Ancient Mexican Designs by Pepin Van Roojen

By Pepin Van Roojen

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The agroecosystem supports Jovita’s family, and the farming practices do not result in any lasting damage to the adjacent natural ecosystem. As long as weather conditions are stable with predictable rainfall patterns, the corn, bean, and squash polyculture is a sustainable system with a closed nutrient cycle contributed to by the waste products of animals and the farm family. Corn and beans provide a diet of complementary proteins, which is augmented by beef, chicken, eggs, and milk provided by farm animals.

Irrigation, seeds, and technical assistance were not available to the peasants, and some of the land had to be abandoned because of a lack of credit with which to purchase necessary farming supplies. Ejidos are governed democratically by a general assembly of ejidatarios and an elected three-member commission (comisariado ejidal) consisting of a president, secretary, and treasurer. All ejido towns and villages I visited have a centrally located comunidad agraria meeting hall. Meetings are typically held on the first Sunday of each month.

Estimates of the number of people who will ultimately be displaced run as high as 15 million people, or one in six Mexicans (Border Action Network 2004). The stories of these economic refugee families who attempt to maintain their family unity with family members dispersed between westcentral Mexico and central California must be told. They represent one strand of the ever-increasing worldwide migratory flow of humanity and reflect the experiences of migrants all over the world. 1 0 / T H E FA R M W O R K E R S ’ J O U R N E Y The American public has a responsibility to become informed about the human impacts of trade policies that are actively endorsed by their government leaders.

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