When I visited photographer Judith Cooper Haden in her Santa Fe home recently, she showed me the final proofs for Milpa: From Seed to Salsa, Ancient Ingredients for a Sustainable Future. The book explores the Mesoamerican way of growing, cooking and eating food.
The photography is stunning! Four years in the making, the book is a collaborative visual narrative filled with pictures that touch your heart, delicious recipes you’ll want to cook, and cultural commentary to understand more about how Oaxaca’s original people grow their food and the risks associated with environmental devastation.
The book will be ready for printing, distribution and purchase shortly. It is a combined effort by community development organizer Phil Dahl-Bredine, Jesus Leon Santos, Goldman Environmental Prize winner and director, Center for Integral Small Farmer Development in the Mixteca (CEDICAM), cultural photographer Judith Cooper Haden and chef/teacher/author Susana Trilling.
You can pre-order this book today!
firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-984-9849 USA
With 289 pages and 267 photographs and bilingual presentation, it explores food issues, presents mouth-watering recipes, and offers stunning documentary photography about how the ancient agricultural knowledge and the wealth of 1,000 year-old seeds and planting practices are being revived in the environmentally devastated Mixtec region of Oaxaca. Through example, the narrative can help us meet the ecological, health and food crises of today.
This is a taste of what is to come.
Judy Haden says, “I had no idea I was initiating a 4-year long odyssey when I asked Phil Dahl-Bredine, a 14-year resident in the Mixteca Alta, if I could somehow help him and the non-profit CEDICAM. This first discussion over hot chocolate on the Zócalo quickly became the seed of a ‘political cookbook’ that incorporates Phil’s thought-provoking essays on local food and international sustainability issues, heritage seeds and the ill effects of GMO’s, Susana Trilling’s tasty and carefully tested traditional recipes from our Mixtecan cooks/contributors, and my own images.
“The sepia portraits and the color food shots are, I think, so helpful in really understanding the conditions and the situation in the Mixteca Alta (a short hour north of Oaxaca City). Susana and I traveled to many small towns and villages over two years to interview the members of CEDICAM (http://www.cedicam-ac.org/) and spend hours with them learning and documenting their delicious recipes, and the planting of the crops. We visited feast days, religions holidays and private homes. Our plates were always full!
“The book is divided into different sections based on each milpa crop. As Charles C. Mann explained in 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, “A milpa is a field…in which farmers plant a dozen crops at once including maize, avocados, multiple varieties of squash and bean, melon, tomatoes, chilies, sweet potato, jícama, amaranth,and mucana….Milpa crops are nutritionally and environmentally complementary.”
The book has received heart-warming advance endorsements from many people, including Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Lila Downs, vegetarian chef and author Deborah Madison, agro-economist Miguel Altieri, photographer Phil Borges, Chef Iliana de la Vega, seedsman Steven Scott/Terroir Seeds and food author Peter Rosset. This is very gratifying to the authors after working so long and hard on this project.
Milpa: From Seed to Salsa is an extraordinary book in many ways. It is a hopeful book that shows in careful detail how extremely well the old ways of farming and living in community can not only feed rural populations but also provide them with medicine and fodder for animals. This is a viable alternative to big agriculture and so-called improvements from elsewhere; this is a fine example.
Milpa is also a remarkable book because, like the community of families that tends the milpa fields, this book is product of cooperation among some very extraordinary people—two activists, a chef, and a photographer, who all found a way to bring to light a story of hope with great wisdom and beauty, with the cooperation of the Mixtec community who live the life this book allows us to witness. I am so grateful for this book. It is a treasure.
~Deborah Madison, Chef, Writer, Teacher, James Beard Award winner.
The book is bilingual (Spanish and English), with 290 pages and 276 images. It is beautifully printed in full color. Regular retail is $40. Pre-orders through August 31st receive a 10% discount and a signed copy….and the first 25 pre-orders will receive a free 5”x7” brown-toned image from the book. Shipping is additional. We use USPS Media Rates. Ship date is late September 2015. For orders and additional info, please write to:
Judith Cooper Haden, email@example.com
Biodiversity Fair in Union Zapata, Oaxaca, Saturday, November 24, Plus New Vegan Cafe
The Biodiversity Fair celebrates Oaxaca’s organic food. This includes not only the criollo (natural, unmodified, original) corn of the Oaxaca Valley. The fair encompasses all parts of Oaxaca State where farmers are using organic fertilizers and native seeds: peppers, squash, tomatoes, sunflowers, and more! There is no GMO here! Please come to support the small scale growers who make our food nutritious and honest. Eat good food. Support small scale farming.
2017 Biodiversity Fair Retrospective with Photos
Here’s the poster. Union Zapata is a small village just before you get to the Mitla-Matatlan crossroads on MEX 190 Carretera Nacional.
Meet me at the Biodiversity Fair, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018
My Friday Oaxaca Meander
After Thanksgiving at Los Danzantes with friends, I spent the day after NOT shopping on Black Friday, but meandering Oaxaca city, running errands and in a constant state of discovery.
Discovery One: Hierba y Dulce, a new vegan restaurant tucked in the patio behind Oro de Monte Alban silver and goldsmithing workshop on Calle Porfirio Diaz 311, between Matamoros and Morelos. Check it out! Comida Curativa. Curative Food.
In Need of Coffee: Nuevo Mundo
I made a quick stop at Nuevo Mundo, my go-to coffee purveyor. I love their roast. I’ve tried others and keep going back to this Oaxaca mainstay on M. Bravo between Garcia Virgil and Porfirio Diaz.
Discovery Two: They have a new roast at Nuevo Mundo called Gourmet. Darker and more flavorful than the house blend.
Pastry still life at Nuevo Mundo Coffee Roasters. Great sweets.
The messages at Nuevo Mundo: Wean yourself from using plastic bags …
Oaxaca environmentalism: Don’t use plastic bags.
and stop using straws that end up in the guts of marine mammals, are toxic and contaminate the environment. I say, Use your lips!
Straws are an environmental hazard, says Nuevo Mundo. Use your lips.
Global warming is real. Of course, eliminating straws from our juice sipping habits is only a small part of what it takes to reserve environmental destruction. Let’s get more teeth into the EPA and tell our governments to control big business emissions that pollute our environment.
Posted in Cultural Commentary
Tagged biodiversity, environment, Mexico, Oaxaca, protection