Current Anthropology | VOL. 49

Food Globalization and Local Diversity

Publication Date Apr 1, 2008


Globalization is often assumed to lead to a reduction in cultural and biological diversity, but a view from the beginning of plant domestication suggests that the interaction of foods with forces along the global‐local continuum has outcomes for biological and cultural diversity that are contingent and difficult to predict. This phenomenon is apparent in the case of tejate, one of a family of beverages made with maize and cacao that have a very long history in Mesoamerica. Today, tejate is arguably the most important traditional drink in the Central Valleys region of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. It is commonly made with maize, seeds of one or two species of cacao, seeds of mamey, and rosita de cacao blossoms. Analysis of tejate's current role and its relationship with farmer‐named maize diversity in two communities of the Central Valleys, one less and one more indigenous, reveals that the preparation of tejate is positively associated with greater local maize diversity. At the same time, it suggests that t...


Local Diversity Cultural Diversity Biological Diversity Central Valleys Maize Diversity Southern Mexico Current Role Outcomes For Diversity Globalization Diversity Central Region

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