GREEN
09/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Food In Mexico: Big-A Answers And Little-A Answers

If Mexico City showed me how Mexico's culinary past interacts with a highly industrialized version of a culinary future, I found new visions of that interaction in Guadalajara, a city of 1.6 million people a few hours northwest of the capital.

There, I met Eva Robles and Pepe Godoy of La Coa Collective -- a group on the avant-garde of Mexico's version of the local-food movement. (Coa is a kind of pointed hoe used by pre-Colombian farmers.) Godoy runs the small artisinal bakery Pan Arte in downtown Guadalajara; it wholesales to local restaurants and cafés. The bakery, along with a separate cafe project, funds La Coa's activist work, which is to defend the land rights of campesino smallholders against the claims of wealthy landlords. Robles, a trained lawyer, spearheads that task. Coa is also active in Defensa de Maiz, a broad-based movement to protect the biodiversity of Mexico's corn agriculture against encroachment from the large agribusiness firms that increasingly control the country's corn trade.

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