Maria Blas Cacari

My Place

I’m an original inhabitant of Nurio, in the municipality of Paracho, an Indigenous Purépecha community, located in the Mexican state of Michoacán. I’ve lived here with my people and with food sovereignty almost my whole life. Nurio was founded 500 years ago, and people always grew food on a small piece of land at the back of the house.

My Passion with Food

From childhood, I knew about plants that are beneficial for humans as well as for our animals. I was raised by my great grandmother, a curendera (healer), who taught me about their medicinal uses. I always liked using plants to make something more natural.

Currently I’m working with my family to create organic inputs for fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides. We also make extracts and creams for medicinal purposes. We are around 60 women, young people and housewives, who go out to the forest to collect the plants. We rotate the places and are very careful to take certain plants and to leave others, so that we don’t damage or deplete the supply.

My Perspective on Food Sovereignty

Food sovereignty is to take care of the food we have and that we can produce without buying it. Here women are growing food in pots around their houses – tomatoes, chiles, onions, garlic. So they can harvest and use what they grow at home.

My Participation in the Legacies Project

I think that it is useful to meet people you don’t know and to learn from each other different ways of growing food. It helps us recognize that the plants we consume are very important. I enjoyed attending an agroecology conference with Deborah and John in 2018 and came to Canada for the Legacies gathering at Six Nations in 2019. Between what we eat and what we do, we are a family.