© Isadora Romero

Underrated Land

Humanity is experiencing a centripetal migration, a journey towards its own decisions and livelihood. Distinguished people, that were sometimes taken for granted, are being placed directly into the spotlight for the ardor service towards others. Among these heroic actions, clapping on balconies and quarantine; there is a missing lady. The one who has not received the prestige nor the acknowledgment that she deserves, the one who has witnessed the birth of every single human being. This underrated land, the one that allows us to stand still, still enough to survive changing times.

She has witnessed silently, like a mother; our challenges, successes, failures, and ingratitudes. Has absorbed our impatient yearn for food, our exuberant wish for the immaculate. Perfect color, perfect leaves, perfect roots. Our kind of perfect. We have changed our perception of beauty through time, perfection was rediscovered in distinctiveness. But for one reason or another, food is still judged with the same parameters that have been discredited by ourselves. Let it be shiny, with no wrinkles, no protuberances, please. Transgenic tags only. Judgy and selective consumption have led to huge amounts of food waste, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a third of the total aliment produced gets discarded. That's 1,300 million tons a year, almost enough to eradicate hunger.

Everything coming from the land is as flawless as it can be, its nurture, energy, and denouement. The outcome of a third act play where heaven and earth conspire to bring food to our hands. Eating is an act of existence, as is breathing, becoming so automatic that it loses meaning. Let this time serve humanity, to bring back conscious to the plates and sanity to the consumption patterns. For decades, humans have been dependent on agriculture, not only as a resource medium but as a way to make culture and inhabit spaces. It's the mechanical intervention of women and men in the land, that has always been under the feet of society. More than half of the inhabitants of the planet live in urban areas, covered deep in the pavement that soil appears only in flowerpots. The connection with the field is expressed merely through the food arriving at supermarkets and grocery stores. The faces under the sun, with soil under the nails, are mostly left to the anonymous.

The minimum recognition, lack of environmental education and poor governance result in agriculture far from sustainable. An activity where inequity gets in the way of global food security. Voices need to be heard, from all four cardinal points, demanding advocacy. One particular voice rises from Ecuador with relevance and light to what should be a trending topic in everyday life. Isadora Romero, an Ecuadorian visual storyteller; brings from the land to the analysis spectrum the project Ra ́Yi. A beautiful tribute to women in agriculture, facing unequal land ownership, absence of transportation resources and climate change consequences. This project, rooted in Bolivian lands, is just a projection of a global challenge that should be a concern of everyone proclaimed as a planet earth crewperson. Sustainable agriculture is a natural way, but also the road less traveled. The intrinsic relationship between land and culture is a work of art, as Romero herself expressed: “I wanted to portray the deep-rooted relationship that women have with the land, the crops, the territory, their identity, the care they have and the understanding of the living cycle. Ra ́yi is a tribute to those who resist and fight for a better future.” Let's sprinkle some Ra ́yi in our life, to face the drylands of indifference.

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© Isadora Romero

The field may seem far away for city dwellers, the hustle and thoughtlessness overshadow the land as the basement of a country. Integration and overall participation is the key to bring life to that underrated land. Small acts of conscious consumption make a huge difference in the wellness of the body and the effectiveness of sustainable systems. Finding equilibrium is about blending past and future, to construct a more righteous present. The responsibility of attending our gifted resources is not just a matter of survival, it's a hopeful response to the collective conscious of being part of the same universe. It's crazy that we can do it, by just pondering our plate three times a day.

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© Isadora Romero
Andrea Castillo
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Visual storyteller, poetry dilettante and devoted sailor of words and folkloric music. Spiritual ani... [read more]