Legacies Project collaborators
After completing an agronomy degree, Fernando Garcia went to Canada to learn from two different organic farmers: Alvaro Ventureli from Plan B Organic Farm and Dianne Krestchmar from Grenville Organic Farm. The experience taught him techniques, knowledge and skills to improve the quality and yield of his crops in Mexico. He was able to share this knowledge and experience with farmers while working at the Department of Agriculture of Jalisco, and then in his own urban agriculture project, Cosecha en Casa, teaching people who want to learn how to produce their own organic food in the city. Since 2017 he has worked for a multinational company based in Mexico; he advises on organic agriculture and trains farmers in more sustainable and efficient production of vegetables and seeds, to be processed as organic health foods.
Fulvio Giaonetto is an agroecological producer and consultant who assists in the development of various CSAs (Community Shared Agriculture) in Mexico. He has worked with a wide range of Indigenous and peasant communities in Mexico, Central America and North America to train them in agroecology, production of organic inputs, and use of native medicinal plants. He has also worked as a consultant on agroecological production for the CSA of Plan B Organic Farm near Hamilton, Ontario, where he assists in the development of a network of exchange and technical assistance for small scale farmers.
Maria Cacari is an Indigenous woman leader in Nurio, an autonomous community in the Mexican state of Michoacán, which is known for its commitment to sustainable agriculture. She has maintained traditional Indigenous practices and can explain the nutritional qualities of traditional foods of the Purépecha culture, as well as the ways that this knowledge is being transmitted to the younger members of the community. She is the business manager of a family-run production of organic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
Valiana Aguilar and Angel Ku are Mayans from the Yucatan peninsula. For the past few years, they have been working with UniTierra in Oaxaca, a unique alternative to traditional education that honours autonomy, Indigenous knowledges and comida. They participate in rural community projects of food sovereignty and urban agriculture in Oaxaca City. As active members of the National Indigenous Congress, they have participated in important gatherings in Chiapas and have helped to organize international gatherings such as the Amaranth Congress in Puebla in 2018.
Dianne Kretschmar is one of the first organic women farmers in Ontario, and was the impetus for the establishment of Riverdale Farmers’ Market, the first farmers’ market in a Toronto park. After working professionally as a geologist, she started farming ‘organically’ in 1982 with no experience, only the determination to eat healthy food. Over 30 years, she has been a mentor to many young people, including five of the Legacies collaborators. Dianne is constantly researching better ways to farm and has been learning from the exchange with Indigenous food sovereignty practitioners.
Dan Kretschmar grew up on his mother’s organic farm and spent the first 18 years of his life there. He participated as a youth leader in the National Farmers Union and attended international gatherings of Via Campesina, learning about agroecology practices around the world. He believes that small scale farming is the only way to solve many of the issues in the world and working together is key. Since 2017, Dan has been teaching English in China, but remains interested in alternatives to the global corporate food system.
Ryan DeCaire is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Wáhta Mohawk Territory. Throughout his life he has had a great passion for restoring what he calls “life-affirming” human systems, focusing on Kanien’kehá:ka life ways. He has worked as a farmer, raising mixed crops and a variety of farm animals. He has a Master’s degree in Sustainability Studies at Trent University, where he focused on restoring Kanien’kehá:ka food systems in his community of Wáhta. Since 2013, Ryan has been a teacher of the Mohawk language, offering two-year intensive Ratiwennahnì:rats courses at both Six Nations in Ontario and in Kahnawà:ke, Quebec. He is currently an assistant professor of Mohawk at the University of Toronto and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Hawaii.
Anna Murtaugh and Adam Royal met while working with Dianne Kretschmar at Grenville Farm in the early 2000s. In 2010, they moved to New Carlisle, in the Gaspé region of Quebec, where they are farming on land belonging to Adam’s family. While they are raising three children and work on contract as substitute teachers, they are almost self-sufficient in food. They grow vegetables that they sell to a local farmers’ market that they helped to found. They also raise cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, turkeys and chickens. Anna preserves vegetables and makes cheese from the goat’s milk, while Adam is a part-time butcher for local farmers and hunters.
Six Nations Reserve, Oshkweken, Ontario
Chandra Maracle is founder and owner of Kakhwa’on:we/Real People Eat Real Food, and will host us when we visit Six Nations for a Legacies gathering in July 2019.
In 2010 she co-founded Skaronhyaseko:wa Tyohtera’kentko:wa tsi Yontaweya’tahkwa/the Everlasting Tree School on Six Nations where she developed the Tyonnhekwen Onkwaya’tekenhatshera Nutrition Program. She started her own business Kakhwa’on:we/Real People Eat Real Food and contributed the Healthy Roots initiative to recover traditional Haudensaunee foods. In 2017, she organized a major conference, “The Law is in the Seed: A Community Cornvergence,” with over 120 Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants. Chandra is currently pursuing a PhD at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.
Rick Hill is a Tuscarora artist and knowledge keeper at Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Formerly director of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge, Rick is the recipient of two honorary doctorates from McMaster and Guelph in 2016. Since 2018, he has served as an advisor for the project and is contributing videos on the history of the Haudenosaunee and the centrality of food in all cultural practices.
* Deborah Barndt is the co-director and co-editor of the Earth to Tables Legacies transmedia book and online platform. The Legacies Project builds on her 25 years of research on the NAFTA food system (Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globaliaztion on the Tomato Trail), teaching food sovereignty at the Coady International Institute, creating art projects for the local food movement. She is a photographer, community artist, and popular educator, and professor emerita in York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, where she still teaches a course on Environmental Arts and Food Sovereignty at York’s Eco-campus in Costa Rica.
* Lauren Baker is the co-editor of the Earth to Tables Legacies transmedia book. In the early 2000s, she completed her PhD on food movements in Mexico defending maize.
Lauren currently works as a research coordinator for the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, and teaches a food practicum course at the University of Toronto.
* Alexandra Gelis is a multi-media artist and the key filmmaker on the project. She is completing a PhD at York University on plants and colonialism in her native Colombia.
John Murtaugh is a passionate urban agriculturalist and composter, and was involved in the early years of farmers markets in Toronto. As one of the main convenors of the Legacies collaborators, he has also been an advisor, interviewer, and second camera for filming in both Mexico and Canada.
Min Sook Lee is a documentary filmmaker whose recent work has promoted migrant worker justice. She is completing a PhD at York University and is an assistant professor of Art for Social Change at OCADU.
Tzazná Miranda Leal is a Mexican-born and Toronto-based artist and activist, and a graduate student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. She is currently serving as a research assistant for the Legacies project, contributing artistic, organizational, and translation skills to the development of the transmedia book.