I thought it would be good to write a blog post on what our living situation is like, so that you can better contextualize everything we will be writing about.
We are on a twenty-acre piece of land called the Baja BioSana, located in El Chorro, Baja California Sur, Mexico. This piece of land was bought by a group of about ten or so non-Mexican individuals from around the world who are all interested in permaculture, sustainable development, holistic health and healing, and living off the grid. Not all ten people live here full time – at the moment, three do – and each has their own interns or friends or whoever come to help and live here periodically. We know two of the folks, Andrew and Shenaqua, and are here with them. They envision the land to eventually be a self-sustaining home for themselves with space for them to teach classes on agriculture, health, yoga, etc. Each founder has their own personal strength to contribute. But at the moment, the land is very undeveloped and there is an unfathomable amount of things to do.
The only structure on the land is one palapa, a circular open building with a stone/cement base and roof made of palm fronds. Everyone lives in tents. There is a composting toilet (a hole in the ground with a rough toilet seat structure on top. It is essentially like a port-a-potty except the waste goes into the ground and by taking certain steps – like dumping saw dust on top every time you ‘leave a deposit’ – it doesn’t smell at all and is actually good for the surrounding soil. You know that scene in Forrest Gump where the soldiers are using the toilets in Vietnam? It’s exactly like that.), a cold shower (fed from a large, overhead water tank), and an outdoor kitchen, covered only by a tarp. That is literally it. No electricity. No internet. No well (they are building one but currently get water from a friend with a well in the next town over). Very rustic. Very awesome.
What they do have is land. The vast amount of energy and time has been spent developing sustainable agricultural land so that, you know, we have something to eat. There is a mango orchard, an avacado orchard, a banana orchard, dozens of papaya trees scattered everywhere, and multiple kitchen gardens (small vegetable and herb gardens). Everything is designed by Andrew to be one large, self-sustaining permaculture. It doesn’t look like the traditional picture of a farm – no long rows of the same crop growing orderly together. Rather, plants are placed strategically next to one another (pineapples and aloe like to grow next to each other! Basil and tomatoes, grown together, make each other taste better AND help each other to fend off pests) in areas that have the best sun/shade/water for them. Everything is covered with mulch that is also natural – leaves, food scraps, fallen timber. The result is land that looks, well, uncultivated and wild. But produces an abundance of delicious, nutrient-rich food. And the plants (here’s the real bonus) ultimately need significantly less maintenance than those planted in a more industrial manner. No pesticides necessary. No irrigation necessary. They take care of themselves with just a little help from us from year to year.
So that’s where we are! Hope this helps to put the rest of what we are saying in a little bit of perspective. Photos to follow if I have the patience for this internet connection.