Nutrition and Resilience: Responsible Consumption and Environmental Empathy

A programmatic platform focused on everyday food consumption and its ties with environmental regeneration and food sovereignty. The activities included in this thematic intertwine practical learning about urban agriculture and cooking with informational dynamics and practices to raise awareness, facilitated by farmers, biologists, chefs, activists, and nutritionists.

The main objective is to motivate neighbors about the importance of being aware of the ecological, social, and health implications of their decisions about food and consumption, as well as to inform them about alternative forms of preparation, production, and circulation of local foods, which return to traditional knowledges and that seek empathetic relations with the environment. In order to achieve these goals, this platform also includes the production of informational and didactic resources, which are temporarily displayed at Salón Huev@ and serve to introduce visitors to the platform’s most important contents.


Along this line, Casa Gallina has housed cooking workshops that use wild ingredients from the Valley of Mexico Basin, as well as workshops and consultating sessions on urban agriculture, focused on adapting ecological cultivation methods to the urban context, and film projections coordinated by neighborhood residents and invited specialists. These activities, with a shared thematic axis, allow for the work and energy of the neighbors participating in each one of them to be integrated and to complement one another. The conversations that occur in the film projections expose relevant interests and problems that are addressed in new workshops and encounters. Similarly, the agriculture and kitchen activities are kept in sync, so that Casa Gallina’s garden operates as a source of knowledge and ingredients that nourish the cooking workshops, which in turn reveal preparations of underused local ingredients that be grown in domestic gardens.  

Strategy implementation programs:

Getting to know the garden: Recognition Session in Casa Gallina’s Garden

Date: January 26, 2019

Facilitator: Valeria Ramírez

Participants: 18 neighbors of Santa María la Ribera

 

An open call to neighbors for visiting Casa Gallina’s garden, learn about its general elements and become involved in its future activities.

 

Insect Inn

Date: March 8, 2019

Facilitator: Samantha Becker Nocetti

Participants: 20 neighbors from Santa María la Ribera

 

Environmentalist Samantha Becker coordinated the neighbors in creating a habitat inn for insects, using logs, straw, and leftover construction material. The residents became involved in the tasks of setting up the inn, which included cutting, drilling, and tying together different utensils, and also received theoretical information about how the inn operates and its importance for pollinating agents in a context of environmental deterioration.

The collaborative construction of this insect habitat inaugurated the urban agriculture activities in a new space of the House, which had been specially prepared for it. These activities seek to respond to a growing interest in the neighborhood in learning about urban agriculture, as well as to expose and problematize the ecological functions of domestic agriculture beyond food production.

 

Urban Agriculture Open Consultations

Dates: January – June, 2019

Facilitator: Valeria Ramírez, Aseneth Ureña

Participants: 40 neighbors from Santa María la Ribera

 

Casa Gallina’s garden is always cared for by neighborhood volunteers, who come to the house once a week to carry out maintenance, resolve issues for their own gardens, and harvest vegetables that they share between themselves and the rest of the community. These tasks are coordinated by residents with experience in horticulture and education, who take charge of the consultations for periods that span from six to twelve months.

The constant work of the consultations allows for a sustained link between the lessons in the kitchen and those of urban agriculture. It also enables sharing the harvest week to week and has allowed new people to get in touch with Casa Gallina, through the generation of new experiences with unfamiliar ingredients. As of May, the hours of the open consultations will be extended with the goal of attending to the scheduling needs of other sectors of the community, as well as to activate part of the House’s roof as a garden.  

 

Salón huev@: Food Consumption

Dates: March – June, 2019


To enrich the agriculture and kitchen activities of this period, Salón Huev@ was equipped with diverse didactic materials. In collaboration with neighborhood resident and illustrator Berenice Medina, we produced a series of packaging mock-ups for common industrial products, in which the risks of their consumption as well as homemade alternatives of yogurts, seasonings, and cereals were depicted. Additionally, a series of posters were made about the nutritional value of regional and seasonal foods, as well as other materials providing information about the labeling of food, commercial food products and also about common habits related to food waste.

Making programmatic content about nutrition and the environment available to people who are passing by allows for sharing specific high-quality information with neighborhood residents who do not have the time to attend longer activities, as well as offering an opportunity for those residents who wish to complement their experiences in the workshops and expand their knowledge.

 

Edible Gardens and Pollinating Insects Workshop

Date: April – May, 2019

Facilitator: Aseneth Ureña

Participants: 21 neighbors of Santa María la Ribera


An introductory workshop to the practice of agro-ecology, emphasizing its importance for the environmental regulation of pollinating agents, such as insects, plants, and flowers.

This workshop continues the process of activating part of Casa Gallina’s rooftop to implement urban agriculture dynamics, which started with the creation of the insect inn. After this workshop, the participants articulate projects to carry out actions of environmental regeneration in the neighborhood’s public space, which include making maps to identify and gather seeds, as well as developing small garden formats for business premises and planters, through a collaboration with other residents.

 

Milpa Workshop for Children

Dates: April – May, 2019

Facilitator: Valeria Ramírez

Participants: 15 neighbors of Santa María la Ribera


A workshop in which children, accompanied by their parents, started planting and caring for a milpa in Casa Gallina’s garden.

 

Workshop on Cooking with Plants for Teenagers

Dates: February – May, 2019

Facilitators: Gibrán Turón, Raúl Armando Gómez and Sebastian Siorda

Participants: 18 students from the CCCI

Partner: Centro Cultural y de Capacitación Integral

 

A workshop designed for students of the high school program at the Centro Cultural y de Capacitación Integral, which focused on teaching participants about the basic fundamental techniques for preparing food. The workshop emphasized learning about the nutritional and cultural importance of ingredients and dishes from the Valley of Mexico, so that they could imagine and implement forms of sharing what they have learned with the rest of the community.

The participants in this workshop organized an activity in La Dalia market, promoting and offering tastings of the ingredients that they used throughout the sessions. The activity aimed to raise awareness of new forms of preparing these ingredients, their nutritional and ecological value, as well as to stimulate their demand within the La Dalia market.

 

Where does our food come from? Nutrition workshop for children

Date: Saturday March 9, 2019

Facilitator: Tracy Cheveroni

Participants: 19 neighbors of Santa María la Ribera


Children from the neighborhood participate in a session with didactic dynamics to understand the notion of a “food footprint” used to the refer to the environmental impacts involved in our consumption of food.

 

Film cycle: From Consumption to Waste

Dates: March – June, 2019

Coordinators: Francisco García, Roberto Campos, Adrián Cuevas, Yvain Mouneau, Alberto Jyasu.

Participants: 120 neighbors of Santa María la Ribera


Programming comprised of films selected by different neighbors, whose narrative intersects with some phenomenon or context that represents or exemplifies problematics related to food waste and consumption. At the end of each projection, the neighbor who selected the movie facilitates an open conversation about how the film reflects situations that are present in the immediate context.

 

Presentation of the documentary Voices of Diabetes

Date: May 8, 2019

Coordinator: Katia García

Participants: 15 neighbors of Santa María la Ribera

Partner: El Poder del Consumidor A.C.

 

Nutritionist Katia Garcia, director of El poder del consumidor A.C. presented a series of clips that included different testimonies of patients with diabetes, discussing with the attendees about the social and commercial factors that are related to the increase in cases of this disease.

 

Xochimilco Cooking Workshop

Dates: May – June, 2019

Coordinator: Carlota Pacheco

Participants: 19 neighbors from Santa María la Ribera

 

Residents learn to prepare plates based on ingredients from the southeastern region of the Valley of Mexico. They also learn techniques for making the most of food waste and preparing natural seasonings free of additives and preservatives.

With this workshop, residents learn about regional ingredients that have currently fallen into disuse in the city, as well as about the context in which they are cultivated and prepared, thus emphasizing the value of promoting their consumption in the city and recognizing the current function of tradition and the social and ecological value of indigenous communities in the Valley of Mexico.

 

Food Coop

Date: May 30th, 2019

Coordinator: Luis Bracamontes

Participants: 15 neighborhood residents

Partner: Consumer Cooperative La Imposible


Luis Bracamontes from “La Imposible” a cooperative of local producers, presented the documentary Food Coop and introduced attendees to the issue of cooperatives and alternative economies.

This encounter enabled attendees to learn about the general elements of cooperativism and express their specific concerns regarding the development cooperatives at the local level. There was so much interest in the topic that the majority of the neighbors proposed to continue working on the issue and to participate in workshops and processes aimed at imagining cooperative projects in the neighborhood. 


Cooking Workshop: Discovering Flavors

Dates: February – May, 2019

Led by: Lizbeth Maximino Lara

Participants: 16 neighbors


In this workshop, participants learned to prepare dishes and preserves whose presentation and flavor would appeal to children and youths, so as to acquaint them with the consumption of wild fruits such as nanche, prickly pear, chilacayote gourd or capulin (similar to black cherry) and ingredients such as quelites (wild spinach), huitlacoche (maize truffle), maize and cactus. This workshop was presented by Lizbeth Maximino Lara, a neighbor and chef in the local restaurant Juliz.

The participants in the workshop “Discovering Flavors” cooperated with the children from the Summer Workshop “Holidays in the Cornfield”, developing a dynamics of sharing knowledge and reinforcing community linkages, in which the children made tortillas they decorated with vegetable dyes while the women prepared dishes that would go in the tacos they all offered to passers-by and neighbors. They also shared therecipe booklets. Due to this experience, new strategies are envisaged to program cooking activities in schools in Santa Maria la Ribera neighborhood.


Workshop on Urban Gardens for the Entire Family

Timeframe: June-August 2019

Led by: Dante Aguilar

Participants: 15 neighbors


Workshop on urban gardens for neighbors of all ages, focused on all participants starting their own kitchen garden taking into account the factors of time, space, cost and personal interests, with the aim to jointly articulate a network of complementary kitchen gardens. To do so, they carried out a sowing plan and decided which species each would plant, and the most suitable containers and techniques for each case.

Following the originally planned sessions, due to the consistency and interest of most participants, the workshop was extended to a second stage, where they worked directly in their homes, to mutually collaborate in setting up their urban kitchen gardens. Therefore, a basic planting manual was established, which included some of the experiences encountered in this workshop along with practical and financial solutions to approach urban agriculture. To care for them, they set up agreements on joint follow-up and management.

 

Encounters: The Maize Grains of Milpa Alta

Timeframe: 27th July 2019

Led by: Angélica Palma

Participants: 22 female neighbors

Associate: Calpulli Tecalco A.C.


Angélica Palma, a cook and activist for the preservation of local culture in Milpa Alta, spoke with participants in the “Discovering Flavors” cooking workshop and other neighbors. She presented the socio-historic and environmental context of the locality and explained the functioning and relevance of the agricultural system of terraces still in use today, but at risk due to urban sprawl and the severing of the intergenerational transmission of knowledge on regional indigenous practices. At the end, she taught them how to prepare a typical recipe of chilacayohtli broth.

Following this activity, a new collaboration with Calpulli Tecalco A.C. was embarked on, with the aim to continue disseminating indigenous knowledge concerning food, the environment and community-building.


The Space I Inhabit: Personal and Domestic Hygiene Using Herbs and Ecological Products 

Dates: October – December, 2019

Facilitators: Sami Esfahani and Leticia Flores

Participants: 18 neighbors


This workshop is a productive platform proposed by Leticia Flores, a neighbor and biologist, who collaborated with Sami Esfahani, a specialist in traditional Mexican medicine. It brings the community together to learn about making hygiene products, cleaning, maintaining the domestic space, and mental and physical health. At the workshop, the neighbors learned an ancient recipe for making biodegradable soap from used oil that also serves for other cleaning and hygiene products. They also prepared mixtures from herbs, plants, flowers, oils and wax in order to learn the plants’ properties and normalize taking care of the domestic space and the body using these products and mixtures.


A Garden in a Pot

Date: Octuber – November, 2019

Coordinator: Dante Aguilar

Participants: 20 neighbors


An urban agriculture workshop in which neighbors of all different ages participated. It was given by the horticulturalist Dante Aguilar and was focused on making efficient use of light, water and soil that is commonly found in small homes. It also focused on how to think collectively about the community vegetable garden whose crops grow in different houses to be exchanged between the participating neighbors later. The participants also worked directly in the Casa Gallina vegetable garden on tasks related to the winter season: prunins, soild preparation, making paths and transplanting.


Installation of the Compost Pen and Community Vegetable Garden on Peral Street 

Date: November, 2019

Facilitator: Aseneth Ureña and Fernanda Poblete

Participants: 20 neighbors


Derived from Creating Community: Brownfield Projects Lab, a number of neighbors organized themselves to install a project to prototype a network of community compost pen in a disused lot on Peral Street that they upkeep through a form of shared custody. The network they created considers the design and creation of a large-capacity, low-cost compost pen where the community can take their organic waste and learn how to make compost, thereby understanding the value of this towards creating a better handling of trash and creating fertilizer for the neighborhood’s plants. The neighbors installed the network’s first compost pen in Peral Street, designed and implemented a set of operating rules and publicity in the expectation of demonstrating how it works.