Marsella Macias

Environmental Governance & Resilience

Photo: Marsella  Macias

Marsella is from San Jose, California and is pursuing her master's in Latin American Studies after recently retiring from her twenty-plus year career in the food and beverage industry where she specialized in destilados de agave (agave distillates.)

Since 2012 Marsella has traveled throughout México to explore mezcal-producing regions, covering remote areas in Puebla, Michoacán, Sonora, and Zacatecas, plus multiple long-term stays in Jalisco (her grandma's home state) and Oaxaca. Her acquired knowledge afforded her opportunities to fulfill roles including cultural educator, curator, bartender, staff educator, brand ambassador, and sales representative in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Marsella’s first-hand industry experience witnessing the global mezcal boom inspired a career pivot. Her México travels illuminated the integral roles of agave and mezcal in Mexican culture, yet both were being transformed into global commodities without producers reaping fair economic compensation. Seeing producers experience negative ecological impacts to their lands and also being continually shut out of regulation-making production decisions strengthened her commitment to pursue her MA. Marsella will focus on agave- and mezcal-producing communities’ socio-economic, ecological, and cultural impacts imposed by Denomination of Origin (DO) certification programs to understand current community and future needs. Through her research she aims to impact positive shifts toward more inclusive decision making processes involving producers and government-regulated DO certification production regulations.

Marsella graduated in 2002 from California State University, Chico with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Latin American Studies.