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Organic Coffee: Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers

Organic Coffee: Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers

Paperback Latin America Series

By (author) Maria Elena Martinez-Torres

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  • Publisher: Ohio University Monographs in International Studies
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 13mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 15 August 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Ohio
  • ISBN 10: 0896802477
  • ISBN 13: 9780896802476
  • Sales rank: 1,339,697

Product description

Despite deepening poverty and environmental degradation throughout rural Latin America, Mayan peasant farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, are creating an environmental and economic success by growing organic coffee. Organic Coffee: Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers provides a unique and vivid insight into how this coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and marketed to consumers in the North. Maria Elena Martinez-Torres explains how Mayan farmers have capitalized on their ethnic networks to make a crucial difference in their approach to agriculture. Taking us inside Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, scene of the 1994 Zapatista uprising, she examines the anatomy of the on-going organic coffee boom and the efffects of the free-trade movement. The energy behind this phenomenon arises from very poor farmers forming cooperatives, revaluing their ethnic identity, and adding value to their land through organic farming. The result has been significant economic benefits for their families and ecological benefits for the future sustainability of agriculture in the region. Martinez-Torres explodes the myth that organic farming is less productive than chemical-based agriculture, and gives us reasons to be hopeful for indigenous people and peasant farmers. Organic Coffee ultimately shows how sustainable agriculture at the production end can make the coffee commodity chain into a tool for bettering lives and ecologies in poor regions of the world. About the author - Maria Elena Martinez-Torres is from Mexico and is Global Alternatives Associate at the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) in Berkeley, California. She is director of Desarrollo Alternativo, AC, a non-profit organization in Mexico that works towards alternative, sustainable development practices.

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Author information

Maria Elena Martinez-Torres is from Mexico and is research associate at the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) in Berkeley, California. She is also director of Desarrollo Alternativo, AC, a nonprofit organization in Mexico that works toward alternative, sustainable development practices.

Review quote

"Highly capitalized plantation groves are so degraded by erosion ... that their productivity is plunging. Organic practices appear to be seriously improving the soil, lending support to the notion that the process of conversion to organic is a real investment in building natural capital for the future." "Organic Coffee"