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Welcome to The Milpa Project, a multi-year photography project documenting and supporting sustainable family and community agriculture in the Oaxaca valley in southern Mexico.


There! That one color of the new corn, the innocent cool,
New to the sun, soft Egyptian green
All hopeful, waiting green for
Gray and cream of flocked clouds on mountains range.
Where the shepherds there wait for rain.

If it comes, if all is wet purple dirt
Dripping deep in orchid furrows
That! That pair of colors is God who
Makes the frame of my days
Of mystic lilac, new green maize.

Frijol Negro
Black bean, yellow corn; yellow corn, black bean
The yin and yang of milpa at the base of temples
Tiny black spots fallen from the jaguar sun
Under the soft woman rains of summer.

Black beans in their strength pulling the corn
Into a tangled jungle, a dance of he and she
In the dry harvest time when frijol jump
Into my basket, my arms, my olla full

Black beans saved in this sun cycle
And all those thousands of batun, katun
Each touched beyond counting of time
Planted, picked, sorted, and chewed.

Growing onto and into the corn people
Blessed by the jaguar sun whose spots
Are the black beans in the fullness
Of this, a strong and long glad life..

Beth Kelly