The Story that a seed holds….
The ancient and highly nutritious grain, Amaranth, was sacred to Mayan and Aztec civilizations. It was banned by the Spanish during colonization because of its use in traditional ceremonies. But Amaranth is strong! For hundreds of years, women gathered the wild varieties growing as “weeds” in their fields.
In 2004, two Kaqchikel Mayan women, Magaly and Maria Loiusa, brought us a handful of Amaranth seeds. We planted them in Rabinal, Guatemala, with a group of women from Qachuu Aloom. A lasting friendship formed between the Kaqchikel women and the Achi women of Rabinal through the lessons about how to grow and use this ancient grain.
Year after year, we planted. After 14 years, Amaranth is once again abundant in the 24 Qachuu Aloom villages. We use the grain and Alegria bars in our maternal health and nutrition project. As we care for the Amaranth, it helps restore the sacred connection we have to the plant world and heal the body and spirit.
As part of our farmer exchanges, we brought Qachuu Aloom’s Amaranth seeds to New Mexico. Soon, we realized that the plant was loved and remembered in the U.S. as well. It was once part of the diet in New Mexico and Arizona. We also heard stories from immigrant women from El Salvador remembering the Amaranth their grandmothers planted.
Amaranth is a symbol of our unity and resistance.
These seeds have connected us to many new friends and gardens. We have taught hundreds of people in New Mexico and California about this ancient grain. Through our Seed Travels project, we follow the movement of the Amaranth seed from Qachuu Aloom up into New Mexico and California. The Amaranth gardens we plant help us form and share deep relationships.
Amaranth Gardens Planted as Part of Seed Travels:
Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Food Sovereignty Program – Bishop, California
Villa Park Community Center – Pasadena, California
Milagro Allegro Community Garden – Highland Park, North East Los Angeles, California
Side Streets – Los Angeles
Community Services Unlimited – South Central Los Angeles
Seed Library of Los Angles – Venice, California
Espanola Healing Oasis – with Tewa Women United, Espanola, New Mexico
Owl Peak Farm – La Madera, New Mexico
Plant with us!
If you plant our Amaranth, please use the hashtag #seedtravels. That way, others can follow along on the journey!