RCE Borderlands Mexico-USA - 2018

CURRENT PROJECT 6: From Poverty to Plenty: El Ranchero Solidario Farmer’s Cooperative in Anáhuac, Chihuahua México
Basic Information
Title of project : 
CURRENT PROJECT 6: From Poverty to Plenty: El Ranchero Solidario Farmer’s Cooperative in Anáhuac, Chihuahua México
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Borderlands México-USA
Contributing organization(s) : 
1) Cooperativa Campesina el Ranchero Solidario
2) Living Lab/Centro de Diálogo y Transformación
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Sr. Dolores (Lolita) Gallegos
Organizational Affiliation: 
El Ranchero Solidario Farmers’ Cooperative
Señor Noé Peregrino
Organizational Affiliation: 
El Ranchero Solidario Farmers’Cooperative
L.T. Rigoberto Cisneros Domínguez
Organizational Affiliation: 
Comedor Óscar Arnulfo Romero
Prof. Dr. Carolina López C.
Organizational Affiliation: 
Living Lab/Centro de Diálogo y Transformación Inc.
Format of project: 
Community agricultural, economic and employment activities. Power Point. Refereed Publications. Book.
Language of project: 
Spanish. We hope to also eventually publish the knowledge gained from this project in English.
Date of submission:
Monday, October 22, 2018
Additional resources: 
° https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Organization/Living-LabCentro-de-Di%C3%A1logo-y-Transformaci%C3%B3n-Borderlands-M%C3%A9xico-USA-1080731175368081/

° https://m.facebook.com/CentroComunitarioMonsRomero/
Agenda 2030. UN Sustainable Development Goals-- SDG 1- No Poverty, 2- No Hunger, SDG 8- Good Jobs & Economic Growth, SDG 10- Reduced Inequalities, SDG 12- Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG 16- Peace & Justice (2016-2030)
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Ley General de Cooperativas (1994)
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Ley de Desarrollo Rural Sostenible (2018)
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Anáhuac, Chihuahua
Address of focal point institution for project: 
1. Cooperativa Campesina El Ranchero Solidario
Calle Aldama # 3
Col. Sierra Blanca
Anáhuac, Chih.
31600 México

2. Comedor Óscar Arnulfo Romero
Calle 4ta y Chihuahua S/N (Antiguo Colegio de México)
Barrio San José
Anáhuac, Chihuahua
31600 México

3. Living Lab/Cnetro de Diálogo y Transformación Inc.
Priv. de Encino 1905-2
Col. Granjas
Chihuahua, Chih.
31100 México

Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Anáhuac, Chihuahua is located in an agricultural Valley, approximately 20 km. away from Cuauhtémoc City. The area boasts numerous Mennonite agricultural farmlands. Its main communication route is a state highway that joins it to the West with Cuauhtémoc and to the East with Santa Isabel. In both towns the highway joins Federal Highway 16 and it serves as a free alternate route to the federal toll highway. Anahuac is also communicated by the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway, which departs from Chihuahua City to the East and reaches the Sea of Cortes at Topolobampo, Sinaloa on the Western extreme of the route.

According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, Anáhuac has a total population of 9,952 inhabitants of which 4,937 are men and 5,015 are women. It is the seventeenth most populated community in the state of Chihuahua.

Historically, post-Revolutionary land reform lead to the division of the Hacienda de Bustillos into parcels, which were granted to local peasants in 1931 for collective landholding through the Ejido system. In 1953 the economic activity diversified when the paper mill Celulosa de Chihuahua built industrial facilities and housing areas for its workers. The main reason for its installation was the abundance of water in the region. However, with over-exploitation, this resource was practically depleted and, toward the end of the twentieth Century, the area began to suffer periodic droughts. In 1993, several of the communities were flooded by the overflowing of Bustillos Lake.

With the entry into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement, cheap US agricultural products flooded into México, making it impossible for farmers to sell their harvests. This resulted in extreme hardship as people found themselves unable to provide for the basic needs of their families.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
° Full restoration and sustainable usage of Bustillos Lake and aquifer
° Ending the dumping of toxic effluents into the Lake
° Human security and the revitalization of licit and sustainable economic activities
° Gratitude, discovery and sharing of our gifts in service of the community
° Vocational training for honorable livelihoods
° Hunger and food security for vulnerable populations
° Nutrition and healthy lifestyle

January, 1998
The Coop was started by Priest, Father Camilo Daniel in order to help farmers sell their crops when the market was flooded my American agricultural products.

Over these many years, the Coop has become the highest-selling supermarket in Anáhuac City. Its owners and shareholders are the original farmers and the second and third generations of their families. In addition to investing hours of ‘solidarity service’ at the coop/supermarket, the farmers run the supply chain; they do the accounting and, in short, they carry out the business of the Coop.

When the Coop began, the farmers struggled to feed and clothe their families. Now the third generation of Coop families has managed to raise and educate their children, and the Coop continues to provide livelihood for these extended families. Its level of sales is so high that the Coop has become a source of employment for other workers from Anáhuac who are not members of the Cooperative. The Coop has now retired 10 of its founding members and is able to pay them a full pension.

Overseeing operations, and ‘checking the books’ is much-loved nun, Mother Lolita Gallegos who, at the time of writing in 2018, is 79 years old. RCE BMU is honored and privileged to work with Mother Lolita and with the families of the farmers’ coop. We hope to be Mother’s apprentices, to learn, to publish and disseminate from her vast wealth of knowledge and experience in order to help other communities reach full economic revitalization, as is the case of Ranchero Solidario Farmers’ Cooperative in Anáhuac, Chihuahua.
Objectives of the Coop are:
° Purchase in bulk all that is local production, i.e. agricultural products, regional traditional medicines, and the products of local cottage industries.
° Sell at lower prices than the commercial supermarkets in order to increase the purchasing power and the wellbeing of the less-well-off in the community
° Honor human dignity and provide gainful employment in Anáhuac
° Be a community of lovingkindness and solidarity based on the universal values of concern for humanity and the natural environment
° Provide vocational training for honorable livelihoods
° Eliminate hunger and guarantee food security for vulnerable populations
° Encourage good nutrition and healthy lifestyle

RCE BMU’s Objectives are to:
° Honor Mother Lolita and the farmers for the work that they do, and for the example that they set, showing that through solidarity, there is enough for all
° Be apprentices to Mother Lolita in order to learn from her and from the members of the Coop
° Publish and disseminate the knowledge, the wisdom and the vast experience of Mother and the Coop
° Work with gainful economic revitalization in each and every community where LL/CDT-RCE BMU engages in collaborative projects
° Spread the goodness, and the multiplication of abundance throughout Chihuahua State, through the Spanish-speaking world and, hopefully, to share this wisdom globally through eventual publication in English of the wisdom gained through our collaboration with the Coop.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Activities of Cooperativa Campesina El Ranchero Solidario:
° Bulk purchase of local products
° Repackaging into smaller units in order to sell to the community at prices below market value
° Product procurement and sale
° Accounting
° Reinvestment of a percentage of profits into the Coop
° Payment of dividends to Coop shareholders-farmers
° Payment of retirement pensions to ten of the Coop’s founding members
° Solidarity and food security for vulnerable members of the community
° Sow the seeds of compassion and respect for all members of the human community
° Attention to migrant and refugee populations

Living Lab/CDT-RCE BMU’s activities:
° RCE BMU members offer ‘solidarity service’ at the Coop as do the farmer-shareholders and their family members
° In the process of serving alongside the community, RCE BMU members learn about the process, and about the invisible, unquantifiable aspects of the community’s interaction that have made this Coop an astounding success
° We engage in ‘Transformational Research’ where, at the same time as we serve, we learn; we research; we write, and we ourselves are transformed for the good in the process.
° RCE BMU is currently writing a book in the Spanish language which aims to capture the richness of El Ranchero Solidario's decades of experience in order to, 1)honor this lifelong work and, 2) disseminate this knowledge and example to other communities that currently struggle to feed, clothe and educate their families.
° RCE BMU hopes to someday translate this knowledge into the English language, and to offer it to communities worldwide that may be struggling with basic sustenance.
Size of academic audience: 
Initially Chihuahua State; eventually México; the Spanish-speaking world and, if we are able to publish and disseminate this knowledge in English, we hope to make the work available worldwide for communities seeking gainful and dignified livelihoods for t
° El Ranchero Solidario Farmers’ Coop has lifted hundreds of agricultural families out of poverty
° It has improved nutrition in Anáhuac
° It is able to offer basic foods and supplies at below-market-prices to the less-well-off
° The supermarket is open to the public, discriminating against no one, and allowing for better lives for the Anáhuac community in general
° El Ranchero Solidario and its Soup Kitchen Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero have improved nutrition and healthy lifestyles in vulnerable members of the population
° Collaboration with the Coop and the Kitchen-- where the poor are invited to both eat and TO SERVE-- helps people in situations of poverty to discover their own inherent worth as beings of infinite dignity
Lessons learned: 
° Through solidarity, hard work, honesty and lovingkindness, there is enough for everyone
° Community is built and sustained by looking out for one another
° The population may not be aware of the unalienability of human rights and the inherent dignity of the human person. It is important that they be exposed to these important concepts through their relationship with the Coop.

Key messages: 
° A commitment to goodness and service, rather than to profit, allows for all to benefit, to grow, and to increase the wellbeing of their families and their community
° Poverty is not only material, it may include poverty of values, poverty of spirit. The work done by the Coop aims to address all forms of poverty in an integrated manner, striving to honor the dignity of all persons at all times, and in all circumstances.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
° In all communities, RCE BMU works with individual leaders to develop a business plan designed to ensure that their projects will be self-sustaining. This is done in order to ensure the permanence of projects once the funding cycle is over. Cooperativa Campesina El Ranchero Solidario provides an outstanding example of how to sustain human wellbeing and to allow a project to be economically viable. We hope to capture this knowledge in order to strengthen the economic viability of all projects in all communities where we labor.
° Cooperativa Campesina El Ranchero Solidario is a self-sustaining farmers’ coop, which is currently the highest-selling supermarket in Anahuac City, Chihuahua México.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon 1. El Ranchero Solidario. 26-10-18.jpg (208.36 KB) El Ranchero Solidario Farmers’ Cooperative in Anáhuac, Chihuahua México. Cooperativa Campesina El Ranchero Solidario
Image icon 2. Farmers-Shareholders serving the community. 26-10-18.jpg (2.58 MB) Ranchero Solidario farmers-shareholders serving the community. Living Lab/Centro de Diálogo y Transformación
Image icon 3. Madre L. y Niña. 26-10-18.jpg (68.56 KB) Legendary nun, Mother Lolita with a young girl inside the Coop. Señor Noé Peregrino
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level