Resisting in a collective and sovereign manner
The industrialization of the production process has not only generated dynamics of inequality and violence, but also dispersed a process that is fundamentally communitarian. Resistance is also in the recovery of organization: there are times when women and LGBTIQ+ people look for each other for support and to transmit their knowledge. An example of this is seen in the group Colectiva Chamanas, a group of lesbian women with a presence in several communities in Chiapas, in southeastern Mexico, who meet for the preparation of the land, from planting, to harvesting, to the production of handicrafts. They also learn collectively about various subjects, including land treaties and daily trades.
For the lesbian women of the Shaman Collective, sharing spaces with indigenous women from Chiapas has also allowed them to learn more about their own food, especially because it is a space where they feel safe, without the stigma of being rejected for being lesbians.
Despite the adversity, producers insist and resist. Continuing with the case of Mexico, the Rarámuri community of Mogótavo, in the Sierra Tarahumara, has been displaced by tourism and other commercial interests and this has led to the loss of their traditions, including traditional food, and it is the older women who are the main advocates for continuing to plant.
Perla Silvestre Lara, project manager for the Awé Tibúame organization, an association that works with the Rarámuri community of Mogótavo, a small town in the municipality of Urique, Chihuahua, near the tourist area of Barrancas del Cobre, tells us of her concern about what is happening in this area:
-The region is characterized by being rocky, with shallow soils, with a lot of erosion by wind and water, so the areas for planting are small and yet the community continues to make its efforts to have its corn, beans, squash, and in these plots where polyculture is done, which are a fundamental part of the community’s food supply.
As for the monetary gain obtained by the producers, most of the countries in the region do not sell to third parties, they use techniques of self-consumption and barter of products among neighbors, others donate food to canteens that have emerged to alleviate food poverty.
In Argentina they know this very well. Carla Gandulfo, founding member of Unión Pequeños Productores Organizados Punta Indio, (UPPOPI) explains that the producers have formed a kind of barter club, in which:
-Each one produces for one, and for their different neighboring producers, including. So the one who makes honey exchanges with the one who makes soap, exchanges with the one who makes wine, and we all have everything, knowing where it comes from, who makes it, the history of the family, that is much more enriching than any big industry.
The self-perception study of small agricultural producers. The case of Huichapan Hidalgo, Mexico, has as one of the reflections that «working in the field is about more than just producing, for them it is about preserving the traditions of the field through practice and the application of acquired knowledge».
Like these, there are more cases in the region that show the need for women and communities of sexual diversity to empower themselves in different spaces in order to continue with healthy and sustainable production over time, which will continue to contribute to food sovereignty.
Faced with the power of agribusiness in the region and despite external difficulties, from northern Mexico to Argentina, there are communities in which LGBTIQ+ people, women and other inhabitants unite to resist (in small or large groups). They show us that landscapes, production and growing conditions may be different, but collective work is a constant to achieve healthy food, with ecological processes and respect for ancestral knowledge. They know that each action of resistance is also aimed at the subsistence of themselves, their families and their communities.