Though U.S. chefs and restaurants have imported corn from Mexico for years, not many had ever taken the time to look in to where it comes from. Jorge Gaviria, 28, is making sure that changes. He is the founder and CEO of Masienda, a food service business that imports varieties of high quality, non-GMO “landrace” corn grown in small, remote regions of Mexico. “Landrace corn” is essentially corn from seeds that have been handed down for generations from one very particular area of the world.
Gaviria partnered with CIMMYT (the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), an organization who originally worked with the Mexican government to encourage local production of corn in Mexico from small-scale, rural corn farmers (though Mexico invented corn, astoundingly, it still imports one third of its corn from the United States). Through connecting with CIMMYT, Gaviria helped these small-scale farmers also expand their sales outside of Mexico to the United States, to reach some of the top chefs and restaurants in the the country.
This year, Masienda is set to import over 1,300 metric tons of corn to the United States from around 1200 small farms across Mexico.
Read the full article on Gaviria’s amazing work in the NBC news article here.