Munching with the Mujeres
Chopping tomatoes and simmering soup is nothing new for the women of Chaletenango; after all, they have been cooking hearty meals for their families for generations. Today, though, the tomatoes did not come from the market, but were picked from the organic garden next door, and the chicken was raised within the CCR region, ready to provide healthy sustenance and economic solidarity for the people of Chaletenango.
Rubia Guardado and Juanita Morales, CCR Women’s Secretariat coordinators, led the “Intercambio de Mujeres CCR” workshop last Saturday. A group of 20 women from different communities supported by the CCR gathered in order to learn about the importance of eating “green” and practicing a sustainable food culture. During the workshop, the women prepared all-natural organic soup, tortillas, chicken and refresco to demonstrate the health benefits of fresh, local produce.
By skipping out on the usual salt-ridden, physically and monetarily costly condimentos, and through discussing the concept of economic solidarity, the women saw that meals can be a route to sustainable living and healthier families. As one woman shared, economic solidarity means that “We use our own resources, our own products…what we have,” while “Learning to consume what is ours…it is important to eat what we grow.”
With the introduction of several community gardens managed by women in their own rural towns, as well as new initiatives to raise livestock for milk and meat, like the Mujeres Ganaderas, healthier eating and food sovereignty is being realized. Being able to move towards economic solidarity means independence and security for developing communities, and the benefits are abundant. As one woman explained, “It is better for our relationships with our neighbors. I give them tomatoes and they give me jocote leaves.”
Workshops like this one are giving women necessary knowledge and tools to lead their communities towards sustainability. “We want our children to be healthier,” one woman shared, “I don’t give my children soda anymore…we must be creative with our food”
Despite some doubt among the group, the all natural soup, tortillas, chicken, and refresco turned out to be delicious. No additives, condiments, or chemicals were used to make our lunch, just fresh vegetables, chicken, salt, pepper, natural herbs and spices, and very little vegetable oil.