Hi everybody! Thanks for taking the time to check out our fundraiser, really thank you. Our goal is to create a short documentary about an influential project that is working to promote agroecology within Mayan communities from the highlands of Guatemala. A wonderful documentarian has generously offered his time and skills, without payment, for the project. (You can see some of his work here.) To make this happen, we still need flights as well as room & board for the crew: Stephen Tolpinrud (Pax Natura Board Member), Cody (cinematographer), and Stewart (the producer).
Once created, the film will allow us to better communicate our message and solicit donations imperative to continuing the project. By telling the story of the work taking place in Guatemala and the people involved, we hope to cultivate awareness around the importance of food sovereignty, indigenous and peasant sovereignty, biological conservation, gender equity, and de-colonilization. For those who’d like to better understand the term "agroecology,” check out this video.
Who are we? Pax Natura Foundation is a U.S. non-profit working on rainforest preservation, biodiversity conservation, and other environmental challenges our world faces at this critical time. For more information please visit our website here.
Why are we filming? We believe that significant aspects of indigenous and peasant cultures are imbued with perceptions and practices that promote ecological and social well being. And, when united with agroecological methods, indigenous and peasant agriculture can be a potent force for ecological and social justice. So, we think agroecology needs to be used more, and that indigenous and peasant sovereignty is imperative for justice and sustainability. We aren’t the only ones who think this, check out this declaration by the U.N., who argue for the same thing. The creation of agroecological gardens and small farms is good for a lot of reasons. For one, agroecology holds the capacity to take carbon out of the air and store it in soil, thereby helping to stabilize the climate. It is also a powerful tool for promoting biological conservation, by incorporating diversity into the farmscape – a very important thing for tropical biodiversity conservation. (See this article for more on that matter). Furthermore, increased sovereignty is a potential byproduct of agroecology, because it allows people to take agency over what they grow and how they grow it, with little money necessary.
What are we filming? We want to make a film to tell the story that is taking place in San Martin, Guatemala. Mayans and those with Mayan heritage are exchanging knowledge and practices around agroecology. Lots of families, particularly women and children, are now growing their own food, without expensive and toxic chemicals, and reinforcing their foodways (a fancy term for the culture that surrounds cooking, celebrating, and growing food). And, our project is largely the reason that these things are happening.
In particular, it is the hard work of Moises (the agroecology promoter) and his absolutely lovely Mayan family who are making the project work. With so much heart and care for the well-being of their community and the planet, they have committed their lives to the work and teaching of agroecology as a means for justice. Moises’ father, Manuel, was one of the original members of the Campesino-a-Campesino movement responsible for spreading agroecology throughout most of Latin America. (To learn more about the Campesino-a-Campesino, check out this video and/or read this book). Moises’ mother, Bregida, is the lynch pin of the family and embodies strength and compassion in almost everything she does, especially with food and textile creation. She often times leads communal meals, where the food that is grown in the newly created gardens is used in local dishes that are beyond tasty - her food would make the famous farm-to-table chief Alice Waters cry, with joy.
So, we will tell the story of Moises and his family, which involves a civil war, persecution, forced migration, resilience, perseverance, and compassion. And, we want to document how agroecology is spreading in and around San Martin, Guatemala, because of this inspirational family.
With your help we can create this film, an important step in the process of creating full time funding for Moises, our promoter; hire other promoters; build a seed bank; and more. With long-term funding we will continue to plant the seeds of justice and sovereignty, amongst, and with the guidance of, indigenous and peasant peoples.