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The “Cooperativa Las Cañadas” is one of Mexico’s premier ecological training centers. Its core curriculum revolves around sustainability and sustainable living. Workshops cover topics as varied as:
• Food Forestry
• Bio-Construction (techniques in earthen building)
• Working with Bamboo
• Raising Chickens
• Seed Saving
• Vegetarian Cooking
In addition to their workshops for adults, the “Las Cañadas Cooperativa” teaches children, believing that to change a cultural pattern of wasteful and destructive habits, it is necessary to begin by transforming youth. The “Cooperativa” offers workshops for regional schools to experience the Cloud Forest. In addition, it has built a school campus, serving students of all ages, including a middle-school program, weekend classes in bio-intensive gardening for elementary school children and an introductory year-long permaculture program for teens. The “Cooperativa” aspires to promote alternative education in the region, building ecological intelligence and environmental sensitivity into the standard curriculum.
SosteNica began collaborating with Las Cañadas more than a decade ago. In January 2006, assisted by current Board member DeLaura Padovan, SosteNica founder Alan Wright and long time Rammed Earth partner David Easton, helped design and build what is now the rammed earth one room school building. One year later, SosteNica’s board met with representatives of the CEPRODEL “Junta Directiva” at Las Cañadas to plan the first Nagarote reforestation program. The following year board member Rachel Lindsay joined a group of CEPRODEL leadership for the first of a series of trainings in Agro-Ecology. In 2010, SosteNica trained CEPRODEL’s CEO, Miguel Gonzalez and FUDEMI’s Marvin Garcia, along with other Nicaraguan staff in environmental practices, eco-technologies and sustainability in Mexico.
In 2011, SosteNica brought a group of Cornell University Sustainable Design students to Las Cañadas in preparation for the design and construction of the Nagarote EcoCentro. That same year, SosteNica trained its agricultural field staff in agro-ecology at Las Cañadas.
Then, in 2016 SosteNica’s EcoCentro hosted Ricardo Romero in Nagarote. Ricardo taught an agro-ecology workshop to more than 25 Nicaraguan participants who could not make the long journey to Mexico. For several years SosteNica has supported elementary and middle school environmental education in Mexico. In 2016 SosteNica, working with the Gupta Family Foundation, supported the construction of an eco-technology water center at a rural high school, including composting toilet, rain water caption and grey water treatment.
In February of 2017, again in collaboration with the Gupta Family Foundation, SosteNica facilitated an educational expert (John Tewksbury) to train teachers, parents and students at the Xochotil elementary school in Tlaxopa, Mexico in the leadership training method of Sean Covey.
SosteNica and Las Cañadas will continue to experiment with education , agro-ecology, reforestation, eco-system restoration, both in Nicaragua and in Mexico.