Lucha Rivera National Fair in Dolores Hidalgo
By Holly Yasui
One of the largest alternative fairs in Mexico, with over 300 exhibitors from 18 states, the Feria Nacional de Productores y Consumidores Lucha Rivera, comes to Dolores Hidalgo on August 3 to 5, open to the public from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. This fair is dedicated not only to fair trade and solidarity marketing but also to the concept of a dignified and sustainable life.
Alternative Commerce Fair
Lucha Rivera National Fair
The organizers believe that the development of harmonious social as well as economic relations and environmental consciousness are essential to the survival and well-being of life on our planet.
In the face of declining incomes and the ever-increasing disparity between rich and poor, people all over the world are seeking and creating alternatives to profit-oriented and competition-driven commerce. In what is called “community commerce,” the accumulation of wealth and increasing of market share is not the goal of trade. Instead of competing with each other in order to get richer and bigger, independent and autonomous producers exchange goods and services with each other in order to fulfill their needs, and in that way live richer lives without necessarily having or making more money.
In community commerce, producers and consumers meet face-to-face, without corporate intermediaries, so that transactions reflect not only economic interests but also human relations. The exhibitors at the Lucha Rivera Fair are farmers and artisans who cultivate or create what they offer for purchase; and all producers are also consumers who have the opportunity to trade goods with each other through various forms of barter. A social currency, called “mezquite,” has been created especially for the Lucha Rivera Fair in order to encourage multiple or indirect bartering among producers without having to use traditional money.
Visitors who come to the fair without goods to sell use pesos to purchase items, but can participate indirectly in the social coin system by patronizing producers who are trading with other producers using the mesquite currency (those who accept mezquites post a notice on their stands).
The Lucha Rivera Fair is also a celebration, a gathering of friends or members of networks who share the same or similar goals and values of community commerce and environmental responsibility. And because the goals of the fair are not only economic and ecological but also social and spiritual in the broadest sense of the word, the fair includes a cultural program of music and dance, forums and informational tables on issues such as food sovereignty and defense of the environment, and an area dedicated to activities for children to round out the activities for the whole family.
At this year’s fair, a local bilingual, illustrated book entitled Plantas medicinales usadas en el norte de Guanajuato / Medicinal Plants used in Northern Guanajuato, published in July of 2012, will be presented to the public during the cultural program and exhibited and sold by the San Miguel team that produced it: author Dr. Rosita Arvigo, illustrator Alifie Rojas and editor-designer/project coordinator Holly Yasui. Other San Miguel organizations such as Via Organica, Tierra y Cal and the Tiangüis Orgánico de San Miguel (TOSMA) will also be participating in this year’s National Fair.