It was very easy to find this farm. Rancho Primavera is located just outside of Autlan that is pretty small city in the state of Jalisco. There I met the owner and the person that I contacted on WWOOF, Leonardo.
He is a young guy that moved here from Guadalajara following the dream of escaping the big city and living simple life close to the earth. He had another dream that he decided to accomplish on his farm – to create a restaurant that uses only farm’s produce. He studied to be a chef and always loved environment, so he decided to combine his passions. It’s a long process and he is far from the finish, but he is on the right way. He is also building a guesthouse near the restaurant with a beautiful garden around and swimming pool, so people will be able to rent it and party.
Meanwhile he grows sugar cane to have some income to support other projects. Not organic yet but he plans to start using natural fertilizer and he already started to build an infrastructure for making worm compost. In this way he is going to get rid of all the restaurant waste and also animal manure. Worms are not picky and in comparably short time they produce high quality fertilizer clean of any bacteria. This is one of the most important things that I learned from this farm.
Another project that Leo is working on with his friend Diego is how to create fertilizer from human urine. Another brilliant idea, especially for places like stadiums where many people use urinal. At the moment they have a prototype at the restaurant that doesn’t use any water and creates very good fertilizer, but in small amount as for now. I hope they will able to move this idea to the state level and make an excellent example how easy it can be to become more “green”.
So I can’t say that I learned more on this farm than on the previous one, but this time it was completely different information. Beside the learning process the biggest difference between two farms was in the social aspect. If in Baja I had a lot of time for self-reflection, here I was always with friends. Leonardo is very sociable person and at nights, when the restaurant is closed, the farm becomes a meeting place for many people. All of them are young Mexicans, mostly students, very liberal, open minded and very curious about everything. I really enjoyed finally be have an interaction with Mexicans and improve my Spanish simply by listening to their conversations and from time to time trying to say something. At the beginning I didn’t understand almost anything, but slowly I noticed that I’m able to pick up more and more. Most of the time we were talking, sharing experiences from travels and life, chilling by the pool or simply drinking tequila in drum circles that they like to organize. What can I say, hippies are hippies regardless of the language that they speak, so we got connected very fast to Leo, Diego, Hans, Guillo and many others.
But the main surprise that happened is I got an unexpected companion. A good childhood friend of mine, Sergei, spontaneously decided to come to Mexico from Ukraine, work with me on the farm 10 days and then travel together till his flight back to Ukraine in the beginning of November. It was so much fun to hang out with a friend that I used to see in the best case once a year since I moved to Israel. Now we had as much time as we needed to catch up about everything – events of our life, opinions, dreams, plans, passions, doubts, complains or anything else. We mostly worked on the new wwoofers house, help with the garden and the animals and one time even harvested corn for the animals, which was fun, but we were not aware what corn does to skin. His Spanish was even worse then mine but he still connected to other guys very fast and even received a Mexican nickname – Checo that is a popular name for Sergio. This nickname followed him since then.
On the first weekend as he arrived we made a trip to Guadalajara with Diego (he also has a bike) and stayed with his family. That was great because we had a chance to meet more people and also explore the second biggest city in Mexico and the first big Mexican city that we visited. Guadalajara is great. It has a beautiful historical center with many cathedral and museums, young and energetic Chapultepec that was crowded on Friday night. There are many bars, restaurants, coffee shops, night market and many street performances, so we just walked back and forth till we got tired and found a bar with a good draft beer. It’s not a very common thing in Mexico, almost everywhere bottled beer served, so draft beer just called “cerevesa de barril”, it doesn’t have any brand name.
Ironically, during the weekend the big beer festival happened in Guadalajara and everybody told us that we have to go. But when we came we were disappointed to see mostly European and American brands, that maybe be an exciting thing for Mexicans but not for us. And when we saw how big the line is we decided to give up.
Another week on the farm passed very fast and we had to keep moving.