Image credit: Courtesy of Mujeres y Ambiente

Supporting Women-Led Micro-Enterprises to Regenerate Biodiversity

Recognized by UNDP’s Equator Initiative, Mujeres y Ambiente, or Women and Environment, is a group in the community of La Carbonera, which lies in the Buenavista micro-watershed in the municipality of Querétaro, Mexico. Despite the high pressure towards urbanization due to the proximity to the city and industrial zones, Women and Environment seeks to improve their living conditions by restoring and preserving the biological biodiversity of the region, turning it into an engine of development. It has found ways to reinforce traditional knowledge and use local biodiversity to restore the soil, watercourses, and sustainable use of natural resources by creating nurseries to produce and cultivate native plants of aromatic and medicinal species, native seeds, and open pollination.

There is already a successful experience of joint work by a group of producers from La Joya and Charape La Joya with the Women and Environment group, derived from the development and implementation of a project under the Nagoya Protocol with technical support of the Autonomous University of Querétaro. Technical training and infrastructure have been provided to launch a productive project with medicinal plants, which seeks to promote the sustainable use of biodiversity and rescue traditional knowledge linked to its use.

Image credit: Courtesy of Mujeres y Ambiente

This project will establish a region for the production of medicinal and aromatic plants in the municipality of Querétaro through agro-ecological practices, which include the traditional knowledge of local communities with restoration and productive approach.

Goals:

  1. To consolidate diversified production systems based on the production of aromatic and medicinal plants. 
  2. To promote training and the exchange of knowledge for production based on agroecological and sustainable practices.
  3. To establish a hydrological design of the land for soil conservation and evaluate its influence on erosion rates in agroecosystems.
  4. To evaluate the mechanisms and flows that determine the temporal variation and structural relationships of these agrosystems by determining soil carbon dynamics.
  5. To evaluate the productivity of the system.
  6. To replicate the experience in other local communities that show interest.

This project is an addition to the strategies that have been implemented in these communities as a means to mitigate the effects of climate change, mainly erosion, and loss of biodiversity, promoting practices that ensure sustainable use of resources, strengthening food sovereignty through the production of their food with a gender equity perspective.

Image credit: Courtesy of Mujeres y Ambiente

Although many challenges remain in improving the conditions of production systems, the team has observed that this way of producing can help restore the physicochemical conditions of soils and foster more resilient and diverse landscapes. Today, the project aims to consolidate the production units, strengthening the capacities of producers through training, knowledge dialogues, technical advice, and infrastructure that allows us to increase production, conserve the soil, and have diversified systems.

In addition, the team desires to have an adequate space for training that supports the integration of more producers from these and other surrounding communities, developing this and other value chains, but above all to promote environmental awareness of both about production and consumption in the population of both rural communities and the urban area using eco-techniques, good practices, and environmental education.

Image credit: Courtesy of Mujeres y Ambiente

This Women and Environment project continues to promote the role of women in decision-making and recognize their role as guardians of traditional knowledge and the use of resources, as well as their role as business leaders with a true environmental conscience. With regard to the production and supply of aromatic plants, the group's objective is to establish a project from the perspective of integrated management that will serve as a trigger for economic and productive improvement processes in Querétaro.

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