Visit CEDESA, a campesino development center

By Holly Yasui

CEDESA is a nonprofit grass-roots campesino development center that has been organizing rural communities in northern Guanajuato for nearly 50 years. Focusing in the past decade on ecological sustainability and self-sufficiency and founded and run by campesinos, CEDESA promotes an integrated concept of development. Not only economic development but also social and personal, encouraging active participation in cooperative work, raising consciousness about environmental issues and instilling love for and rootedness in the earth and one’s community.

Mon, Feb 17, 9am
Leaves from Calzada de la Luz 42
Registration at150-0025 or email


You can visit this unique center with the Center for Global Justice on Monday, February 17. CEDESA’s diverse projects include training mutual-aid teams to build cisterns for collecting rainwater, designing backyard gardens, workshops on construction with adobe, a water-testing laboratory, participation in international student internship programs, organizing a regional forum and coalition of environmental groups, and fair-trade marketing of organic products.

CEDESA has been collaborating with various nonprofit organizations in San Miguel, including the Midday Rotary Club, Instituto Tierra and Cal, Casita Linda, the Center for Global Justice, and Via Organica, with the support of the Bernard Weisman Foundation, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and the San Miguel Community Foundation. The CEDESA eco-tour includes a video that relates some of the history of CEDESA, followed by discussion and a walk around the facilities. A tabletop scale model provides an introduction to three areas of the “sustainable campesino home” project, upon which CEDESA itself is based: the traspatio (yard), the monte (uncultivated land) and the parcela (cultivated fields).

In their traspatio, CEDESA has installed several eco-technologies: wood-saving stoves, rain harvesting, dry composting toilets, gray water recycling and drip irrigation. Visitors will also see a solar distiller (in development) and a unique didactic structure built on the grounds: a large outdoor scale model of the Independence Aquifer watershed, created during a 10-month course on groundwater recently given at CEDESA by the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM). The tour continues to the fruit and vegetable gardens including nopal cactus “tunnels” and composting areas, and, time permitting, the monte where beehives are located, the granja where farm animals are kept, and the parcelas that are terraced and farmed with various soil conservation techniques that CEDESA teaches to other campesinos.

Lunch is prepared mostly from CEDESA’s organic gardens and fields, and from other producers of the Network of Mexican Community Commerce (REMECC), of which CEDESA is a part. After the meal, guests visit a campesino community to see and discuss the work being done by families who have implemented CEDESA projects.

Located just south of Dolores Hidalgo, CEDESA is about an hour away from San Miguel. We leave at 9am from the Center for Global Justice at Calzada de la Luz 42 (near the corner with Loreto). Interpretation and translation are provided, and an all-you-can-eat lunch, with vegetarian option. Please register in advance by calling 150-0025 or email


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