In a recent article in The Nation (“Retreat to Subsistence,” July 5, 2010), Peter Canby describes the seminal work of one of Grassroots International’s partners in Mexico, the Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juarez of Oaxaca (UNOSJO). Using UNOSJO’s work as an example, he explores the larger issue of of indigenous rights in Mesoamerica. The article also features Grassroots International grantee CEDICAM (Centre for the Integral Development of the Campesinos of the Mixteca Alta) In Mexico, where corn was domesticated in prehistoric times, indigenous communities still believe that Sin Maiz, No Hay Pais (Without Corn, there is no Country). For almost a decade, UNOSJO and our other partners and allies (like CEDICAM) have participated in a national campaign by that same name, organizing against genetically modified corn in Mexico. Canby examines the contamination of local corn varieties by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) created and distributed by transnational companies like Monsanto. Now indigenous communities, including members of UNOSJO, are on the front-lines of protecting their ecosystems from the incursion of GMOs that threaten their agrobiodiversity, developed over millennia by indigenous farmers. Canby also points out how peasant “subsistence” agriculture offers a sustainable way to grow food and highlights the important work of organizations such as UNOSJO and CEDICAM in defense of sustainable food and agriculture policies in Mexico. Click here to learn more about our work in Mesoamerica and indigenous rights.