Plant With Purpose Addresses Food Security in Oaxaca, Mexico

Written by Plant With Purpose on September 28, 2012 in General

By Natalie Favorite

In June 2012, a strain of the avian flu struck Jalisco, Mexico, resulting in the government calling for 11 million chickens to be euthanized immediately. This caused a shockwave to roll through Mexico as eggs, a staple in the Mexican diet, shot up in price, ensuing in an egg shortage (read more here). 

Mexico has the highest per-capita egg consumption of any country in the world at about 400 eggs per person annually. This is over double the average U.S. consumption. Eggs are not only popular in the Mexican diet they are essential. Eggs are an affordable and easily accessible source of protein. 

This egg shortage exposes the problem of poverty in Mexico. While the middle and upper class are able to cope with the shortage by simply paying more for eggs, or by resorting to alternative forms of proteins such as meat, nearly 49 million people, or 47% of the population of Mexico, are struggling to receive the nutrition they need. The crisis is particularly pronounced among families and the elderly who live in poverty, as other family members try to cover their needs as well.

Chickens have long been a part of  Plant With Purpose’s work in Mexico. Plant With Purpose is empowering the people of Mexico to care for chickens and harvest eggs on their own property. Community members build chicken modules where families can raise chickens. Families are able to use the eggs and can compost the waste. Arnulfo Morales says, “We have eggs and meat right now, we even have two of the hens from the module that are not only laying eggs but are incubating.” 

Work is also being done to diversify diets and increase food security through family gardens. These encourage families to labor together, and provide fresh vegetables that benefit children, families, and the community! 

It has been encouraging to see the community gardens and chicken modules improving lives throughout the Oaxaca area during this scarcity, and we can only hope to see such changes in other communities in the future.

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