The spread of modern grocery chains could lift millions of African farmers out of poverty. Or it could ruin them.
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The Mutvitz cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico, sells a portion of its coffee on the growing global “solidarity market.” The farmers, who are part of the Zapatista rebel movement, see the coffee business as a way not just to move forward economically, but to strengthen their Mayan heritage.
Peasant farmers in Peru’s central highlands grow hundreds of varieties of potatoes. Now they’re being encouraged to sell them to high-end consumers. But potatoes are more than just food in the Andes – they’re part of a complex spiritual, biological, and cultural universe. Will the market change that?