Food Security: a definition
All community members have access to a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food production system that maximizes community self-reliance, social justice and environmental integrity. In the Q'eqchi' Maya context food security means having the space, resources and knowledge to grow corn, black beans and a wide diversity of other crops so that there is enough and more than enough food for all.
In the current Q'eqchi' Maya context, the leading threat to food security is the rising price of chemical fertilizers. When prices get out of reach farmers will sometimes opt to buy less fertilizers or none at all. In a normal year, these families will finished their stored supply of corn in July or August. In 2009, many families had already run out of corn in May. Late July and August are known as the "San Juan" months or the "hunger months." In 2009, for many farmers, the hunger months started in May. This phenomenon was the direct result of the price surge of fertilizers in 2008.
Another threat to Q'eqchi' Maya food security in the current context is the realitive lack of crop diversity. Over the last hundred years, Q'eqchi' agriculture has lost many of its traditional crops. Corn and beans are not only the mainstay of the Q'eqchi' diet but they are increasingly nearly the only field crop for many peasant families.