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A Biointensive Advocate for 23 Years
by Antonio Rios Alonso

Even though I was born in the densely populated city of Monterrey in Mexico, I grew up in a quiet town called Linares. As the youngest of 6 children, I didn't experience rural life at the family ranch as my elder siblings did. However, my parents supported a small farm in town, so I grew up surrounded by vegetables and domestic animals.

Because my favorite activities were related to nature, I always thought I would devote my life to something related to that field. However, because of the ups and downs of life, I ended up studying Business Administration at the University of Monterrey (UDEM, the abbreviation in Spanish). For several years my life passed calmly, with a wife, children, a house and garden. We had several businesses, but none of them satisfied me at an emotional and spiritual level, so in 1989 we decided as a family to start a nursery for the production of citrus and ornamental trees and plants. Our nursery was called "Tierra Fertil" (Fertile Land), a name that—without knowing it at that time—predicted the nature of my future mission.

Antonio teaches young people Biointensive farming techniques

That same year, my friend Julio Cesar de la Garza attended a course about the Biointensive method, and it was he who introduced me to the system. Together we dug our first Biointensive bed in the nursery. I became interested in this approach, so I attended a conference John Jeavons gave in Monterrey and met him personally. The following year, I and a group of people interested in ecology and social justice formed a group called "La Milpa", whose purpose was to take the Biointensive method to some of the most depressed rural areas in the north of Mexico.

In the next years, I simultaneously worked in the nursery and as an active Biointensivist giving and teaching courses and workshops. In 1994, I attended a seven-day workshop in Willits in order to continue with the diffusion of the Biointensive method in Mexico. In 1999, I visited the Tarahumara communities in the mountain range of Chihuahua, along with my fellow Biointensivists: Mario Martinez, Juan Manuel Martinez and Gaspar Mayagoitia. During that visit I found out that students of my alma mater (UDEM) were providing social services to these indigenous communities, but without a clear purpose. So when I came back from the trip to Chihuahua, I contacted the staff in charge of UDEM's social service department to suggest they introduce the Biointensive method to the Tarahumara communities. We started a project to train students so that they could teach the Biointensive method to the "raramuris" of the Tarahumara mountain range, a project that gave me much satisfaction.

All the experiences of a whole decade of teaching and practicing the Biointensive method gave me the tools to become an external consultant for a company called BioCampo. BioCampo, started in 1996, was born out of its shareholders' desire to have alternative agricultural products that were organic and friendly to the environment. I gradually became more and more involved with this company, and in 2003, they promoted me to manager, and I have been in that position since then.

At BioCampo, we love what we do, and it is clear to us that we must produce organic and biological agricultural products in order to protect and nourish organic and traditional crops. Our mission of social responsibility and care of ecosystems motivates us to offer courses to the general public, to private and public schools and universities, to let people know about the advantages of the GB method and organic agriculture and the importance of protecting the environment.

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