How do we rekindle our hope during the darkest of times? With regard to the current crisis at our border, many of us have felt anxiety, distress, frustration and horror over the way many people have been repeatedly been treated during their efforts to gain political asylum, seek sanctuary and secure dignified livelihoods in the U.S.
Well, in Anthony, Texas today, I was deeply inspired by both the remarkable food justice work being done and the social commentaries we heard from the staff of La Semilla Food Center. They are among the many compassionate, hard-working and innovative practitioners of social justice who are already guiding rural Mexican-American colonias and other communities toward greater self-reliance so that they may achieve food sovereignty. They are literally sowing the seeds of food justice as a means to gain broader social justice for communities formerly marginalized and oppressed in southern New Mexico and West Texas. My old friend Cristina Dominguez-Eshelman, Director of Agroecology and Farm Education at La Semilla’s farm in Anthony, has not only been growing healthy food but also building community around such actions for many years. Their programs extend from their own farm out to school and community gardens in the border region between Las Cruces to El Paso.
Now, here’s the key thing: If our governmental agencies and philanthropic foundations would also invest in the development of greater self-reliance and livable wages in rural communities in Mexico and Central America, I doubt whether the people of Mexico and Central America would need to emigrate, engage in violence, drug or sex slave trafficking as much as their conditions force them to do today.
The seeds to the solutions that we need on both sides of the border are already germinating among the youthful, dynamic and ethical leadership of La Semilla Food Center and many other social justice groups. I pray that their strategies and ethics will spread into other parts of the binational borderlands, to the rest of Mexico and Central Mexico, and to our blighted cities in the North where drugs and violence are currently crippling many youth who might otherwise become dynamic leaders there.
Read more about the vision and leadership building of La Semilla Food Center.
Written by: Gary Nabhan and Kristy Nabhan-Warren