Agroforestry is an act of resistance and resilience.

 For Costa Rica’s Indigenous Bribri women, agroforestry is an act of resistance and resilience.

In Costa Rica’s Talamanca region, Indigenous Bribri women are championing sustainable agroforestry practices in a tradition that stretches back for millennia.

Known as fincas integrales, it’s a system that mimics the diversity and productivity of the forest: timber trees provide shade for fruit trees, which in turn shelter medicinal plants, amid all of which livestock and even wildlife thrive.

One of the few matrilineal societies in the world, the Bribri women are taking back their leadership after decades of decline and social problems in the community.

Talamanca is also home to vast monoculture plantations of crops like bananas, a completely different farming system that relies on the heavy use of pesticides — a practice that the Bribri women say destroys the land.

Cocoa is sacred to the Bribri, forming the core of many rituals, Campo de Diablo community, Watsi, Talamanca, Costa Rica. Image by Monica Pelliccia for Mongabay.

The Bribri are one of the world’s few matrilineal societies: land is handed down from mother to daughter. Cocoa is at the center of another noteworthy ancestral practice, forming the core of their sacred rituals. “Cocoa represents women in our cosmovision,” López says. “We drink it for marriages when a person dies, when we are pregnant for the first time. Cocoa is purification, it represents our blood.”

Cocoa: Power, memory, and resistance

SOURCE: Monica Pelliccia is an independent multimedia journalist. Follow her work on Twitter via @monicapelliccia.

Populaire posts