The purpose of my paper is to demonstrate that corn grown in the United States has flooded into Mexico and displaced traditional Mexican agricultural workers. The Maize Maze in Mexico does not fit into one particular subject, but is rather an interdisciplinary paper with elements of anthropology, ecology, and political economy. Starting with the rich cultural traditions directly related to maize, I detail the long history and importance of maize and subsistence farming to the people of Mexico.
At the heart of this paper lie the affects that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had on Mexican cultures, communities, and farming. NAFTA has forced millions of subsistence farmers to migrate to other parts of Mexico and the US. Before NAFTA went into effect in 1994, Mexican farmers had been protected from the inexpensive, low quality, and mass-produced corn grown in the US. US corn not only drives down the price of corn in Mexico, it also erodes the vast genetic diversity of maize since people can no longer afford to maintain the diversity through traditional growing methods.