After participating in Intercambio (Spanish for exchange) last spring in Veracruz, MX, I was really moved by the stories of many of the cooperative leaders and youth. I personally connected with all the individual stories because I grew up with immigrant parents and a migrant community many who were previously peasant farmers. While driving down from the community of Piedra Parada, our bus driver with his young family on board spoke about the one time he visited Monterrey, CA while he worked in the lettuce fields of the central coast. Many of the youth from Mexico spoke about having family in the U.S. and their fragmented relationships. Additionally, the youth from Nicaragua, shared with me their experience of being one of the first generation after the Sandinista revolution. For them, the revolution didn't follow up with all its promises, yet they are still revolutionaries at heart.
Intercambio 2014, Veracruz Mexico
When I learned that Intercambio would be rotated to Santa Cruz, I was more than enthusiastic to be involved with the planning process because it would mean that I would get to see them again. Intercambio is a platform to bring the voices of youth who are developing on the ground agricultural solutions by incorporating local knowledge, with agroecological training. Many of the youth hold ideals and visions of sustainability for their community and country that do not come across to larger decision making entities. For UCSC students interested in sustainability, learning from the youth network should bring to mind that the primary actors carrying out sustainable actions are always not called upon as decision makers.
Intercambio Award Ceremony