Science and Practice #10: The ejidos and agrarian reforms of Mexico with Gustavo Gordillo de Anda

In this episode, Michael speaks with Gustavo Gordillo de Anda. Gustavo has worked for the Mexican government as its vice minister of agriculture, and in this capacity he played a prominent role on the Mexican agrarian reforms of the early 1990s. He has also served as the assistant director general for the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, in Rome.

Gustavo and Michael talk about the institution of the Mexican ejido, which is a well-known example of community-based resource management that relies in part on common property ownership of fields and forests across the country. Gustavo describes the history of this institution and its relationship to the Mexican state as well as his views on the 1990s Mexican agrarian reforms. Gustavo also discussed several secular changes that have occurred within the ejido sector, including the increased empowerment of women in ejido communities as well as the increasing prominence of non-members in or near ejido lands.

They conclude by talking about Gustavo’s current and future steps, which include finalizing a book on the 1990s agrarian reforms and a refocusing on literature, which has always been another passion of his.


Bray, D. B. (2020). Mexico’s Community Forest Enterprises: Success on the Commons and the Seeds of a Good Anthropocene. University of Arizona Press.

Gordillo de Anda, G., Janvry, A. de, & Sadoulet, E. (1998). Between political control and efficiency gains: the evolution of agrarian property rights in Mexico. CEPAL Review 66.