The People's Guide To Mexico

ACA -- Asociacion Comunitaria
Autosuficiencia A.C.

Organic Training Gardens
on Lake Chapala

Lorena: When we lived in Ajijic, every Tuesday morning, I would leave the house with my shopping bag and scurry down to the Lake Chapala Society to wait for Wendee & Marie to arrive with their pickup load of freshly harvested organic vegetables. A little later I'd leave with an overflowing 'bolsa' filled with bags of mixed lettuce, spinach, kale, chard and arugula. Depending on what has ripened in their garden, I may also have had brocolli, snow peas, beets, kohlrabi or savory cabbage. They also a selection of fresh herbs and potted plants, often including lettuce and spinach starts.

As ACA develops their new training garden in nearby Jaltepec, the varieties and quantity of their organic vegetables will steadily increase.

Marie and Wendee have a fascinating history and have done amazing things with their community training gardens in the Lake Chapala area.

•The New Market Garden in Jaltepec

This is a new garden that is just being developed. It's main purpose will be a market garden offering a model for farmers, growers, and students while producing a wider variety of organic produce. The garden will be open to the public and will become a learning center for the community. It will include a resource library in both English and Spanish.

•Students Growing Together

The students come from all over Jalisco, Mexico including very low-income communities. They are involved in the planning, seeding and planting of the gardens and learn from their own successes and mistakes. New students are accepted regularly into the program. The participants take home produce they grow to help support their families and others in need within their communities. Senior students, those who have completed the 3 year training, form an integrated team that now operates and manages the farm operations.

•How ACA formed

The first project was conceived and initiated by the co-directors Wendee Hill and Marie Pruden, an experienced horticulturist and community organizer. Hill and Pruden were called to Mexico in 1992 to work as instructors in the Lake Chapala area through the auspices of the Catholic diocese of McKenzie, N.W.T., Canada.

In 1994 they were asked by the Catholic priest in the village of Nestipac to facilitate the opening of a community center offering classes in gardening, health and nutrition. Their close involvement with this very low-income Mexican community gave them a feeling of great rapport with the villagers and a deep concern for its problems of environmental damage, poverty, malnutrition, and lack of training and employment possibilities.

The Future: As you browse these pages, we hope you'll gain a better understanding of ACA's garden programs, and the benefits they are bringing to their students and nearby communities. A large new garden center is being created from "the ground up" at Jaltepec, and everyone is working overtime to meet their goals. If you visit Lake Chapala, please come by for a visit. In the meantime, we'll be adding further details on ACA's programs to this website as time permits. Of course, your donations of money, materials and expertise would be most welcome.

•Here's our Wish List

For the Garden
Cement, Lots!!....

For The Students
Gardening Gloves, Hand tools.....

For the Nursery
Benching Material.....

For the corral & Animals
* Lamina (roofing)....

For the Office

A Good Computer...

Aca Homepage
ACA Map & Ad
Where to Buy Organic Veggies
History of ACA
Overview of ACA projects
Students Working in the Organic Gardens
ACA Wish List
Email Us

©1972-2003 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens