Earth to Table Legacies: Introducing the Project
The first three images and voices in this video summarize the key themes and relationships of the Legacies Project:
1. The living soil is the first subject, honouring the Earth; the hands in the soil reflect the interdependent relations between humans and other elements of nature. Mexican urban agriculturalist Fernando Garcia reminds us of the millions of living organisms within a handful of soil, linking them to the human population.
Dianne Kretchsmar, settler organic farmer from Canada, represents one end of the food process, the co-creation of food with the Earth (growing, gathering, hunting, fishing). She also names a key culprit of the global environmental crisis and a major obstacle to developing local or national food sovereignty: corporate industrial agriculture.
2. Chandra Maracle, Mohawk community food leader from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, represents the other end of the food process, the cooking and gathering around the table to share a meal, as a political act that nourishes healthy bodies and good minds, while building communities.
These three Legacies collaborators also represent our main goal of promoting intergenerational and intercultural dialogue, sharing our practices and ideas of food sovereignty. As a young Mexican agronomist, Fernando travelled to Canada in 2002 to learn organic farming from Dianne; their relationship crossed both borders and generations. Chandra has worked over decades to redress the impact of colonization on the food practices of the Haudenosaunee and to recover healthy social practices like eating together – starting with her family and extending into her community and beyond. Through the Legacies project, we connected Dianne with Chandra, catalyzing a conversation that has found some common ground, while learning about the differences. Again an intergenerational and intercultural dialogue.
The rest of this video follows these two women and extends into their relationships, with the Earth and the table, with the young people who have learned from Dianne over the years, and with other Indigenous food activists (in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico) who share with Chandra a cosmovision that recognizes the interrelationships of all living things. We spend a day in Chandra’s kitchen, as she teaches Dianne to process Iroquois white corn; corn becomes a connector between many of the Legacies partners.
Along the journey, many issues are raised: who will be the farmers of the future? How can original foods be defended and recovered? How can we all find healthy alternatives to industrial processed food? How can we have a respectful dialogue between settlers and Indigenous people in the context of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations? Or in the geopolitics of trade agreements like NAFTA?
We don’t have the answers. We make the road by walking. This video was produced in 2017, the contexts have shifted and the project has evolved in many ways. This is an ongoing conversation which we invite you to join. A faciitator’s guide offers suggestions for using this video as a catalyst for your own intergenerational and intercultural dialogue.