Agroecology Knowledge Hub

Women weave a culture of resistance and agroecology in Ecuador’s Intag Valley

In Ecuador’s Intag Valley, the women’s artisan collective Mujer y Medio Ambiente (Women and the Environment) has developed an innovative way to dye and stitch fibers from the cabuya plant, an agave-like shrub.

The women use environmentally friendly techniques, such as natural dyes from native plants and insects, and agroecological farming practices to cultivate cabuya as a complementary crop to their primary harvests. Being part of the collective has empowered the women economically and personally, enabling them to contribute to their children’s education, gain autonomy, and become community leaders in the nearly 30-year struggle to keep mining companies out of their forests.

In March 2023, the community’s resistance paid off when a provincial court recognized that mining companies had violated the communities’ constitutional rights and canceled their permits, setting an important precedent for protecting constitutional and environmental rights in Ecuador.