Peasant Territories and Stewardship of Nature in neoliberal Mexico

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Alejandra Guzmán Luna , Bruce G. Ferguson

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Success and permanence of ecological restoration rarely depends on ecological factors alone, especially in the Global South. Practitioners should knowledge that in many of the territories they pretend to restore, peasants are struggling to fulfill their right to a healthy environment and quality food. We will analyze Mexican approaches to reconciling nature care with food production in light of the international movement to recover the dignity of peasant and indigenous livelihoods. We compare the drivers and outcomes of efforts originating from governments (and allied NGO’s) with those of efforts emerging from the peasant sphere. The current populist federal government has established a massive program, Sembrando Vida, that seeks integration between rights to food and a healthy environment. Although this is the first time the Mexican government has paid serious attention to agroecology, the program largely follows a mainly neoliberal logic in which food production, restoration, and conservation occur in separate spaces. On the other hand, peasants’ initiatives more fully integrate stewardship of nature with the reproduction of their livelihoods and reassertion of their control of the land. In some cases, those initiatives take advantage of neoliberal government policy. Thus, shades of gray apparent in different territorial peasant strategies are born of the black and white extremes of agroecology and “fortress” conservation.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program