Earth to Tables Legacies:
An Intergenerational and Intercultural Exchange

Ontario-based settler farmer Dianne Kretschmar loves to get her hands in the earth, while Mohawk Chandra Maracle starts with the kitchen table as the site for her food activism. While Dianne faces the legacies of over-cultivation and decreasing farm labour, Chandra confronts the legacies of intergenerational trauma of residential schools and colonization reflected in food practices in Indigenous communities.

Dianne and Chandra represent two ends of food sovereignty, from promoting local organic production to sharing good food with family and friends at the table.

As part of the Legacies Project exchange, Chandra invited Dianne to process white corn in her kitchen at Six Nations. And Dianne reconnected with young people she has mentored over decades: Fernando Garcia who now trains farmers in Mexico and Ryan Decaire who teaches Mohawk language at the University of Toronto.

Since 2016, these two women have been sharing their experiences and visions of a food system that is more sustainable and just, ecologically grounded and culturally appropriate. We have also followed the protégées of Dianne Kretschmar: her son Dan, Ryan DeCaire of the nearby Mohawk reserve of Wahta, and Anna Murtaugh and Adam Royal in the Gaspé region of Quebec. We have added Leticia Deawuo of Black Creek Community Farm in Toronto to the exchange, connecting rural and urban agriculture.

This settler-Indigenous exchange in Canada has expanded to include food sovereignty leaders in three Mexican communities: Fernando Garcia in Guadalajara; FulvioGiaoanetto and Maria Blas Cacari in the autonomous Purépecha community of Nurio in Michoacán; and Mayan couple Valiana Aguilar and Ángel Ku of UniTierra in Oaxaca and the Yucatan.

The collaborative research project has been coordinated by Deborah Barndt, Professor Emerita in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, and supported by a Connections Grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council. Further support has been offered by the Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Forthcoming transmedia book with an online multi-media platform

For the past three years, an intergenerational and intercultural production team has been filming the diverse food activities, geopolitical and ecological sites, and moments of encounter of this group. We’ve identified generative themes for a transmedia book to be published by Rowman & Littlefield; this multi-media educational package will include ten short videos, twelve photo essays, facilitator’s guides for all videos and photo essays, chapters on methodology and frameworks, and commentaries by well-known practitioners and academics. The editorial team includes director/producer Deborah Barndt, co-director Alexandra Gelis and co-editor Lauren Baker. Other members of the production team are Jorge Lozano, Tzazná Miranda Leal, Aram Siu Wai Collier, and John Murtaugh. Project advisors are Tuscarora knowledge keeper Rick Hill and documentary filmmaker Min Sook Lee.

For further information, contact Coordinator Deborah Barndt: db3347@gmail.com