I was born in Italy and have academic training as a biologist. I came to Mexico in 1997, and live in the bioregion of the Purépecha Meseta, part of Purépecha Indigenous territory in Michoacán. I came here because I like the place and can continue my work with plants, with agroecology.
I am a grower, and I grow vegetables in a bio-organic and agroecological way. I offer technical assistance to many different small producers in different parts of Mexico. And I harvest plants, I teach about plants, I make herbal preparations and organic inputs with plants.
I work with my family and with other healers. I have four children. My sons Bryan and Jorge are learning about plants and medicinal herbs; they accompany me to workshops on making organic inputs. They are learning a way to make a living, and to value their Indigenous culture. My daughter Serena went to Canada in 2018 to learn from Plan B Organic Farm and the Legacies Project. My other daughter Valentina lives in our community.
We have a network called Red Coyote. The idea of this network is to share information toward a common purpose: to have a better quality of life and a better quality of food, always within a human rights and an Indigenous rights perspective.
For me, food sovereignty is the right of each person to eat well and to produce their own food, if they wish. Organic agriculture has become a big business here in Mexico. So we’re trying to recover ways of producing good quality food. Food sovereignty also has to do with distribution. I believe in a distribution system that is direct and has a short chain.
There are many schools, theories, techniques, and systems of growing: organic agriculture, permaculture, biodynamic farming, and so forth. When you have little to eat and it is poor quality, it doesn’t matter which approach you use. What is important is to produce food for the majority who don’t have enough to eat.
The Legacies project is interesting to me for various reasons. First, for the friendship. Second, for the opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledges, to learn new techniques and ways of thinking. And third, for the material we are creating; I’ve been able to use video “The Alchemy of Agroecology” in the workshops I facilitate on making organic pesticides and herbicides.
My dream would be to create a network between the three countries – Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, a network where young people could work together and learn from each other. We live in an Indigenous community; my sons are mixed blood and they don’t always see the value of Indigenous culture. There are growing techniques and traditional Indigenous knowledges, whether it’s Purépecha, Mayan, or Haudenosaunee, that are very profound. My dream is for all people, and especially young people, to connect with this knowledge, not with dead tradition (of 200 or 300 years ago) but with a living tradition, a dynamic culture.