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Campesino a Campesino tells the inspiring story of a true grassroots movement: poor peasant farmers teaching one another how to protect their environment while still earning a living. The first book in English about the farmer-led sustainable agriculture movement in Latin America, Campesino a Campesino includes lots of first-person stories and commentary from the farmer-teachers, mixing personal accounts with detailed analysis of the political, socioeconomic, and ecological factors that galvanized the movement.

Campesino farmer leading a farmer to farmer training session in Mexico by Eric Holt-GimenezMany years ago, author Eric Holt-Giménez was a volunteer trying to teach sustainable agriculture techniques in the dusty highlands of central Mexico, with little success. Near the end of his tenure, he invited a group of visiting Guatemalan farmers to teach a course in his village. What he saw was like nothing he had known. The Guatemalans used parables, stories, and humor to present agricultural improvement to their Mexican compadres as a logical outcome of clear thinking and compassion; love of farming, of family, of nature, and of community. Rather than try to convince the Mexicans of their innovations, they insisted they experiment new things on a small scale first to see how well they worked. And they saw themselves as students, respecting the Mexicans’ deep, lifelong knowledge of their own particular land and climate. All they asked in return was that the Mexicans turn around and share their new knowledge with others—which they did.

CAC campo3_photo by Food FirstThis exchange was typical of a grassroots movement called Campesino a Campesino, or Farmer to Farmer, which has grown up in southern Mexico and war-torn Central America over the last three decades. In the book Campesino a Campesino, Holt-Giménez writes the first history of the movement, describing the social, political, economic, and environmental circumstances that shape it. The voices and stories of dozens of farmers in the movement are captured, bringing to vivid life this hopeful story of peasant farmers helping one another to farm sustainably, protecting their land, their environment, and their families’ future.