Affectionately called “Professor” by his neighbors, Josefino Martinez is a well-respected indigenous farmer and community organizer from the remote town of Chicahuaxtla, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. He watched with patient attention as I showed him photographs of Soul Fire Farm, my family’s organic farm in the mountains of upstate New York.
Western agronomists would have us believe that Triqui farming practices are irrelevant today.
I tried to convince Martinez that our farms had a lot in common. “Like you, we have marginal mountain soils and steep slopes, and we’ve worked for years to build up the fertility,” I explained.