Tania has an interdisciplinary background; she is a water management specialist and social sciences researcher. She recently joined the LAMC at UBL as an associate researcher collaborating with Dr Olivia Ange on the project ' SeedValues '. She works as an Indigenous Peoples' Food Systems and Water Expert at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. She is also a board member of the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, a member of the Global Hub on Indigenous Peoples´ Food Systems and Indigenous Futures collective (Futuros Indigenas). Tania has worked in international development for 15 years, and in the last years of her career, she has worked with Indigenous Peoples, international organisations, grassroots organisations and different stakeholders on climate justice, food and nutrition security/sovereignty, co-production of knowledge, among others.
Tania holds her background as an engineer and as a social sciences researcher in her work; she holds a B.Sc. in Irrigation Engineering from Universidad Autonoma Chapingo in Mexico, an MSc. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from the University of Arizona in the US, and a PhD in social sciences from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
During the 15 years of her career, she has engaged in projects on sanitary engineering, biofuels production, water management and irrigation, agricultural research and development, climate justice, gender and social inclusion, nutrition, and food security/sovereignty. She has collaborated with several international organisations such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, the Center for International Forestry Research, Value for Women, and the Overseas Development Insititute, among others. In her previous appointment as a postdoctoral researcher in Public Health, Anthropology and Development Studies at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. During her postdoc, she collaborated on the project "Intercultural models to improve nutrition and health of indigenous populations through gender-sensitive agroforestry practices in Peru".
As an Ëyuujk Indigenous woman from Mexico and researcher, she actively collaborates with organisations to advocate for the role of indigenous knowledge as key to the biocultural diversity of indigenous peoples and tackle global challenges. She has spoken about these issues at the Global Landscapes Forum in the United Nations Headquarters, NY, in 2020; the 1st High-Level Expert Seminar on Indigenous Food Systems at the FAO in Rome in 2018, she was part of the delegation representing Indigenous Peoples' at the United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit 2021. In 2021 she also participated in different events at COP26, advocating the role of Indigenous Peoples for a sustainable and equitable world.
She continues to be engaged with her community, Tamazulapam Mixe, and on January 1st, 2020, Tania received her 'Baston de Mando' (a symbolic wooden cane used to confer authority in some indigenous communities) to fulfil a year of community service as the Secretary of the Women's Office in her hometown of Tamazulapam del Espiritu Santo. During her one-year term, she supported the Women's Office on issues related to the welfare of women in her community.
Tania also does advocacy work for the right to education of minority groups, specifically indigenous girls and women. In 2016, because of her academic trajectory and social commitment, she was awarded the National Youth Prize by the Mexican Government.
Milbank, C, Burlingame B., Hunter D., Brunel, A., De Larrinoa-Fernandez Y., Martinez-Cruz, T.E. et al. The Global-Hub on Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems. Rethinking hierarchies of evidence for sustainable food systems. Nat Food 2, 843–845 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-021-00388-5
FAO Global Hub on Indigenous Peoples Food Systems, Martinez-Cruz TE et al. eds (2021) “Indigenous Peoples´ Food Systems- Characterization, Concept and Application for the UN Food System Summit. https://doi.org/10.4060/cb4932en
Ethnobiology Phase VI: Decolonizing Institutions, Projects, and Scholarship (2021). McAlvay A., Armstrong, C., Baker, J., Black Elk, L., Bosco, S., Hanazaki, N., Joseph, J., Martínez-Cruz, T.E., Nesbitt. M., Palmer, M.A., Priprá de Almeida, W.C., Anderson, J., Asfaw, Z., Borokini, I.T., Cano-Contreras, E.J., Hoyte, S., Hudson, M., Ladio, A., Odonne, O., Peter, S., Wall, J., Wolverton, S., and Vandebroek, I. Journal of Ethnobiology 41 (2), 170-191 https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-41.2.170
Camacho-Villa, TC., Martinez-Cruz T.E., Ramirez-Lopez A., Holi-Tzuc, M. and Terán-Contreras S. (2021). Mayan Traditional Knowledge on Weather Forecasting: Who Contributes to Whom in Coping With Climate Change?. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5, 1-17.
Martinez-Cruz, T.E. (2020). On continuities and discontinuities: The making of technology-driven interventions and the encounter with the MasAgro Programme in Mexico. PhD dissertation. ISBN: 978-94-6395-238-5. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18174/508387. Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Martinez-Cruz, TE, Almekinders C. and Camacho-Villa TC. (2019). International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. Collaborative research on Conservation Agriculture in Bajío, Mexico: Continuities and discontinuities of partnerships. doi.org /10.1080/14735903.2019.1625593