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A Development Paradigm for Community Well-being

Interview with Felipe Montoya Greenheck by Ortixia Dilts This article blossomed from my continuing delightful conversations with Felipe Montoya Greenheck. Initiated as an inquiry over the MILPA seed project as presented in Terralinguna’s publication, Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook (Earthscan, 2010), we soon diverged from our original subject and into the intent and thinking behind the MILPA projects, concluding with an inspiring model for community revitalization. …..tell me a little about Milpa. I began MILPA as a project to revitalize the living connection between Costa Rican rural communities and the traditional seeds they cultivated. Among the most memorable and enduring activities was a simple seed exchange among small farmers. Paying respects to the local seeds, traditional crops, and land races the participants brought to exchange was very important to tear down the ideology of the supremacy of “improved varieties” that had been introduced and officially promoted, displacing the traditional varieties. Their worth was restored and from that time on (since 1997), traditional seed exchanges have continued to take place in Costa Rica, mostly linked to organic farmers markets. MILPA also organized a conference on Cultivated Biodiversity which was declared of “national interest”. So MILPA pushed the issue among peasant farmers, NGOs and the academia, as well.

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