Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

A recent article from California’s Merced Sun-Star addresses an issue many in Oaxaca’s ex-pat community have been discussing.

Exchange student learns sustainable gardening

By RAMONA GIWARGIS – rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.com

MERCED — In the small town of Mitla Oaxaca in Mexico, a little girl drew inspiration from her grandmother’s colorful garden more than 10 years ago.

Though the family wasn’t very wealthy, the dinner table was always filled with fresh and nutritious foods.

“When I was young, my grandma always had a garden,” said Xochitl Juarez, now 26. “She was really poor, but she always had fresh fruits and vegetables.”

(photo by BEA AHBECK - bahbeck@mercedsunstar.com) Xochitl Juarez of Mexico planted a 10,000-square-foot garden in the shape of a circle because 'everything in life is a cycle,' she said.

(photo by BEA AHBECK – bahbeck@mercedsunstar.com)  Xochitl Juarez of Mexico planted a 10,000-square-foot garden in the shape of a circle because ‘everything in life is a cycle,’ she said.

After falling in love with agriculture at a young age, Juarez sought to help her community learn new farming techniques to become more sustainable.

“A lot of people that come here are from small towns and they have to grow their own food,” she said. “If they have the opportunity to be sustainable, we’ll have a better life with more healthy foods and better nutrition.”

Juarez left her hometown of about 10,000 people and traveled to the United States for the first time as part of the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture program.

[Click HERE for full article]

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At various times in her past, La Ciudad de Oaxaca has been referred to as the “Emerald City” and “City of Jade,” because of the green cantera stone used to construct her buildings and pave her sidewalks.  On rainy days when sun seems to magically appear, I’m tempted to look behind closed doors for the Wizard of Oz.

Cantera sidewalk

Today a new kind of green is catching on.  No, not money, green technology — though money most certainly figures into the equation.

Several, mostly international, companies have established wind turbine farms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec over the past several years.  And, anyone who has driven along the carretera (highway) down there, can understand why.  However, I would be remiss not to mention, as a NACLA article explains, La Ventosa is a controversial endeavor.

Wind turbines along the highway on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

Less controversial, was a two-day conference, billed as the first International Forum on Renewable Energies, held this week in the “City of Jade.”  Organized by the Technological University of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca (UTVC) and the Statistics and Information Center for Development (CIEDD) of the State Government, its main objective was to raise awareness, share knowledge, and promote further research, dissemination, and development.

While panels, discussions, lectures, and workshops were held in the Cultural Center of Santo Domingo, outside, at the intersection of Constitución and 5 de Mayo, exhibits by the university students were set up for conference attendees and passers-by to see.

Small model of a solar thermal house

According to the information posted, above is a prototype solar thermal house, that harnesses the sun’s energy and utilizes “healthy for the environment” building materials of natural fibers to provide durability and thermal-insulation.

And then there was this one… close to this rooftop gardener’s heart:

Composting rectangular box

The project explains vermiculture biotechnology was virtually unknown here until recently.   California red worms were used to convert waste from San Pablo Huixtepec and obtain a dark and rich loam.

Rich soil in composting box

I confess, I coveted it!  However, I really am quite pleased with the results I’m getting by freezing my green kitchen waste for several days and then mixing it with the, less than ideal, soil purchased from a local vivero (nursery).  In a week, the organic matter has completely broken down and I’m left with great potting soil.

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