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Indigenous Foodways Tour

  • AMA 5a Avenida 6-17 zona 1 Quetzaltenango Guatemala (map)

Spend a week in the Guatemalan Highlands partnering with a local indigenous women's organization (AMA) to learn about foodways, food sovereignty and support AMA’s community projects to improve the quality of life for indigenous women and their families while building resilience in their communities.

Foodways are the cultural, social, and economic practices relating to the production and consumption of food. Foodways often refers to the intersection of food in culture, traditions, and history. This trip demonstrates the cultural significance and traditions around indigenous food within the Maya worldview (cosmovision) It is part of HSP’s ongoing effort to support indigenous communities in Guatemala and Arizona achieve food sovereignty.

What is Food Sovereignty?

Food sovereignty is a growing movement that is gaining ground throughout Latin America as indigenous populations rise up to protect and reclaim their indigenous lands while de-colonizing their food and agricultural systems. Since the Spanish invasion up until the current free trade agreements is locking countries like Guatemala into providing cheap supplies for the global north. Land and labor are taken to serve a global economic system while indigenous communities are kept in poverty.

Food sovereignty is about taking back control over what people eat in a community.

It includes:

  • Production:

  • Seed Saving.   

  • Returning to traditional, organic practices to push back against land grabbing to grow intensive monocropping which is destroying the planet

  • Maximising productive capacity for higher yields to grow on less land

  • Rainwater collection.


  • Countering marketing messages that the ancestor's foods are primitive or bad to celebrate and promote indigenous foods as part of a holistic cosmovision of our universe based on balance, wholeness, and spirituality

  • Linking political, ecological and social impact of companies


  • Promoting horticulture over agriculture. Farmers increasingly lose their lands when integrated into vertical distributions networks.   They frequently are not able to purchase inputs much less sufficient food. Therefore, focusing on women using the small amount of available land to grow food for family and for local sale rather than on commodity production that always faces boom and bust cycle.

Why the Indigenous Foodways Tour?

The trip has four overall objectives:

  1. To assist AMA’s community development programming through the funds raised through the trip’s participants’ fees

  2. Support individual families in the communities where AMA works through the construction of safer, smokeless stoves, and the small-scale agricultural projects

  3. Celebrating indigenous foods and practices on a local and global scale

  4. Provide a transformational learning experience for participants. The transform comes through analysing the structural reasons behind indigenous people's current challenges (land rights, global economic processes, industrial farming and consumption practices), while proposing an alternative worldview, ‘el Buen Vivir’, based around the values of food sovereignty, living in harmony with nature founded on the principles of wholeness, love and spirituality.


On this trip, you will

  • Learn about AMA’s (Asociacion de Mujeres del Altiplano) work supporting women and communities in the Guatemalan Highlands

  • Build smokeless stoves for rural Mayan families who are involved, the foundation of AMA’s theory of change

  • Work on a sustainable agricultural project in one of AMA’s communities

  • Learn about the principles of Mayan cosmovision and el Buen Vivir, particularly in relation to foodways. This includes experiencing a Mayan ceremony

  • Attend evening lectures from prominent Mayan scholars on the issues indicated above

  • Experience ‘El Dia Eterno’ by, staying in a rural highland community at AMA’s community center, including a go in a Mayan sweat bath, a weaving demonstration and learn about the importance of corn to the Maya

  • Receive a cooking class on indigenous dishes, attend a coffee and chocolate tour and try your hand at making the famous corn tortillas

  • All participants will receive a copy of AMA’s cookery book with key recipes from the week and includes the symbolic and cultural information about each dish

Cost of the trip is $1,170.00 (does not include airfare) 

Price includes:

  • All meals

  • Ground Transportation

  • Housing

  • Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance

  • Project donation to build a stove

  • Cultural Presentations

For More information:  contact


Earlier Event: May 19
Later Event: June 7
VCU Summer Trip