Prosumers and Alternative Food Practices in Mexico: Between Pre-Hispanic Tradition and Social Innovation

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
The nutrition transition and neoliberal policies that Mexico has seen over the last three decades have driven the country to (among other things) a sovereignty and food autonomy crisis on the one hand and an epidemic of obesity and illnesses connected to malnutrition on the other. This loss or gain of knowledge is intimately linked to incapacity or capacity for organization and to the generation, provision and analysis of information or its opposite, disinformation. As a response to this widespread loss of nutrition knowledge, a new type of consumer has emerged in recent years that is not only more attentive to what he/she consumes but also to the way in which food is produced and the people who produce it.

This process is creating a series of collective experiences that, on the one hand, recover some pre-Hispanic traditions of production (milpa or polyculture directed towards value in use), distribution (tanguis, as a way of selling immersed in traditional relationships) and the consumption of foodstuffs (recovering plants called quelites, which have a high nutritional and symbolic value). At the same time, they deploy a series of innovative social practices within the socio-cultural context of the country, characterized by a collective culture focused on resilience.

Taking our ethnographic work as a starting point, in this presentation we will show a range of experiences in different areas of Mexico (Altiplano Potosino, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Oaxaca) to identify the actors and the different conditions that form these emerging processes to build some levels of food sovereignty which involve developing an information culture, a communication/organization culture and a knowledge as a way of facing up to the world processes disabling food sovereignty.