On April 29, Himalayan Institute Mexico (HIM) held its Gran Apertura—Grand Opening—event. The day was joyous, as the HIM team celebrated the unveiling of nine months of hard work, and the community was finally able to directly participate in HIM activities.

The day began in the auditorium of the Jonotla City Hall, where over 600 guests attended a breakfast sponsored by the Himalayan Institute. The breakfast was a way of thanking the local community for their support in helping HIM start its work in Jonotla, as well as a means of formally introducing the organization to a large audience.

Students from the local junior high and high school, gardening club, and university were present with their teachers, along with local farmers, women’s organizations, leaders of agricultural groups from surrounding towns, and members of the general public.

Before being served breakfast, guests mingled with one another, read informational brochures about Himalayan Institute Mexico and its mission in Jonotla, and met with HIM staff, while Huapango music (the folk music of the zone) played over loudspeakers. The event officially began with a welcome from a member of the Jonotla City Council, followed by a speech from Jonotla Mayor Profesora Teresa Arriaga Mora.

In her speech, she reminded guests that organic agriculture is not a radical new method of farming, but rather consists of the very techniques used by our grandparents. HIM’s work in Jonotla is an opportunity for farmers to return to safer, more sustainable agricultural practices. She also asked that members of the community freely share their knowledge and experience with the HIM staff, so that they may also benefit from learning about the traditional methods, uses of local plants, and the culture of the zone.

Next, HIM Deputy Managing Director John Daskovsky took the microphone to provide some information about the parent organization, the Himalayan Institute, and its work dedicated to holistic health and sustainable living. There was applause from the audience as he said, “We must work together, so that when you pass your land on to your children, you can say, ‘This land is even better than when I received it. It is some of the most healthy, fertile land in all of Mexico.’”

After exploring the community center, visitors walked the short distance to the demonstration farm where Energy Farming Program Leader Ariszandy Calderon Diaz described the long-term vision for the land.