The farm at NPH Mexico excels in the UN's Zero Hunger Challenge
In Miacatlan “a complex network of energy flows between all.”
July 6, 2016 - Mexico
Permaculture /ˈpərməˌkəlCHər/ noun - The development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
- Oxford dictionary
There is a sign outside the botanical garden wall on the farm in Miacatlan that reads “Nothing disappears everything transforms.”
These four words embody the United Nation's Zero Hunger Challenge, a plan born from the world body's Sustainable Development Goal #2, which calls upon member UN states to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” It includes targets on stunting, access, agricultural productivity and income for smallholders and women and sustainable food systems. (www.un.org/en/zerohunger/challenge.shtml#collapseZero)
The philosophy of permaculture drives the farm at NPH Mexico's home in Miacatlan. It also reflects the goals of the global Zero Hunger Challenge. A major component of the challenge is “all food systems are sustainable from production to consumption.”
But NPH Mexico takes this further, by allowing nothing to disappear and everything to transform.
The farm's director, Dr. Julio Morales, is a permaculture practitioner. Permaculture is based on ethics and design principles, which guide people in living sustainably within nature. He applies the philosophy to the NPH property while simultaneously helping and educating the children. He shares his love and respect of the Earth with them.
“Permaculture for me is a new way to define the lifestyle of our ancestors,” says Dr. Morales. “The Pre-Hispanic cultures in Mesoamerica had much knowledge about the universe and its entire concept, even to define what we cannot now observe.
“Based on this heritage, I can say that permaculture is the art of understanding how all species coexist in a space and maintain a balance of welfare, the mutuality of interdependence, and that the absence or alteration of one element can create a crisis for everyone and jeopardize their survival.”
He believes natural resources should be retained while preventing their deterioration.
"Love the Earth and the spirits that inhabit it, because all have soul, essence, movement and vibration. A complex network of energy flows between all here.”
He asks rhetorically, “How do you help children?”
“By giving them food, medical care and healing their wounds,” he replies.
“How do you help a child from Syria?” he asks as a blunt example.
“By helping them physically, mentally and spiritually,” he responds.
Many children arrive at NPH malnourished, abused, and sick from parasites.
“How do you fix children who have no mother, no father, or no family members?”
“By taking care of them physically and spiritually,” he replies.
“I want a child who smiles.”
“The country changes people,” he says.
“The change is important,” says Dr. Morales.
Being on a farm, in nature and working in the fields, allows the children to heal their wounds mentally and the crops they harvest, and later eat, heal them physically.
At the farm, one sustainable project flows into the next.
All the water used on the Miacatlan property (in the kitchen, dormitories, schools, offices, clinics, etc.) is pulled in via an underground pumping system to maintain the tilapia fish farm.
The fish farm produces 2,000 fish a month. It feeds the children and staff - more than 1,000 people - at the NPH homes in Miacatlan and Cuernavaca.
“We use and reuse the water 100 percent,” says Dr. Morales. That water in turn is recycled to water the corn fields, orchards and greenhouse.
The corn produces about 3,000 tortillas daily for the children and provides part of the diet to feed pigs, sheep and chickens, which provide organic meat for the home.
The orchard and greenhouse crops – mango, bananas, oranges, limes, peanuts, cabbage, and cucumbers – are also consumed by the home.
What the children don't eat is composted and turned into fertilizer for farm crops or fed to the animals. The pig and sheep manure is recycled too – it is burned in the bio digester to fuel the kitchen.
Just like the sign reads: “Nothing disappears everything transforms.”