To read more about the native corn varieties developed and protected by San Luis Valley acequia farmers and the challenges involved in conserving our plant genetic diversity, please read the report Deep Seeds and First Foods which was prepared by Dr. Devon G. Peña.

TAI maintains a seed library dedicated to the Three Sisters. We are committed to in situ|in vivo methods for conservation of native crop genetic diversity. We seek to protect locally-adapted parent-lines of maize, bean, and pumpkin/squash from threats posed by GMOs. One concern stems from scientifically verified risks posed by genetic drift and transgenic introgression events that damage native crop varieties in their centers of origin and diversification. GMOs threaten our seed sovereignty and our ability to protect the ethical and spiritual values centered on maize in our indigenous cultures.


Our local maize varieties are important as reservoirs of bioregional genetic diversity and share close affinity with intermediate relatives affiliated with the wild ancestor of maize, teocintle (Zea diploperennis). The maíz de concho (white flint maize), used to make chicos and pozole, randomly reverts back to a rare intermediate form in field events like the 'tunicate' displayed in the photo to the right. This specimen was sown from a Corpus A . Gallegos concho accession of 1998 and collected during the 2010 harvest. These genetic regressions only occur in uncontaminated parent lines, which helps to establish our local maize varieties as progeny of the extended Mesoamerican Center of Origin and Diversification of this sacred plant.