Premiering Now: Miracles of Maize

One Degree’s newest film is a Thanksgiving story — the profile of a farmer who some might say has very little, but who is grateful to God for so much.

Imelda Ramirez Herrera is a mother, farmer, seamstress, entrepreneur and lifelong student from Michoacán, the place where the purest maize first grew, planted by the Aztecs long before the world knew the real treasure of this land.

Imelda’s fields are small, but her generosity is immense, her spirit indomitable. Life in the region is hard, and it would be tempting for anyone to blame fate, institutions, or even the land itself for the daily challenges that test the resiliency of the people. But out in her fields, Imelda feels triumphant. As she works, she thinks, “I’m going to have something to eat, at least a tortilla, and I’m going to fight poverty. When I’m on the fields I sing and I dance, and I say Saint Isidro will give us lots of blessings.”

Amid the spare surroundings of her simple home and community, Imelda creates her own joy as she labors to make a better life for her children, who, together with her husband, surround and support her in everything she does. Even the youngest girls in the family share their mother’s incredible work ethic, helping remove kernels from harvested cobs one moment, then scurrying to retrieve beautiful tablecloths, hand-sewn by Imelda, that the children drape before visitors like colorful banners of conquest.


A third-generation farmer, Imelda has been planting and harvesting maize since she was a little girl. “Yes, we have it in our blood, we almost were born on the fields,” she laughs. “I have been working on this field for 23 years now, but the story is much deeper than that. We farm with the wisdom of our ancestors, and with what my parents and grandparents taught me on these fields. And now we pass along that wisdom to our children.”

We invite you to spend this Thanksgiving week with Imelda and her family. Begin your visit with our film premiere below. Or enjoy the video along with photos and an essay on our Web site: