Hacienda Tovares is a 123 acres farm in central Mexico, in the semiarid region of Cadereyta in the beautiful state of Queretaro. It includes a 370-year-old-historical building which was one of the first spanish Haciendas growing food and raising cattle in this region, unfortunately, with a short term vision which led to ecological degradation, deforestation and desertification over the past centuries, resulting in the later abandonment and partial destruction of the site.
We have 5 years now restoring Hacienda Tovares, our project is to reactivate it as a food production center but, this time, as an ecological regeneration project, which includes recovering traditional knowledge and practices, preserving unique flora and fauna, etc.
We practice organic agriculture, ecological stockbreeding, wild habitat protection and reforestation. We collect rain water and work to restore the life on the soil, using Keyline design as well as different kinds of composts and home-made organic fertilizers.
We grow corn, organic vegetables and fruits, fodder and hydroponic fodder. We have horses (some of which are used for carriages), cows, lambs, ducks, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, fish and earthworms. We collect eggs, milk the cows, make cheese and yoghurt, etc. We use medicinal herbs. We build with stone, mud and straw, increasingly avoiding the use of cement. We are learning from the locals how to collect and prepare edible wild plants.
We are walking the path of Transition and Permaculture, mexican style (we don't use biodynamics yet, but we are looking forward to it). We are beginning to offer touristic services, including a very unique hotel and restaurant: with the amazing rural/natural scenario of the semidesert, in this historical and cultural site which synthesizes much of Mexican history, we offer a transformative experience for our visitors, including the opportunity to interact with animals and reconnect with nature, to learn and develop food producing skills, from growing to cooking healthy meals, as well as lots of outdoor recreational activities (biking, swimming, kayaking and more).
For foreign people, we offer an awesome opportunity to learn on local ecology, history, culture and language in a very interesting region which combines indigenous and spanish heritage with unique biological diversity, a beautiful spot right in the middle of Mexico with lots of amazing places nearby! It is also worth to say that this is one of the safest states in Mexico, both for living and traveling.
Work required from WWOOFers:
We are expecting people who already have experience as wwoofers. There is work for all kind of skills, from light to heavy duty. We welcome helping hands on food production/processing, therefore, know how's on organic gardening, growing vegetables and mushrooms, natural plague and disease control, cheese production, bread baking, dehydration and canning recipes, solar cooking, vegan/vegetarian cuisine, etc, are very appreciated. We are also interested in exploring organic wine production. Wwoofers are also welcome to support in our daily farm activities, which include: feeding animals (and producing food for them, including hydroponic fodder), disease control (we are interested in exploring non-allopathic medicine), cleaning, composting, infrastructure maintenance, etc. We also welcome natural builders, creative craftsmen (and women), alternative energy geeks, recyclers, upcyclers and permacultors in general, yoga teachers and alike, healers, therapists and natural medicine people. Wwoofers can also give a hand with our educational and cultural activities, ranging from assisting with ocasional weekend courses and workshops to supervising kids in our didactic farm, outodoor activities with junior and teenager campers, accompanying and translating for our foreign guests, etc. We'll be glad to hear your suggestions.
Basic Spanish will be very useful as a starting point, but some of us speak English too. We care for your safety, we have emergency protocols and nearby hospitals, but still we ask for wwoofers to come with health insurance.
Description of accommodation and meals provided:
We provide three healthy meals a day, (attention for vegetarians and special needs) with wooffers helping from harvesting to cooking, cleaning the kitchen and composting. We also provide accomodation in collective dormitories, with wooffers helping in cleaning and maintenance. We will provide uniforms as workwear. We have a fleet of bicycles available for internal and local use.
We receive wwoofers for a minimum of three months, and a maximum of 8 months, however, everything depends on mutual fit and healthy integration of people.
Participants are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will not bring discredit to themselves, or to Hacienda Tovares. Failure to abide by our Code of Conduct or other behavior derogatory to the individual or the volunteer program during the time working with us, will lead to denial of participation.
Working time is 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. Personal housework (cleaning, laundry, etc) is not included as working time. Every wwoofer will have a personal work schedule which must be adequately completed for his/her participation to continue. During free time, wwoofers may go out and explore nearby, or stay here and enjoy permitted leisure activities, with access to resting areas and gardens during designated hours. Recreational equipment (kayaks, video projectors, etc.) will be available on a limited basis. While "on duty", no wwoofer should be involved in the use of alcoholic beverages. Illegal drugs (according to mexican standards) are forbidden anywhere on the centre site (grounds and buildings). In principle, no pets are allowed.
Information about area and things to bring:
Cadereyta has two main seasons: dry season from November to June, and rainy season from July to October. In winter, temperature hardly goes below zero Celsius. April to June are the dryest-hotest months, with temperatures reaching 33 degrees Celsius. Be sure to bring a hat, for it will be sunny most of the year. Long sleeve clothing and protective sunscreen are recommended for sensitive skins. The land is rough so you will like to have a good pair of sturdy shoes or boots. Thorn resistant pants will be useful too. We appreciate very much sharing and exchanging relevant books and movies, so we encourage you to bring interesting materials with you.