Organic Coffee: Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers

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Ohio University Press, 2006 - History - 176 pages
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Despite deepening poverty and environmental degradation throughout rural Latin America, Mayan peasant farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, are creating an environmental and economic success by growing organic coffee. Organic Coffee: Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers provides a unique and vivid insight into how this coffee is grown, harvested, processed, and marketed to consumers in the North. Maria Elena Martinez-Torres explains how Mayan farmers have capitalized on their ethnic networks to make a crucial difference in their approach to agriculture. Taking us inside Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, scene of the 1994 Zapatista uprising, she examines the anatomy of the on-going organic coffee boom and the efffects of the free-trade movement. The energy behind this phenomenon arises from very poor farmers forming cooperatives, revaluing their ethnic identity, and adding value to their land through organic farming. The result has been significant economic benefits for their families and ecological benefits for the future sustainability of agriculture in the region. Martinez-Torres explodes the myth that organic farming is less productive than chemical-based agriculture, and gives us reasons to be hopeful for indigenous peoples and peasant farmers. Organic Coffee ultimately shows how sustainable agriculture at the production end can make the coffee commodity chain into a tool for bettering lives and ecologies in poor regions of the world. ABOUT THE AUTHOR---Maria Elena Martinez-Torres is from Mexico and is Global Alternatives Associate at the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) in Berkeley, California. She is director of Desarrollo Alternativo, AC, a non-profit organization in Mexico that works towards alternative, sustainable development practices.
  

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I must say that I am disappointed with one obvious error in this book. Abu Ali Sina (Ibn Sina) also known as Avicenna was a PERSIAN physician, scientist, and philosopher born in Persian Empire and passed in the that same Empire in Hamadan (Today in Western Iran). To claim that he was Arab is wrong becuase he simply was not although he was a muslim. Having seen this error, I am not sure I would ike to read more about this book, because how do I know there are not more errors and historical spoofs in this work?
Sincerely,
The Persian New Yorker
 

Contents

1 The Spread of Coffee
6
2 How Coffee Is Produced
14
3 The International Coffee Market
28
4 The Geography and History of Coffee in Chiapas
48
5 State Society and Rural Development in Mexico and Chiapas
58
6 Sustainable Development Building Social and Natural Capital
70
7 A Study of Coffee Cooperatives in Chiapas
84
8 The Economic Benefits of Organic Farming
110
9 The Ecological Benefits of Organic Farming
120
10 Conclusions Sustainable Development by Mayan Farmers
129
Notes
141
Bibliography
149
Index
169
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Page xi - Acknowledgments This book would not have been possible without the help of the
Page xiii - Institute) INMECAFE Instituto Mexicano del Café (Mexican Coffee Institute) ISMAM Indígenas de la Sierra Madre de Motozintla

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About the author (2006)

Maria Elena Martinez-Torres is from Mexico and is Global Alternatives Associate at the Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA) in Berkeley, California. She is director of Desarrollo Alternativo, AC, a non-profit organization in Mexico that works towards alternative, sustainable development practices.