Milpa: From Seed to Salsa

Our book Milpa: From Seed to Salsa - Ancient Ingredients for a Sustainable Future explores through a blend of essays, recipes and documentary photography how the ancient agricultural knowledge and the wealth of 1000 year-old seeds and planting practices still in use among the Mixtec peoples of southern Mexico can help us to meet the ecological and food crises of today.

The essays, written in conjunction with campesino farmers, serve as a warning about the complicated dangerous effects inherent in the rapidly expanding distribution of GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds produced by Monsanto and other agro biotechnology firms. It details organic agroecological alternatives for campesino farmers across the world and gardeners and consumers who care about their food safety. Using the example of the Milpa planting system in the Mixteca Alta region of Southern Mexico, the book supports recent studies by UN investigators that show that small plots of land, heritage seeds and sustainable practices can in fact feed the world while enriching the soils on which we all depend for life.

Milpa is also a photo-documentry cookbook that contains the traditional recipes lovingly shared by the local indigenous Mixtec women, allowing readers to re-create the culinary magic that flows from this ancient agricultural system. Recipes are painstakingly tested and photographed in traditional indigenous kitchens as well as in a professional modern test kitchen.

Here we follow the ingenious return to the ancient Milpa* system through our personal experiences while working and living in the region. We have all learned so very much in this process and we wish to share it on a larger scale.

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