Today I visited the Rancho Via Organica, an organic farm, school, store and conference center located several miles outside of San Miguel de Allende. The farm just opened this past year to promote healthful, organic food, organic agriculture, fair trade and sustainable living practices. Via Organica is the sister organization of the Organic Consumers Association in the U.S.
The 20-acre ranch was built in the early 1990s of adobe and rocks, with thick Huasteca-style palapa roofs. The large, beautiful timbers used as support beams were brought from Parque Juarez in San Miguel. In addition to the ranch house, the property also contains several casitas and other buildings, including a conference center. The walls are thick stone, allowing the rooms to stay naturally cool during the hottest months of the year.
Outside the ranch house is a large terrace, a palm-shaded yard bordered by a botanical garden and waterfalls, home to many species of birds. Down the cliff, following a staircase of stone and walled by many plant species, is a round adobe suite.
The views are lush and tranquil, looking down upon fields which are slowly being converted into organic vegetable gardens. Far below the residential buildings are the stables. The organic gardens, chickens and other farm animals living at Rancho Via Organica are one of the reasons for its name. In October 2008 the garden was revived and replanted. Rows of vegetables are ever-expanding, replacing water-guzzling alfalfa fields with drip irrigation and more sustainable practices of plant cultivation.
The water that comes out of the ground is around 90 degrees F. and is used to fill a lap pool located near the main sala, then fed weekly into cisterns and a large bordo where it is used weekly to irrigate the gardens. Below is a slide show of photos I took at the farm.