Plant-Forward Perspectives

Reclaiming the Earth through Plant-Forward Perspectives

Working with traditional knowledge is one way to resist Western-dominant narratives put forth by colonialism. This knowledge system is often local in nature, passed on orally, and contains information and worldviews on language, naming systems, characteristics of plants and animals, rituals, and values. As Western medicine in the United States has become a hegemonic tool that asserts exorbitant prices, pharmaceuticals, and dependency on insurance companies, many are returning to traditional knowledge systems as an alternative. Zine creators like La Yerbera use written form to share this knowledge with its readers. In so doing, they promote a connection to the Earth and to ancestral beliefs. In “A Tale and Interview with My Grandfather,” Vivi Moreno turns to her grandfather’s knowledge of plants to find alternative ways to treat a variety of maladies.

Resistance not only happens in the form of reclaiming ancestral crops, but also in what one abstains from eating. Trowbridge and Mendoza argue that studies “suggest that as immigrants become more acculturated, their diets change and obesity increases from one generation to the next” (p. 85). Though not all Latinos are immigrants (they did not cross the border, the border crossed them), those that are and assimilate to U.S. culture eat less fruits and vegetables while consuming foods with high fat (p. 82). According to Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel, the “Standard American Diet has been imposed through Americanization programs, school lunch programs, targeted advertising campaigns, and national food policies” that have had grave effects on Latinx communities (p. 26). Latinx zinesters have put forth plant-forward diets that encourage healthier lifestyles while protecting other species as a form of healing. Rebel Mariposa’s vegan outlook allows her to reconnect with her family’s recipes in a new way. This interesting wrinkle of veganism considers speciesism, a prejudice that treats certain animals with more dignity than others.

Some people, especially those practicing veganism, point towards the protection of animals as a moment of intersectionality that aligns with fighting sexism, as González suggests in her piece “Speciesism is a Feminist Issue," wherein she depicts a woman running in solidarity with various members of the animal kingdom. In “If we claim to be intersectional,” González subtly incorporates connections with other forms of oppression, such as racism, to advance her argument.