EXPERIENCE | This zero-waste co-op in Mexico runs on eco-technology

The View at Las Cañadas

Getting to Las Cañadas was a long journey with beautiful scenery as we went up the hills. 

As we got off the bus, we could see vintage artistic infrastructure around us, beautiful lush green plants and trees and tip of the Pico de Orizaba, Veracruz’s highest volcano, just like a painting. 

Las Cañadas is an agro-ecological centre and Permaculture, where it has found one of the last islands of the Cloud Forest from the central zone of Veracruz. 

Our local guides worked and lived in Las Cañadas. Having the opportunity to visit the co-operative with them and talking about the sustainable activities that they do on a daily basis was a big learning curve for all of us. 

While at the co-operative we roamed around the property to observe different sustainable initiatives performed. The first thing we noticed was the the co-operative didn’t produce any waste.

They achieved this by turning not only animal manure into fertilizers but also human manure through compostable toilets. 

The co-operative is self-sufficient as they produce most of their food, firewood for cooking, wood for building houses on their land. 

The purpose of the co-operative is also to develop creative solutions for environmental and social problems and adapt to the era of energy decline and climate change. 

Having said that, we observed some of the Eco technologies developed by co-operative for example Bicimanquinas (bike machine), solar water pump, wood saving stove and oven, homemade compost bin, tire ladders, rainwater harvesting and many other eco-technology.

In addition, the cop-operative uses wood logs to cultivate mushrooms as part of their sustainable forest management practices. 

Mushrooms growing on a log at Las Cañadas

The co-operative houses approximately 20 families and has a functional school within its premises, where they teach students how to become self-sufficient through sustainable practices. 

Las Cañadas also has a store, which sells sustainable wood, self-made seeds, cotton t-shirts, books and manuals on sustainable living practices. 

While on our tour around the co-operative we came across the bees, which are crucial for carrying the process of pollination, are also conserved. 

Lastly, as one of our local guides mentioned, they were trying to build compostable toilets and other technologies for the uphill village residents to protect the water source from being polluted. 

While leaving from Las Canadas we took notes on how we will preserve and care about the environment and resources around us.