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by Membership Assistant, Julia De Martini Day

“Sin maíz, no hay país!” “Without corn, there is no country!” were the words chanted by the Independent Women’s Movement on International Women’s Day March 8th in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico as they protested against free trade agreements devastating local agricultural communities and affordable access to staple food items, such as corn.

More and more are attention is brought back to how our increasingly globalized food distribution system is leaving us – whether we are in the USA or in Mexico – with rising food prices, as well as other costs, such as the health and environmental effects of eating and producing food made with chemicals or GMOs. In a New York Times article in February about the rising costs of wheat, even the large multi-national company General Mills said they would have to raise prices, and the article notes that the consequences are stretched wallets at home and abroad.

Both the protests in Chiapas and the article in the NYTimes leave us asking, how can we nourish ourselves and our families with food that is healthy and affordable – or good, clean and fair? How can we build off an increasing awareness of a globalized food system to ensure that the agricultural products inherent to our communities are also made to be staples of the local economies we are working to build?