"We have been working with maize since the earliest of times. We only use natural methods and fertilizers when we work with our crops. If we are late to sow, disease will damage what we have planted, but if we sow with enough time, we know we will have a good harvest. There has been so much change to the climate, and things are not how they used to be, so we always make sure to make an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and to drink the sacred chicha (beverage made from purple maize) to help us quench our thirst while we sow. We select our seeds in groups determining what will be best for trading, what our animals will consume, and what is best for our own nutrition. When we sow, the whole community participates, everyone helps to select the seeds, and then we organize the seeds into groups and sow according to the intended use of the seeds. When we finally harvest, the men carry the maize to the storage house where the women manage the maize according to the different needs we have. In Cacchin we have around 10 different varieties.
When the days get closer to our sowing time, we look to the stars and the moon for help. When the moon turns a reddish colour, this means the harvest will not be bountiful, but if the moon is a white colour, then will have success. Through the year we make offerings to Pachamama, and when the harvest is abundant, we make an offering with the very best maize cobs. Many of the practices we take part in we have learned from our parents, especially when it is traditional knowledge; we keep passing this down to our own children.
Our community sustains itself off maize, because it is maize that provides us with food and income, in this way, maize is to us like our mother and our father. It also allows us to participate in the barter market, and through the market we can trade for different foods, like fruits and vegetables, and other things we cannot find in our community. With maize, we can prepare soups, make mote (rehydrated kernels), cancha (popped corn), chicha, and also make flour and torrejas (frittata)." - Carolina Silvia Loaiza