Breaking the Silence, a Maritime group working in solidarity with Guatemala, is organizing a Maritime tour for Gregorio Ajcot Soso (Goyo), a permaculture practitioner for 16 years and works for the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture (IMAP) in Solola, Guatemala.
The local committee of Breaking the Silence is organizing a public meeting with Ajcot on Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m. at the Farm Centre, 420 university Ave. Charlottetown.
He will share his experiences in sustainable agriculture and the current situation in Guatemala.
Permaculture is a branch of ecological and environmental design which promotes sustainable agriculture. The core principles of permaculture are: take care of the earth, take care of the people and share the surplus.
Ajot is an indigenous, Mayan peasant farmer who comes from San Lucas Toliman, a small community of 15,000. In this coffee dependent economy he spent long hours picking coffee beans to be sold to intermediaries for miserable prices.
But he was always taught the importance of diversity and seed saving by his parents as a young boy. “I grew up in the culture…my education was in the countryside,” Ajcot says.
Ajcot first learned about permaculture in a course given by an Australian in1996. There he learned three basic tools for permaculture: ancestral knowledge, knowledge from nature and modern knowledge.
Four years later the Mesoamerican Institute (IMAP) was born. Since 2010 Mr. Ajcot has been managing all on site permaculture systems, including many gardens, a food forest, grey water recycling, composting, and humanure systems, as well as running the on-site native seed bank.
Guatemalans have been saving seeds for thousands of year. “Seed-saving, one of IMAP’s principles, is essential for cultural and biological diversity “Without seeds there is no food”, says Ajcot. “Food sovereignty begins with seeds.”