We are bombarded with non-stop crippling news: a government shutdown over building a steel wall on our southern border while Central American refugees and migrants face criminalization and forced separation from their children. In Mexico, Nescafe is poised to invest $154 million dollars in a new coffee-processing plant in Veracruz, Mexico, which may place downward pressure on coffee prices and promote sun-grown varieties. Proposals for a Tren Maya throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas threatens Maya biocultural heritage prioritizing tourism over the well-being of Maya communities. Each headline raises the alarm of humanitarian crises, that will also shape our ecological future.
 
Let me issue a challenge for the New Year — let’s take back the headlines and focus on community-based solutions — real people making real change. CAN does this every day, gathering inspiration from our grassroots partners at the frontlines of the struggle for environmental and social justice. Small farmers in Nicaragua and Mexico are busy harvesting shade-grown coffee, community gardeners in Watsonville are nurturing the fertility of their soil with cover crops, and Maya farmers in Mexico are planning their annual native seed exchange. CAN is a NETWORK. Together, we build bridges across national borders, farming communities, youth and elders, and different ways of knowing. Please join us in celebrating our successes! Help make our stories go viral — pass them on to your networks!!! Below we offer a few highlights of the creative solutions that will be headlining at CAN in the year ahead.

MAYA AGROECOLOGY FOR DEFENDING NATIVE SEEDS AND HOMELANDS
New Project Launch

We are thrilled to launch a new project, Maya Agroecology for Defending Native Seeds and Homelands, with Ka Kuxtal Much Meyaj in Campeche, Mexico. We will work with young people and elders to conserve indigenous Maya seeds and lands and recognize the ancestral contributions of women to Maya Agroecology. Local youth will document a shared concept of Maya Agroecology that weaves seed conservation diversity, spirituality connected to land, and local economic activities into community-based narratives that reflect the voices of Maya farm families, particularly women.

GROWING JUSTICE YOUTH
Food Sovereignty Plan Pilot
 
Growing Justice youth, who are children of farmworkers, will pilot a food sovereignty action plan with Latinx migrant community gardeners from Mesa Verde Gardens. Their action plan emerges from researching their community’s experiences in the industrial food system, with a focus on creating alternatives that build from the community’s agricultural know-how, food culture, and history of civic engagement/community organizing. Watch for a report and photo gallery of their community dialogues and art exhibit, “Sabores y Saberes de la Cocina Ancestral (Flavors and Wisdom from the Ancestral Kitchen)!” 
AGROECO® COFFEE
Native Bee Project
 
AgroEco® Coffee will be making its way from the UCA San Ramon in Nicaragua and Campesinos en la Lucha Agraria/VIDA in Mexico to California. Every pound purchased will support the purchase of native bees for pollination and honey production. This is part of a 3-year effort in the highlands of Veracruz to re-incorporate and re-vitalize the stewarding of native bees in coffee forests.

COFFEE DIVERSIFICATION 
Data Collection

This Project  will finalize its 3rd year of data collection to support evidence-based decision-making by farmers cooperatives PRODECOOP in Nicaragua and CESMACH in Mexico as they promote practices to improve climate resilience, gender equity, food security, and livelihood. The learnings and co-creation of knowledge among farmers and researchers will be shared during the project’s second farmer-researcher exchange in Mexico this August.