Women and Amaranth
Mary Eugenio Abraham Tapia: Amaranth Farmer
What fulfills me is working with my own seed.
Irma Rosales Ojeda: Local Promoter
In the communities it is difficult for men to see women getting ahead or having more knowledge than them, this is a challenge that I will overcome.
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Grecia Sandoval Serra: Microenterprise Group Member
I have learned that you don’t necessarily need to depend on a man or another person to get ahead, you can do it yourself, and I believe this is extremely important.
Gloria Sandoval Serra: Microenterprise Group Member
As women, we have the right to work and express our opinions.
Alma Eliza Ortiz Santos: Microenterprise Group Member
Nothing is impossible if you have the drive to get ahead in life.
María de los Angeles Ortíz Hernández: Microenterprise Group Member
As women, we have the responsibility to care for our families and this motivates us to participate and work for ourselves and our communities.
Aracely Hernandez Zarate: Local Promoter
The empowerment and love of farming the land will allow women to improve our quality of life and the diet of our families.
Take a look at this video featuring several of these incredible women:
I worked with Puente for two years, and learned a great deal from collaborating closely with the communities. I like Puente's work because the methodology that they use is very participatory.
One of the parts of the work that I like a lot is working from a gender perspective. Why? Because we know that women are the ones who spend more time with the children and give them food, and women are the ones who suffer more from the results of environmental problems. It is women who need to go far to find water and wood to be able to produce their food. Therefore, when they are involved in the topic of production, it makes them more independent, so they can go and look for resources but they also have other alternatives to satisfy their food requirements.
I feel my self-confidence has improved and I am able to bring other young people into the program by generating spaces for critical thought, facilitating awareness-raising workshops about the environment, motivating community groups, and incorporating them into Puente's work."
Flor recently won a highly competitive scholarship for indigenous youth to study her masters degree. She is currently in Costa Rica studying sustainable agriculture and rural development.
“Through Puente's workshops we have learned that amaranth is nutritious for children and families as it is a good source of vitamins, proteins, and contains many nutrients. We plant amaranth and eat the seeds and leaves in the rainy season. People ask us "why amaranth?" and we tell them our experience has shown that amaranth really helps malnourished children. At the end of the day we are responsible for providing a healthy nutrition for our children." Alma forms part of a group of young single mothers in a marginalized area of the Mixteca who have participated in Puente’s healthy families program. They began a small business two years ago to make food products with amaranth, and are using the additional income to support their families, offer an option of employment in their communities, and prevent migration. Their group, “Yukunama,” recently built a center to create products and has increased sales.
"My name is Maximiliano Angel Mendoza and I am from San Andres Zautla. I was born in 1919 and am 93 years old. A few years ago, I read in a magazine that astronauts were eating amaranth, so I decided to plant it myself. Through Puente’s training and workshops, I now cultivate amaranth with organic fertilizers and will harvest half a hectare of amaranth this year.
Amaranth was a nutritious plant consumed by our ancestors, so it seems strange to me that we stopped planting it for many years. Let me explain, when the Spanish arrived our people were no longer allowed to plant amaranth. This plant was very important for people of that era to ensure nutritious food for their children. Now the plant is experiencing a rebirth here in Mexico and for that reason, at 93 years of age, I am in love with amaranth. When I was young my parents brought home alegrías, a delicious treat with made with amaranth. My brothers and sisters and I anticipated the return of my parents from the market with alegrías. I plan to continue planting amaranth with as much love and care as our ancestors did because I want my children and grandchildren to have the nutritious options that our ancestors have given us.
I participated in an amaranth producer exchange with Puente, which gave me a great deal of enthusiasm and energy to plant amaranth. Many farmers and young people are planting amaranth, and we should support them so that we all continue planting amaranth. We need to keep convincing our neighbors to plant because amaranth is the food of the future."
This summer, Don Max recieved a “gift from nature” because the seeds from his last amaranth harvest fell onto the ground and germinated themselves, growing quickly due to rains earlier than usual this year. Don Max hopes to obtain 20 kilos of grain from this “gift from nature.” Through workshops he has learned to cultivate and incorporate amaranth into his daily diet, increasing nutritional opportunities for his whole family and able to sell the extra harvest to help with expenses.