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Isabel Quiroz Michel
Golden Rule Intern from Mexico

Kathryn in the Garden

Isabel and a friend

Along with Louis and Clem, Isabel (Isa) Quiroz Michel has taken an interest in using agriculture to reach socially disadvantaged groups. She's from Aguascalientes state in Mexico, and her background is in Environmental Science.

As Isa transplants bean seedlings on this day, she tells me about the project she worked with called "Convive Feliz", a community development project whose aim is to reduce the violence index in a poor community by teaching poor people to learn to feed themselves. In this project, her small company hoped to empower a core group of people to take over the garden, as a step in taking control of their lives. As Rachel points out, the work that Isa has done is very exciting: it's important to study issues of soil and environmental sustainability, but it's also important to look at the impacts of gardens on social sustainability.

After working with this project, Isa feels there's no better way to reach people than through participation in agriculture. In this teaching environment, she says, people open up, because you touch the heart. And for her, there's no more fragmentation between the issues of environment and social and economic justice: everything comes together as an integral whole.

She feels fortunate to have learned a lot about the GROW BIOINTENSIVE system from local gurus, Agustín Medina and Marisol Tenorio, who were Ecology Action interns at the Golden Rule Garden in 2006. She has worked with them at their demonstration garden, El Mezquite. When Isa goes back, she hopes to assist Agustín and Marisol in setting up a soil test station at El Mezquite, which is situated in an arid region of the state where, she says, 100% of the soil is eroded.


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