Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food

by Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda I.A.P
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Regenerating Soils, Producing Healthy Food
Lucio analyzes soil health, visit to pilot ranch
Lucio analyzes soil health, visit to pilot ranch

 

Thank you to the GlobalGiving community for supporting our work to regenerate soils in Mexico and provide communities of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve with healthy and organic produce.

This goal—regenerating soils in Mexico—is very dear to our hearts and of the utmost importance for environmental health. According to the New World Atlas of Desertification, over 75% of Earth’s land area is already degraded, and over 90% could become degraded by 2050. As soils in Mexico become increasingly impoverished from the use of agrochemicals, they erode more easily and cause water runoff. This, in turn, diminishes groundwater recharge, affecting both future productivity and ecosystem health. Moreover, impoverished soils produce fewer and nutrient-poor vegetables, fruits, grains, and pulses.  

We support 100 biointensive gardens, 100 plots, and 25 ranches in agricultural practices that improve soil health, covering a total of 110,000 hectares. Throughout our fundraiser on GlobalGiving, we have had significant changes: more people have joined our network of gardeners, we have plots full of organic matter and minerals, and more pilot ranches have begun to use holistic management, capturing water and carbon in their soil and thus mitigating climate change. Our producers have received more than 800 technical assistance visits and learned new ways of alternative production. Moreover, we have constructed an organic, community-owned tomato greenhouse that will improve livelihoods for many families.

While we did not reach the fundraising goal of this project, we have decided to close it for the time being in order to concentrate fundraising on our conservation project, Protecting Wild Cat Habitat. Please stay tuned, as we are sure to open a new soil regeneration project on GlobalGiving the future.

A family working on family organic garden
A family working on family organic garden
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Soil remineralization in action, Pinal de Amoles
Soil remineralization in action, Pinal de Amoles

Thanks to the support of GlobalGiving throughout this period, we were able to carry out 106 technical assistance visits—in addition to those previously carried out during the year—serving a total of 150 agricultural and livestock producers. We continue to promote organic production through continuous visits to householders who cultivate a home garden, thereby improving the quality of food and of life of families in the region.

We have begun growing organic tomatoes in Tonatico Pinal de Amoles; our six greenhouses have been sown and await their first, large-scale harvests. We hope to produce more than 1,500 kg of tomatoes, completely free from agrochemicals. With this program, we continue to improve the local economy by generating income for families.

Corn production on 200 hectares of agricultural land is also under development; due to the remineralization of these soils, we expect a higher yield than during the previous year.

With regards to holistic livestock production, pilot ranches in Chihuahua, Sonora, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and Queretaro have shown significant improvements since implementing infrastructure planning and rainwater harvesting systems. We plan to begin applying keyline design on more ranches before the start of the rainy season in order to observe more tangible improvements in the vegetation.

Organic tomato greenhouse Tonatico Pinal de Amoles
Organic tomato greenhouse Tonatico Pinal de Amoles
Visit with producers to pilot ranch La Tinaja
Visit with producers to pilot ranch La Tinaja
A backyard garden, Pinal de Amoles, Qro.
A backyard garden, Pinal de Amoles, Qro.

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Blackberry plantation in Joyas del Real
Blackberry plantation in Joyas del Real

During this period we carried out 45 technical assistance visits, including a total of 50 agricultural producers and gardeners, who continue to implement regenerative practices. To date, 100 backyard gardens are maintained throughout the Sierra Gorda, including orchards. Therefore, the subsistence production continues to take place, providing economic benefits to agricultural producers and gardeners, who decrease their spending on some staple products since they have access to natural products, free of fertilizers and chemicals.

The construction of six greenhouses for the organic production of tomatoes in Tonatico, Pinal de Amoles has been completed and the production stage can now commence. It will benefit local families, who will be able to generate income by selling their product at a regional level.

We have been working to incorporate mineral compost to 110 agricultural plots. As a result, we have activated more than 200 hectares of agricultural land, where we have returned health to the soil and improve its productive capacity, while working in harmony with nature.

We continue to provide technical assistance to 26 pilot ranches in the states of Querétaro, Chihuahua, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí, incorporating minerals into the pastures, practicing planned grazing and infrastructure planning, and carrying out biological monitoring.

Preparation of seeds for planting in Tonatico
Preparation of seeds for planting in Tonatico
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Backyard production of onions in Tonatico
Backyard production of onions in Tonatico

We continue to provide gardeners and agricultural producers with technical assistance. Between November 2017 and January 2018, we carried out 60 technical assistance visits that helped 300 gardeners, agricultural producers, and livestock farmers. The 130 backyard gardens that we support continue to operate in the five municipalities of the Sierra Gorda and their produce is used for self-consumption, sale, and exchange within the region. By selling their produce, local people obtain an income.

We began the construction of six greenhouses for tomato production in Tonatico, Pinal de Amoles, and we expect that they will be ready for organic production in the coming months. They will generate jobs and improve the income of local families, who will be able to sell surplus produce on the regional level. Furthermore, we continue to work with the owners of 110 agricultural plots that apply various regenerative tools and together impact 220 hectares in the Sierra Gorda.

The remineralization technique used on agricultural plots and gardens implies application of mineral inputs, biofertilizer, and organic matter, which restore soil health and potentially increase its productive capacity.

We have increased the number of hectares that apply Holistic Management. In the state of Chihuahua, we added three new ranches to our network 26 pilot ranches, which practice planned grazing, Keyline design, infrastructure planning, water harvesting and biological monitoring on 90,000 hectares. In the states of Sonora, Querétaro, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosí, we continue to provide technical assistance to the already established ranches.

Monitoring soil health on an agricultural plot
Monitoring soil health on an agricultural plot
Trace of Keyline design at Rancho El Palomino
Trace of Keyline design at Rancho El Palomino

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Organic garden in San Jose de las Flores
Organic garden in San Jose de las Flores

During this quarter we carried out 200 field visits and provided 267 gardeners, agricultural producers, and livestock farmers with specialized technical assistance. In the state of Querétaro we operate a network of 130 backyard gardens, which are located in five municipalities of the Sierra Gorda. Of these, 30 percent produce surpluses that are traded or exchanged (bartered) within the region. Therefore, besides harvesting food without chemicals, agricultural producers also obtain additional income by decreasing their food expenditure and by selling production surplus.

On average, each garden covers an area of approximately 80 square meters. During each implementation stage, biointensive gardening principles are applied, including plantation of creole seeds and replenishment of minerals to the soil. Together with other techniques these principles guarantee complete organic production.

We also work with agricultural producers that apply regenerative techniques to restore soil health on 100 agricultural plots, which together cover 200 hectares. These techniques include implementation of keyline hydrological design, incorporation of organic matter, application of rock flour, preparation of biofertilizers, reduced tillage, and winter planting.

We work with 23 pilot ranches located in the states of Querétaro, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, and Chihuahua that together cover 70,000 hectares and practice holistic management. In the Sierra Gorda region, we have been working with ranches to develop management plans, including infrastructure planning, planned grazing, and biological monitoring. In the state of San Luis Potosí, we have been strengthening the infrastructure to improve holistic management practices on a pilot ‘ejido’. This includes construction of ditches for water collection and division of pastures. In the state of Guanajuato, we have been working with ranches to seed and divide their pastures. Based on the planned grazing carried out by the producers, these activities will improve ranch conditions and enable greater production of fodder. In the states of Chihuahua and Sonora planned grazing was implemented on each pilot ranch.

Visiting pilot ranches in the Sierra Gorda and in the replication states where regenerative management has been implemented, we also carry out soil carbon monitoring.

Preparation of creole corn seeds for planting
Preparation of creole corn seeds for planting
85-hectare pilot ranch La Virgen in La Reforma
85-hectare pilot ranch La Virgen in La Reforma
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Organization Information

Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda I.A.P

Location: Queretaro - Mexico
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SierraGorda
Project Leader:
Martha "Pati" Ruiz Corzo
Queretaro, Queretaro Mexico

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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