Stories of Change

Petrona (middle) at the food fair. Photo courtesy CIEDEG.

Selling Peaches and Speaking Up: Food Fairs Give Marginalized Indigenous Communities a Voice in Guatemala

Many children in our community aren’t getting the nutrition they need, Petrona Juliana Solís López said. That’s why vegetable gardens are so important.

She went on to describe the steps her community has taken to grow lots of different vegetables organically, to make sure they had meals with diverse nutrition and to sell produce to earn extra income. Petrona encouraged other families to be wary of processed foods and to remember the importance of a balanced diet for health, nutrition and overall wellness.

Petrona gave these remarks at a “food fair” in her community of Flores de Turansa. It’s an Ixil indigenous community in Guatemala. Through Church World Service and Guatemala partner CIEDEG, Growing Hope Globally supports marginalized indigenous communities in Guatemala as they become more food secure.

Food fairs like this one have been a key part of CIEDEG’s strategy in the program. These events are a time to recognize the hard work of the women involved in the program and to give them an opportunity to share what they have learned and the products of their labor. They also help get the issue in front of local authorities and others who make decisions on the issue. In this case, Nicolás Corío Ramírez from the Nebaj Municipal Territorial Planning Commission participated and congratulated the families on their hard work in producing healthy food for their families. Miguel Cuplay, the mayor of Flores de Turansa, spoke and expressed his thanks to CIEDEG for their partnership with the community. Through opportunities like this event, CIEDEG advocates for marginalized families and helps build bridges between participating communities and the public sector.

In addition to the panel of speakers, nine families sold a wide array of produce to guests. The fruits and vegetables for sale included celery, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, radishes, avocado, green onions, tomatoes, peaches, chili peppers and passionfruit. They also sold a variety of herbs and fresh-cut flowers.