Seeds of Inspiration

Seeds of Inspiration

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John Ahni Schertow
May 28, 2011
 

Indigenous women in Central America are coming together to spread the lost knowledge of an ancient Maya food source and put an end to hunger, poverty, deforestation, and gender inequality.

Seeds of Inspiration tells the story of The Equilibrium Foundation’s Maya Nut Program which is helps to empower rural Central American women by educating them about a little known, but highly nutritious and free indigenous food source, the Maya Nut. Through individual narratives, the film chronicles the transformational experiences of indigenous women and families in the community of La Bendición, Guatemala, who have benefited from the Maya Nut Program.

Among 50 or so other names, Maya Nut is also known as Breadnut, Ramón, Manchinga and Brosimum Alicastrum. The climate-resistant Maya Nut is low in fat, but high in protein and other vitamins and minerals and it grows locally.

2000 years ago, the nutrient-rich nut was a staple food in the Maya diet; but in more recent times, it has been neglected as a source of nutrition and viewed as a famine food. Forests where Maya Nut trees grow in abundance, are often destroyed and replaced with cash crops.

The return of the Maya Nut is having a powerful effect on hundreds of communities throughout Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador as well as Peru, Haiti and Jamaica. In a nutshell, the organic food is helping to assuage the problems of poverty, malnutrition, gender inequality, exploitation of women and deforestation.

However, being an organic food, there is also a downside to the Maya Nut: the International market. Buyers in the US want to get Maya Nut as cheap as possible so they can compete with various other products. As Erika Vohman, founder of The Maya Nut program, notes in the trailer for Seeds of Inspiration, “Alot of companies are really tempted to, and even are successfully, in some cases, saying that women should work basically for free.”

When it comes to organic food, that’s probably more common that most people will admit. nevertheless, the positive effects of the Maya Nut far outweigh the unfortunate realities of modern industry.

For more information, please visit http://www.mayanutsmovie.com/ and http://mayanutinstitute.org/

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