Q'eqchi' Maya Home Gardens

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 15:15
, Amanda - Washington State University

The Q’eqchi’ Maya in a tropical village in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, grow and manage home gardens alongside field-based horticultural subsistence activities. Home gardens are not named as such by the Q’eqchi’ Maya, but still serve functions such as provisioning of food, medicine, construction materials, ornament, and ecosystem services, among others. Based on semi-structured “plant walk” interviews with villagers ages 19-70, names and uses of home garden plants are analyzed across sex, age, and acculturation level to understand factors at play in local ethnobotanical knowledge and practice. Preliminary findings suggest relative equality of men and women’s knowledge which is consistent with other studies of Q’eqchi’ Maya home gardens in Alta Verapaz but contrasts with those of other Mayan groups. Many informants report theoretical knowledge but no practical experience using one or more plants for the identified purpose, possibly representing a decrease in plant use due to acculturation or other factors.