage agriculture and social interaction being practiced by the small scale farmers here have profound implications far beyond Juanacatlán.
As one speaker so eloquently stated yesterday, seeds are the arms that will make it possible to win the war against the kind of destructive capitalism so lethally embodied in the poisoning of the Río Santiago.