Mexico has roots that extend into some of the most famous civilizations known to man, the Aztecs and the Mayans. Mexico was conquered and colonized by Spain in the early 16th century. Administered as the Viceroyalty of New Spain for three centuries, it achieved its independence early in the 19th century.
Today, Mexico is still a major nation of influence in the Americas and the world. Mexico has the second largest gross domestic product in Latin America and is the 13th largest economy in the world. Nevertheless, wealth is unevenly distributed and there is a very large income gap between the poor and wealthy. Ten percent of the wealthiest population earns 40 percent of the country’s resources while the poorest 10 percent of the population earns 1.1 percent of the resources. Additionally, half of the population lives under the poverty line, with one-fifth of the population living in extreme poverty (under two dollars a day).
Mexico is also a very diverse nation. It contains the second-largest population of indigenous people in Latin America. It is second only to Peru, home of the ancient Inca civilization. Geographically, Mexico’s diversity is outstanding. Ten percent of all species on Earth are in Mexico. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 200,000 different species are native to the country. Worldwide, only India and China have greater vegetation diversity.
Heifer's Work in Mexico
In 1955, Paul Stone began Heifer’s work in Mexico, distributing a large variety of domestic animals for genetic improvement. Beginning in 1960, missionary John Hollingsworth began a farm in Cortazar, Guanajuato, raising livestock and receiving animals from the United States (Arizona and Arkansas). Visits to that farm also provided a learning module on backyard vegetable gardening and animal management. These animals arrived by airfreight every other month.
In 1992, an office was established in the city of Puebla. Currently, Heifer Mexico’s office is located in the southern part of the country, in Oaxaca. Heifer works in the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Chiapas, Yucatan and Oaxaca.
To date, Heifer Mexico has helped rural families in 23 states with more than 3,000 farm animals, mainly pigs, sheep and dairy cattle.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Local food and native corn production, agroecology training, apiculture, worm composting and agricultural diversification
Post-harvest management and processing: Food production, jam and marmalade production
Market development: Consolidating and strengthening networking and access to institutional markets
Technology: Eco-farming systems education adn ethno-veterinarian techniques
Nutrition: Human nutrition and amaranth production
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
In celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year we chose to support Heifer International for our inaugural monthly dinner event at The Rose Room in Venice, CA, just steps away from the beach. While we get to enjoy the privilege of having such a dinner, we wanted to recognize the country of Mexico and also give back to those that do not have swift or easy access to food/water/opportunities.
A sweet moment is shared between this father and daughter, members of Heifer’s Amarantando: Productive and Nutritional Diversification in Oaxaca project in southwestern Mexico.
Farmers in Mexico are trying out an unusual crop, with Heifer International’s help.