Mexico’s New Movement Institute for Indigenous and Peasant Youth
Photo from Unitierra de Oaxaca
Mexican Movements Celebrate Launch of Agroecology Institute
At the end of June, social movement representatives from across Mexico and other parts of the Americas gathered in Guelatao, Oaxaca to launch the Latin American Institute of Agroecology, Mexico, or IALA Mexico.
“IALA Mexico will be a territorial space for autonomous training, supported by a fabric of territorial organizations, the majority of Indigenous and peasant origin, with training processes dating back more than 25 years,” described Grassroots International partner CLOC-Vía Campesina, one of the convenors of the launch.
The institute seeks to “massify” or scale outward the innovative forms of agroecology practiced by Mexico’s peasant and Indigenous communities. It also seeks to strengthen resistance to the structural violence facing rural communities, from genetic contamination by GMOs to land grabbing for corporate megaprojects.
IALA Mexico is putting particular focus on rural youth. The Guelatao Declaration accompanying the school’s launching stresses “the lack of concrete spaces for participation that allow [youth] to make their choices, without breaking the community fabric and in conditions of constant violence where they, along with children, are especially vulnerable.”
The institute thus strives to be one such space, equipping young people with ancestral wisdom informed by their current realities: “The ancestral wisdom that we have cultivated for generations continues to give us light and meaning. Its legacy is essential to sustain life and future for us, as for all beings that inhabit our territories.”
The inauguration of IALA Mexico makes it the tenth IALA in the Americas, and the first in the North American region. While the IALAs share some common features and principles, each one is unique, based on its particular biocultural context. IALA Mexico is no exception.
In particular, IALA Mexico intentionally bridges peasant and Indigenous identities, practices, and cosmovisons through the partnership of La Via Campesina Mexico and Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca/Union of Organizations of the Sierra Juárez of Oaxaca, UNOSJO (also a recent member of La Via Campesina). IALA Mexico is also unique in its decentralized and “territorialized” design that includes branches throughout different parts of the country.
Grassroots International is honored to be a supporter of IALA Mexico and to be in long-term accompaniment of the movements behind it. We salute our movement partners on this massive achievement and look forward to continuing to learn from and with them.