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Looking for like-minded people for homestead neighbours in Central Mexico

 
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Looking for like-minded people to create an "ecovillage" in the Sierra Norte mountains of Central Mexico near Oaxaca de Juarez.

The idea of this "ecovillage" is not in the sense of a joint large property with common areas and residential areas, but rather many independent homesteads that would be next to each other as neighbours.

Homesteads would have varying sizes depending on the needs, budget, lifestyle and size of each household.

Some homesteads would be larger for those who want to practice permaculture and farming.

Others might have other pursuits : health professions, pottery, writers, indigenous study experts, languages teachers, ...

So, the "ecovillage" would grow organically, starting off with 4 or 5 households/homesteads next to each other of varying sizes, as good neighbours, and little by little it would grow, as more like-minded people would join, and buy next to us.

The permaculturists can help the others to design their homesteads for water management, and planting trees etc. The more permies, the easier. We would be sharing the same watershed, so it would be good to discuss and decide the overall watershed management together. (Reference Andrew Millison's watershed youtube, for example).

By being good neighbours, we can organise expanded home-schooling, which can eventually grow into a school.

As more people join, we can organise an organic farmers' market, a small clinic, bookshops, useful stores. It would slowly grow into a real, small village.

What does like-minded mean?
Peaceful people, tranquil, nature-lovers, not noisy, who respect permaculture and ecological principles, natural
/adobe buildings, who have a sense of cooperation, and ability to co-exist peacefully as neighbours.
Moments of sharing meals, conversations, helping each other, yet also having one's space and life on one's own homestead.

[I put the word "ecovillage" in quotations because it's different from the concept of one large property owned by one person, who invites others to live on it and share. Rather, it would be a patchwork of everyone owning their own land, of varying sizes, next to each other. The size of each person/family/couple's land would depend on their budget, and their personal requirements (doing permaculture/farming or some other activity). What other word would describe this kind of "ecovillage"?]

Thanks. In Lak'ech.

 
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Hi I live and work in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca and I've found it's a much better approach in villages to work with the current/original residents. Most of them do really value nature and while some of their current practices may not be in line with what you are dreaming about--most actually now recognize that in many ways, their bisabuelos lived better lives and are excited to learn how to get back to their roots and be self-sustaining.

This is not to say that outsiders can not come in too--though it is extremely difficult for outsiders to legally buy rural land in much of Oaxaca because it's communal, and it can also be difficult for outsiders to accept the usos y costumbres community assembly style of governance.
 
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Hi, Mia

Welcome to the forum!

I added your post to the "intentional community forum" as maybe that is more what you are looking for.

It is not clear to me what kind of like-minded folks you are looking for.

Is it a joint large property with common areas and residential areas where the organizer sells shares?  Or are you looking for something where one person owns the land and shares it by letting folks live there, build homes, and till the land?
 
Mia Angelo
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Hi Melissa,
thanks.

Yes, I'm familiar with the Mexican "communal land" status in rural areas.

Indeed when I visit Oaxaca city area this fall/autumn, I will be asking about the status of the land, and if it can be converted to small individual homesteads status.
As for the local governance system, I'm looking forward to learning more, and as it's a practice that has withstood the test of time, it's probably an intelligent system, that I would be grateful to join.

In any case, the project is meant to be in harmony with the local community. Also, among the people who would buy their portions of land and join the project, it would be good to have both Mexicans and expatriates for balance. Later, if we would create a Farmer's Market (organic) up in the area of villages up in the mountains, for example, then it's to be used by all farmers of the region, not just those from our project. There are already many Farmer's Markets in Oaxaca City and to create one more higher up in the mountains would be in collaboration and following the advice and instructions of the existing Farmer's Markets.
One of the main reasons why I appreciate Mexico is people have a sense of community and cooperation.

My recent experience in Mexico has been in Morelos, up in the mountains higher than Tepoztlan, and have found land there that is to be divided among people I know. However, I'm now hesitating to finalise the purchase in Morelos because there is not more land available close by, when others want to join in the future. It's in a natural reserve zone, forest, very beautiful, at 2300 m altitude.  Only a few portions can be sold in that area to people who will respect the strict environmental rules (not cutting down certain species of trees on the land, no tarmac roads etc.), which are all very good rules I have no problem respecting and agree with. However, it does mean that in the future there's no space for more people to progressively buy land next to us for the project to grow.
The second reason my attention is shifting from Morelos to Oaxaca is that there is a large permaculture community near Oaxaca city, called Tierra del Sol, whereas in Morelos most people create ecovillages for ceremonies and not for permaculture.

I would love to be surrounded by people who have a variety of projects, not only permaculture, as one of my friends who is part of the Morelos project plans to get a smaller portion of the land for her art studio. Yet, there needs to be enough permies in the project, at least 3. This would be theoretically easier in Oaxaca because of more space, yet I need to go check out land availability myself this fall.

At this stage, to prepare my visit to both Tepoztlan area and Oaxaca City area this fall, I'm reaching out in case there are people out there who have a similar project in mind, and so we can meet /correspond.

In Lak'ech
 
Mia Angelo
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Hi Ann !

Thanks for the welcome, and for adding my post also the "Intentional Community" forum.

To answer your questions, no it's not an ecovillage with one large piece of land to be shared with many people.
It's rather many homesteads of various sizes in the same area, next to each other as neighbours, so that each individual household has their own system, their own design, their own creative space, their own specific project, on their own land.

However there's an overall general intention to the overall project :
- respect of Nature and environmental rules (sharing watershed management, rules such as no chemical pesticides and fertilisers, care to keep noise down as far as possible). Preference for natural building construction as much as possible (cheaper, earthquake-resistant, fire-resistant, cool in summer, warm in winter,...).
- sense of cooperation as good neighbours. No obligation, but people who like to share, and share tasks when possible.
- project members (those who buy land for the homesteads) would be both Mexicans and expatriates
- an open cooperative relationship with the local communities
- to have at least 3 permaculture homesteads where the primary focus is permaculture. Others can also buy smaller land for non-permaculture projects, for example for an art studio, for health profession consultations, workshops,... Then, the non-permie homesteads can give their organic waste to the permies for adding to the compost piles, and the permies can share their compost when it's ready with the non-permies who would have smaller gardens. These are examples of cooperation.
- the project is open to both permies and non-permies as explained above.
- the project is open to people who want to live in Nature, away from the hustle and bustle of big towns and from the toxicity of industrial agriculture, surrounded by others who want to do the same.

Unfortunately, many people buy land in beautiful places, but because their neighbours spray the crops with toxic pesticides, it seeps into one's own land.
So this is why "like-minded" neighbours who respect ecology is a good basis for a healthy and thriving eco-system.
"Like-minded" = respect Mother Earth, respect Nature.

The aim is to recharge the aquifers together, and to build more top-soil together. Even the non-permies who are busy with other activities can get advice and help from the permies to participate in top-soil building.

I believe that as more and more similar projects grow around the world and demonstrate the effectiveness of growing food in a way that improves the environment instead of depleting and spoiling it, it will eventually become mainstream.

Thanks Ann,

In Lak'ech
 
Anne Miller
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I am not sure how this works in your part of the world.

While I have never had any dealing with an ecovillage, it seems that in my part of the world and ecovillage is structured like a HOA or a village with rules like a Homeowner's Association.

The reason I asked ...

Is it a joint large property with common areas and residential areas where the organizer sells shares?  Or are you looking for something where one person owns the land and shares it by letting folks live there, build homes, and till the land?



The forum has a Land Shares forum and I thought your post might fit that situation.

https://permies.com/f/27/land-share
 
Melissa Ferrin
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Mia,
There are many more permaculture projects in Oaxaca and around Mexico that you seem to be aware of. I recommend you join one of the several Spanish-language Permaculture groups on Facebook to get in touch with them. Almost all Mexicans get unlimited Facebook use on our cell phone plans (Thanks Zuck *eye roll*) so that's where most of the talk happens and contacts are made.  

There are also farmer's markets in at the very least every "Cabecera Municipal" which is the equivalent of a county seat in Mexico.  I have lived in Oaxaca for 25 years, and because of my and my husband's jobs in teacher training, we have traveled to almost every corner of the state.  You will find farmers markets at the very least in Ixtlan de Juarez, Santa Catarina Ixtepeji, San Pedro Nexicho, San Matias Zoquiapam, Santiago Zoquiapam in the Zapotec areas, and San Pedro y San Pablo Ayutla, Tamazulapan de Espiritu Santo, Santa Maria Tlahuitotepec, and Santo Domingo Tepuxtepec in the Mixe areas.

I would suggest that you live in any area of Mexico you are interested in for at least a year before making a purchase.  Observe and Interact[ is the first permaculture principle. Observe and interact encourages us to take the time to observe a situation before applying a solution. Through observation, we are able to understand the patterns and relationships between various elements of the situation.
 
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Hi, Mia! Thank you for posting about your interest in finding land and establishing mutually supportive community in Oaxaca. A few friends and I are also searching in Mexico for high-elevation property with cooler temps, good water, year-round growing conditions and neighbors who are using permaculture principles to support a healthy ecosystem. In short, the general intent you presented is in accord with our own wishes. Although we have mostly been searching in the Sierra Norte of Puebla and a bit in Hidalgo, we're open to shifting direction if conducive conditions appear elsewhere.

I was hoping to accomplish this without FB, but I may have to accept Melissa's good suggestion to use it to establish more connections with the permaculture community here . . .

Anyway, I would be happy to receive an update on how your search is going, what you have learned, and how your plans have evolved since your original post. I'd also welcome hearing from you here: vale8284@riseup.net.
 
Mia Angelo
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Hello everyone,
sorry for late response.
I had been on the move and forgot to take my password with me to log in !
I was able to correspond directly with those who gave an e-mail address.

So, after my last stay and travel in Mexico, I decided to settle in Tepoztlan, Morelos.

It's where I know most people, am familiar with it and my project can establish faster.

I need to be in cooler areas (altitude), for my own need, but also for the plants. In a cooler climate, the plants that need more warmth can be in a greenhouse, but in a hot climate, all plants that need cool climate struggle to survive.

In Oaxaca city region, the Sierra Norte mountains are under the Article 27 which does not allow foreigners to buy land. The local people told me that an exception can be made in my case because my project is service and community oriented, but it would take a long time to get the authorisation, after living there at least a year in a rented home in a village.  And even if I would be individually accepted, I cannot ask for other people who would buy next to me.

So, I came back to my "base", Tepoztlan, and am in process of buying a smaller piece of land than the size I wanted (very expensive in Tepoztlan region), but at least I get going.

There is still land available next to me (small plots of 4000 m2, 2500m2, 1000m2), in case anyone is interested to join me.

I'm willing to relocate in the future, in some years, if/when there's a larger group of people ready to make a bigger project.

For now, at least I can start on my own.

Thanks to everyone's input !
 
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Hi Mia, I've been to Mexico this December, what a beautiful country! The geography and biodiversity is a dream for permaculture. And also the incredible cultural heritage too! I'm now going to construct some things inspired by the ancient cities in my garden :)
Good luck! Oaxaca was especially beautiful, but considering the nature, anywhere is great I think (but there are other reasons to consider too...).
 
Mia Angelo
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Hi Flora,
yes Mexico is great ! Thanks for sharing your website too !
 
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Mia Angelo wrote:Looking for like-minded people to create an "ecovillage" in the Sierra Norte mountains of Central Mexico near Oaxaca de Juarez.


My wife and I are considering a move to Mexico. We've been on our off-grid permie homestead for 4 years. Your vision sounds great! I really like the idea of a group of homesteads close together. How is your plan coming along?
 
Mia Angelo
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Hi M.Wilcox !

I'm in process of organising my move, and the land in Tepoztlan is in process of being purchased, and there's room for others to join (to buy land next to me), if you and your wife want to buy 1, or 1.5 or 2 acres.
There's electricity available.
Water depends on rainwater harvesting (cisterns. Usually 50,000 litres are enough for the year for a homestead).
The idea is to create swales, ponds and check dams in the hilly area, and within a few years the ground water would hopefully more saturated so that seasonal streams would last longer and eventually be all year round.
The soil on my land is forest soil, very rich black organic soil, good for growing.
However, the soil does not have enough clay to be used for earth construction, and I'll need to buy clay for construction.
It's part of the natural reserve, so we cannot cut down the big old trees, which is fine by me, I'm grateful for the old trees, and am fine to build and design around them.

Which part of Mexico were you thinking of moving to ?
Welcome to ask questions, and I can answer the best I can, and also others who have been living there for many years.

Yes! : "homesteads next to each other". This concept does not have a name, so let's see if we can come up with one.
For want of a more accurate name, I put the post in "ecovillage", and the admins also put it in "intentional community".

"Homesteads next to each other" has elements of both "ecovillage" and "intentional community" but not exactly.
It's more like how rural life has been since centuries, small farms next to each other all over the world, except that it's updated to our times with permaculture, so there's an extra element of looking into overall watershed management together.
Examples of traditional rural small homesteading : the dachas of Russia, foodscaping in Denmark and Geneva, Switzerland,....

In our times, there are so many advantages of small homesteads next to each other :
(1) the total permaculture-managed surface area ecosystem is in good health, (instead of having neighbours who use chemicals)
(2) cooperation on many levels if we want/need to
(3) having one's creative space and "territory", privacy
(4) if we have volunteers, they can work part-time on the different homesteads
(5) sense of security of having good neighbours
(6) a beautiful peaceful atmosphere

I want to add a photo/meme to this text but I don't know how to upload it into the text here.

In Lak'ech


 
Mia Angelo
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"Foodscaping" is a concept that resembles the concept of homesteads next to each other
foodscaping.jpg
[Thumbnail for foodscaping.jpg]
 
Mia Angelo
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"Foodscaping" is a concept that resembles the concept of homesteads next to each other
 
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How much is the land per acre?
 
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I've just come across this thread, thanks to a friend sending us a link, and there's some very relevant information here for us. We're going to be selling our property, along with virtually all our possessions, and heading off towards Mexico with a 10 foot travel trailer behind our van. Up till now, both of us have always "had" to do things, starting with going to school, then university, getting jobs etc etc and we had plants and livestock that needed caring for after we gave up working for anyone else. Once we've sold up, we'll be free and light for the first time in our lives and about the last thing we'll want to do is to try to transplant any aspects of our previous lives into our new one, we've finished with all of that. What we'll be after is cultural immersion. So, this post resonates very strongly with both of us: -

Melissa Ferrin wrote:Hi I live and work in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca and I've found it's a much better approach in villages to work with the current/original residents. Most of them do really value nature and while some of their current practices may not be in line with what you are dreaming about--most actually now recognize that in many ways, their bisabuelos lived better lives and are excited to learn how to get back to their roots and be self-sustaining.

This is not to say that outsiders can not come in too--though it is extremely difficult for outsiders to legally buy rural land in much of Oaxaca because it's communal, and it can also be difficult for outsiders to accept the usos y costumbres community assembly style of governance.



Thanks, Melissa!! Communal land and a community assembly style of governance both sound great to us and we'd love to work with the original residents instead of trying to parachute our culture in on top of them. It seems to us that the individual ownership of land is a modern evil and a way for those who have far too much (Black Rock, I'm talking about you) to get even more at the expense of the common people. Communal governance should be the way of the future, replacing the total control of the self-imposed de-facto corporate governance that most of the so-called West is currently saddled with.

We intend to be semi-nomadic to start with, visiting friends around Mexico and checking out places we've been told about, finding out what the climate is like in both summer and winter and whether a higher level suits us better. We're looking forward to all the local markets and having the time to get to know the area, without being bound up in our own affairs. We thought we might eventually gravitate to Oaxaca and we really like the idea of living in a particular area for a year before settling down. It's going to be quite an adventure!
 
Melissa Ferrin
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Best of luck on your adventure Jim. Feel free to keep in touch.
 
Jim Webb
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Melissa Ferrin wrote:Best of luck on your adventure Jim. Feel free to keep in touch.



Thanks again, Melissa, I'd love to do just that. I'm sure that there is a lot that we can learn from you and maybe one of these days, we'll meet you in person!
 
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Hi Mia,

I found your posts here at Permies while browsing through different permaculture websites. I have a farm here in the eastern US and am seriously considering relocating to Mexico. I visited there for several months last year, seeing as much of the country as I could.  I prefer a cooler climate, and was particularly attracted to the San Cristobal de las Casas area of Chiapas and have been exploring rural real estate options there. I was quite taken with what I saw of Oaxaca, also. However, I have since learned a little about the land structuring there and the difficulties for foreigners to buy.

Your idea of like-minded homestead neighbors is exactly mine, too!  I'd love to communicate further w. you privately, but I'm not familiar with the Permies protocol - would it be possible to exchange email addresses?

I hope your land acquisition went smoothly!

All the best,

Lori
 
Jim Webb
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I doubt if this is the right place to post this but it is about Mexico and I don't know of a better place, so please could those who do such things move it to where it should be.

Please watch this webinar series: - Science, regulation & human health: Justifications for Mexico’s GM corn restrictions

The write-up states  in part "This webinar was part one of a three-part series. The Mexican government has restricted the use of genetically modified (GM) white corn for human consumption and glyphosate as part of its broader program for food self-sufficiency and agroecology. Last August, the U.S. government launched a trade dispute, falsely asserting that these rules violate provisions in the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Canada joined as a third party, even though it does not export corn to Mexico."

The next part is due out on Thursday, May 2nd, so there is still time to sign up for this and to tell your friends. There is much more I could say on this topic but, again, I doubt if this is the right place to say it so I won't!
 
Jim Webb
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Jim Webb wrote:The next part is due out on Thursday, May 2nd, so there is still time to sign up for this

 PS: - When I signed up, I was asked what organisation I belonged to so I wrote "The Source" and this was accepted!
 
Mia Angelo
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Hi everyone.

Happy to see this thread continuing.

Sorry I haven't been on this forum for  while, been busy.

Thanks Jim and Lori!

I can also be reached at mia.angelo432@gmail.com

I'll be back in Mexico (Tepoztlan) in August for a few months, and would love to meet up with anyone from this thread who may be travelling to Mexico too.

 
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