Fundación Semillas de Vida, A.C.
The year 2007 Fundación Semillas de Vida A.C was created in Mexico with the mission and vision focused on Mexican small-scale agriculture. The organization operates through empower small-scale farmers and develop agrobiodiversity, concentrating especially on the native maize production by identification, conservation and participant improvement of native seeds. Furthermore, Semillas de Vida works towards a balance between sustainable agriculture (reducing climate change) and healthy food. We also work to preserve agrobiodiversity as a human right.
Maize constitutes the foundation of Mexican diet since 55% of the daily calorie intake, and 22% of protein consumed by the population originates from this grain. Native maize production is fundamental in generating food security, reproducing the population’s cultural identity, traditions and history. Nevertheless, maize production is also essential to avoid migration of small-scale farmer families since it supports and improves the regional economy based on small and medium scale agriculture. Our objectives are to protect and empower our traditional food resources, seeds and agrobiodiversity, as well as to inspire the local organic agriculture without genetically modified plants and agrochemicals. We focus on the native seed’s improvement and reproduction based on traditional knowledge that local farmers have developed during thousands of years, this we do through local in-situ seed banks located in the states Jalisco, Puebla, Chiapas and Veracruz. Models which could be applied at a national level.
Our principles are aligned with our objectives and allow us to combine efforts and seek coordination with different perspectives and disciplines to achieve successful fieldwork together with experienced regional organizations. An alliance was created with the Sustainable Agricultural Alternatives Network (RASA, for its Spanish initials , Red de Alternativas Sustentables Agropecuarias) establishing a seed bank in Jalisco. This created the opportunity to strengthen access to technology, achieving a deeper understanding of agro-ecological practices and seed handling.
We have also achieved collaborations with other community organizations, such as the Nahuatl Totanaca Indigenous Unity (UNITONA, for its Spanish initials, Unidad Indígena Totonaca Náhuatl), who approached us to consider the possibility of replicating the scheme and initiate the seed bank located in the north mountains of Puebla (Sierra Norte de Puebla). In Veracruz we work together with the Universidad Intercultural in identifying the maize biodiversity and the practices which allows its conservation in the region.
Furthermore, we have regional alliances of great importance for organizational and social proposals, with fellow colleagues of the MAIZ Veracruz organization, colleagues from the isthmus region of Oaxaca, Papantla, los Tuxtlas. This, as well as an alliance with the National Association of Rural Products Market Companies (ANEC, for its initials in Spanish, Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo), working currently with the Ford Foundation, to promote a seed diagnosis amongst its members.
We also maintain a strategic collaboration alliance with the Scientists Committed to Society Union (UCCS for its Spanish initials, Unión de Científicos Comprometidos con la Sociedad) with whom we have worked closely during the years consulting the scientific aspects. This has resulted in a relationship with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). The UCCS has an Agriculture and Food Program, made up by maize specialists; among them are some of the most outstanding agronomists who have been our consultants during the project.
We are part of the National Campaign Sin Maíz no hay País (No maize, no country), which has been an important communication platform and educational project that highlight and empower the national problematic about of maize and native seeds. #SinMaizNoHayPais is celebrating 10 years as a strong *SEPLS: socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes project supported by academics, artists, civil society as well as national and regional organizations from north to south of Mexico.