The Maya Milpa (Kool) calendar


The Milpa (Kool) 2022 calendar

The Mayan Milpa (Kool) farming system is a polyculture consisting primarily of corn (maize) grown together with pumpkins, beans, squash and other crops. As part of her Palaeobenchmarking Resilient Agricultural Systems (PalaeoRAS) PhD project, Karla Hernandez-Aguilar has co-created a unique calendar, in Spanish and Mayan (Yucatec Maya), celebrating the importance of the Milpa system, traditional knowledge systems and culture.

The idea of the calendar was pitched by Karla in 2020 when due to Covid-19 she had to adapt her PhD data collection methodology: the challenge was to encourage farmers to keep recording daily data in the field, in an easy and creative way while Karla was stranded in the UK during lockdown! This calendar helped as a new research tool that Karla and the farmers have been able to successfully deploy to achieve their aims. Given the success in 2021, a new version was re-launched in 2022, featuring milpa systems from Mexico and Belize. This new edition features the past and present of the Maya milpa system, the transformation and resistance stories of Maya agricultural systems across time and their adaptation processes.

The calendar recognises and promotes the hard work of Maya small-scale farmers and their families, whose food security, income and social and cultural identity are intimately tied to the Milpa (Kool) system. It also highlights the importance of local knowledge systems within this traditional farming system. The calendar assists farmers by showing the phases of the moon throughout the year, monthly activities and practices, bio-indicators for weather forecasting, traditional Mayan dates and rituals associated with the milpa and annual weather seasons. This allows them to keep a record of how traditional Milpa activities are being adapted in each community in the face of climate change. For those who are not already experts, there is even a page describing the specific activities associated with Milpa and when they take place during each phase of the moon.

The co-creation and distribution of this calendar aims to reinforce links between Milpa farmers in Mexico and Belize, thereby supporting the continuation of this significant, ancient and sustainable farming system.

Highlights of the calendar can be found in here.

Designed, printed and distributed in collaboration with Nazario Poot, Benito Chi Chulin, Isais Pech, Concepcion Perea, Gary Canto, John Tzib, Jose Luis Uck, Sabino Yam, Cristian Canul, Nailea Dzul, ShirleyRodriguez and Wilberth Xicum, farmers and young people from the communities of Maxcanú, Tzucacab, Xoy, San Antonio, San Jose Succotz and Patchakan in Mexico and Belize.

Funded by Karla Hernandez-Aguilar and The Future Food Beacon



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