A Little Bit of History

Before forming AgroSanO, we started with the monoculture of greenhouse-grown tomatoes under the delusion of “protected agriculture”. We quickly realized that this “modern” agriculture dependent on agrochemicals was destroying our soil, polluting water, endangering our health and that of others, depleting resources and rarely rewarding us with fair prices.

Looking for alternatives that wouldn’t require the depletion of nature, our health and our budget, we investigating other ways of producing using organic biointensive techniques in partnership with John Jeavons from California. We continued production in the greenhouse but began to plant various crops, making a more efficient use of space and resources by applying concepts of seasonal planning and crop rotation. In parallel, we diversified the market of our produce, including selling to middlemen who would then sell directly to restaurants and consumers and also prioritizing direct sale to our friends and family.

A little over a year ago, we started to sell a large part of our production through a system of weekly baskets based on the idea of community-supported agriculture (CSA). We call the delivery service “tenates” and fondly refer to our community as “tenateros”. To us, this system seemed to be one of the noblest ways to channel our production economically, ecologically and socially.

Meanwhile, we’ve spent 4 years working with NGOs and institutions to support theoretical dialogue and practical implementation of farming initiatives in the city of Oaxaca and throughout the state. We also initiated a seed breeding program through the work in our own garden.

With almost 10 years of experience working the land, our most accomplishment has been the accumulation of knowledge and experience in agricultural practice in tandem with personal growth towards a more critical and conscious living. We have gone through various stages in our daily work with the earth and, with each stage, we find our way of thinking to be transformed just as much as our production space and practices are. Inevitably, our daily work has become our lifestyle and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lupe Chávez

Originally from Villahermosa, Tabasco, Lupe moved to Oaxaca 11 years ago. She graduated as a telecommunications engineer and worked in this field for 9 years as a “salaried statistic always waiting for pay day or for the weekend.”

Lupe searched for an alternative to this 9-to-5 existence and somehow found her true passion working the land. She now has 10 years learning to be a farmer and as it feeds her, it has become a way to feel alive and connected with all her senses.

Fredy Armengol Méndez

Fredy is an electronics engineer who became a farmer by experience and conviction. He is originally from San Sebastian Etl. He studied engineering because he was always taught that having a career meant “progress” and his father, a farmer, had always wanted him to study and become something that was not a farmer.

Fredy spent 7 years working as an electrical engineer at telecom company, Telcel. With 9 years back to working the land, Fredy loves that he keeps learning, keeps sane and reconnects to the ground daily.

He finds great pride in providing healthy foods for himself and for other people. “This is no longer a job for me but is a way of life that has changed so much more than my work. It affects the way I cooperate with my community, the way I eat and reminds me that I am responsible for my waste. This work allows me to see all of these things as a connected whole.”

Claire Auzias

Originally from France, Claire came to Oaxaca in 2011 to work in rural development projects, focused on natural resource management, food security and community land management. Tired of talking about agriculture from behind a desk, without sowing even a radish, Claire started seeking a more rich and profound connection to the earth — figuratively and literally — through a agro-ecological or regenerative agricultural project in Mexico. In this search, Claire came to know Fredy & Lupe through a twist of fate, and she formally joined the AgroSanO team in September of 2014.

“What more freedom is there in these times of food dictatorship than to grow your own food? What can be more beautiful than to explore, research and experiment nature through creative processes, to do this each and every day and call it “work”? I love what I do and I hope that other people join us in this amazing project!”