Alicia Procello Maddox – Pesticides and the Effect on Women in Mexico

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In 2018 and beyond, the world is changing. One of the biggest initiatives around today is the use of sustainable food growing practices and ending the use of toxic chemical compounds in farming. At the Avery Dennison Foundation, the president, Alicia Procello Maddox is making it a priority for the foundation moving forward. Upon analyzing the current state of affairs in some of the world’s most impoverished regions, Alicia Procello Maddox and her team, have come upon a number issues that are affecting the biodiversity of the once fruitful lands, and threatening our future’s food supply.

Despite certain steps forward, pesticides still manage to touch on every aspect of our lives. From the residues left behind on our vegetation, to the effect these toxic compounds have on human life; toxic compounds are killing off our food supply and hindering the health of the communities that they come from. One prominent example lies in a small farming village of Venustiano Carranza, in Mexico’s southernmost state, sharing a border with Guatemala, a “powerhouse” in food production. The village has a population of just over 750, and most, if not all, of these indigenous peoples are dependent upon farming for their livelihoods, and their annual crops are vital to their survival. Research done on this village has indicated that toxic compounds and issues in the food supply are leading to a disturbing increase in women experiencing malnutrition, illness, and even death. Their poor diets, that are contaminated with pesticides, and carcinogens. Women suffer the most, as their place in the society is a secondary one. Something Alicia Procello Maddox has spent her career fighting.

The team at Avery Dennison and Alicia Procello Maddox have been working alongside a local group known as Batsil Antsetik, A.C. The group is using a $2500 grant to establish an environmentally friendly, and self-sustaining organic food production center, in which members of the community will be trained and taught how to operate in a modern farming world, and alternatives to archaic toxic compounds. Not only will the farmers be trained and taught better, and safer practices, but also increasing and improving the food security for the 33 families in the area and their women. With women suffering the brunt of the issues from the environmental devastation, Alicia Procello Maddox believes it prudent to have female leadership at the helm.

Throughout history females have always been known to put the family first, and sustainability isn’t an individual issue, it is one for the community. Alicia Procello Maddox believes the female leadership will not only secure inclusion of all community members, in agricultural decision making but also help bolster the status of women as a whole. Alicia Procello Maddox and her team will include organic farming, environmental sustainability, nutrition, poultry and rabbit management, composting, and organically growing fruit trees. In addition to the farming practices, Alicia Procello Maddox has made sure to have workshops to build women’s leadership training and create an exchange of ideas platform with women from other communities. AlciaProcello Maddox and her team hope this initiative will reduce the use of harmful pesticides, increase the local food production to improve nutrition for children and women, promote women’s leadership, and encourage public conversations on gender equity and human rights.

 

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Author: Alicia Procello Maddox

Alicia Procello Maddox serves as president of the Avery Dennison Foundation at the Avery Dennison Corporation.

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