Presidia Corner: Chinantla Vanilla – Mexico

Presidium Coordinator Elías García Martínez believes that the Chinantla forest is the birthplace of vanilla, as it’s the only place in the world where vanilla has been found wild. Here vanilla grows spontaneously, and the native communities have learned how to cultivate it while maintaining the delicate balance of the forest ecosystem.

There are 400 farmers taking part in the project which in 2000 received the recognition of the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity, and in 2004 they began drafting a production protocol to guarantee the quality pf the vanilla and the protection of the forest.

Elías recounts how important these steps foward are for the Mexican community. “ Slow Food is showing respect for our work and giving us the motivation to continue with our efforts. Slow Food recognizes the mission of the native Mexican population to respect nature. We are not the masters of nature. We are part of nature and we respect it.”

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