Wheelchair Accessibility

About this book launch celebration

Archives in Common is thrilled to invite you to the CUNY launching of Las hermanas de la milpa: comienza con la calabaza / The sisters of the milpa: it begins with the squash, a bilingual and indigenous (Mixteco) cookbook by chef Natalia Méndez of La Morada restaurant.

Like other initiatives devised by La Morada Restaurant, this book seeks to disseminate indigenous knowledges and practices, and at the same time to conceptualize and expand the ways of doing mutual aid. The book is also, in and of itself, an art project: it includes illustrations by poet, artist and activist Marco Saavedra, photos by photographer Camila Falquez, and has been beautifully designed by Lucky Risograph.

The cover of bilingual and indigenous (Mixteco) cookbook "Las hermanas de la milpa: comienza con la calabaza / The sisters of the milpa: it begins with the squash" with the author chef Natalia Méndez of La Morada restaurant.


The book launch will include short reflections by all of those who were involved in the making of this collaborative book. The book will be for sale at discounted cost. You can also order the book here.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AND ATTEND THIS EVENT.

Free and open to the public, this event will be in English and Spanish with English/Spanish interpretation provided. The event will take place in the Skylight Room (9100) at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave, NYC, which is wheel-chair accessible.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Natalia Mendez standing behind a table. On the table several ceramic vases, one containing herbs; a big dish with mole verde; and also several vegetables—peppers, squash seeds and squash. Natalia is smiling, wearing a traditional Oaxacan blouse in green with flowers patterns in purple and yellow. Photo by Camila Falquez.

Natalia Méndez is the co-owner and head chef of La Morada, a family-owned and Michelin-star bearing Oaxacan restaurant and community hub in the South Bronx that seeks to preserve Indigenous Mexican cuisine while creating sanctuary, family and community for all who enter its doors. Méndez is one among a long line of curanderas (healers) and applies her knowledge of ingredients’ nutritional and healing properties to develop her cuisine. True to the saying, “donde come uno comen dos (where there is enough food for one, there is enough for two),” she welcomes everyone into La Morada, through which she also connects with New York City Indigenous women in the struggle for immigrant rights, human rights, Indigenous rights and food justice. After her family battled its own wave of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic, Méndez transformed La Morada into a soup and mutual aid kitchen, providing 1,000 meals daily for several weeks, and later, 650 meals a day to members of a community in need. Méndez and her family not only distributed food aid in the short term, but also seek to reclaim land and utilize community gardens and farms for their ingredients so that more neighbors may have access to food production and farming. She and her family engage in the pedagogical project of passing on transgenerational information about Indigenous foodways and good food as medicine--as a source not solely for health but also for healing. Her cooking has received numerous awards and recognition and is favored by top chefs. Méndez received the Three Kings Medal by El Museo del Barrio in 2017 for her significant contributions to the Latinx community.


Carolina Saavedra wearing a traditional Mexican blue dress with yellow sunflowers, in a garden. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

Carolina Saavedra is an educator at Stone Barns Center, garden steward of Bruckner Mott Haven Community Garden, and sous chef at La Morada, a restaurant and activist center founded by her family in the South Bronx. Carolina’s work is nourished by ancestral knowledge, traditions and practices derived from her indigenous Mixtec town in San Miguel Ahuehuetitlán, Oaxaca, Mexico. Carolina graduated with honors from the International Culinary Center (ICC). Additionally, she has represented the U.S. at multiple gastronomy events in Mexico, and has taught at leading food and cultural institutions including NYBG, The Brooklyn Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is one of TimeOut 2021 NYC women of the year awardee.


A headshot of Marco Saavedra, who appears smiling, wearing reading glasses and a patterned shirt and surrounded by yellow squashes. Photo by Camila Falquez.

Artist & host Marco Saavedra was born in San Miguel Ahuehuetitlán in the indigenous Mixteca Baja region of Oaxaca. Due to poverty, hunger, and free trade agreements, his family was displaced into the United States. He has fought deportations, reported on immigration abuses, and secured the release of dozens of detainees that were denied due process, depicted in the Sundance award-winning docu-thriller The Infiltrators. In 2021, he was granted political asylum, setting a precedent for immigrant advocates who face disappearance and death for their work in Mexico. During the pandemic, his family’s Michelin-listed Oaxacan restaurant, La Morada, began a mutual aid kitchen where they have been providing 600 free community meals daily. In collaboration with Ale Delano's haikus Marco is adding his allée painting series to build a treescape for 2023 and on.

A mid shot of Alexandra Delano wearing a white short sleeve blouse with decorations, long earrings, standing in front of a dark purple background.

Alexandra Délano Alonso is Associate Professor of Global Studies at The New School and the current holder of the Eugene M. Lang Professorship for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. She received her doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on diaspora policies, migration in the Central America-Mexico-US corridor, the politics of memory, and migrant-led practices of resistance and solidarity from a transnational perspective. She is the author of Mexico and its Diaspora in the United States (2011), From Here and There (2018) and the poetry collection Brotes (2021). She is also co-director of the short film Fragmentos (2021). Traversing academia, activism, art and poetry, her works seeks to create a dialogue that centers transformation and justice.

Camila Falquez

Camila Falquez is a photographer and visual artist, based in New York City. Born in Mexico and raised in Spain, Colombian photographer Camila Falquez creates photographs that harness the traditions of fashion and portrait photography to honor a contemporary spectrum of social and gender diversity. Channeling the conventions of surrealism and a painterly color palette, she creates an empowering vision that ushers in the narratives of community, humanity, liberation and visibility.


Amanda Chung


Amanda Chung
is an NYC-based graphic designer, illustrator, fabricator, and co-founder of lucky risograph, a risograph printing press operating from Dumbo, New York who work with local and international creators to reinterpret risograph printing through art books, zines, prints, and community projects. She is currently a visiting professor at Parsons The New School. At lucky risograph, she often runs workshops and works closely with artists and clients to bring their books and prints to life.


This event is sponsored and oganized by the Archives in Common: Migrant Practices/Knowledges/Memory project led by faculty leader Ángeles Donoso Macaya as part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, and co-sponsored by Futures Initiative, and the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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