Could tequila waste save people, livestock and planet?

Apr 27, 2022

Date:27 April 2022

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By Rob Verkerk PhD, founder, executive & scientific director

Think tequila, mezcal and the land of the narcotics cartels — and you might be pushed to imagine this environment would turn up a key to unlocking solutions that arrest desertification, alleviate poverty and hunger, and mitigate climate change.

Not only that, could Mexico deliver another blow to the widely pedalled notion that livestock farming – and the consumption of animal products – is an environmental disaster?

>>> Read ANH article: Red meat witch-hunt exposed, 10 March 2022

These are all prospects that Meleni and I explored during our visit to the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico last week while connecting with our friends at the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). Our joint purpose was to develop strategies for the coming years to catalyse the union of the regenerative agriculture and regenerative health movements for the benefit of both people and planet.

Heading up the OCA and its Mexican affiliate, Via Organica, is Ronnie Cummins, an environmental, health and social activist of over half a century’s standing as well as a key team member of the non-profit Regeneration International.

The video we’ve created below is based on my interviews with Ronnie at Via Organica which we hope gives you a sense of the ground-breaking work going on in Mexico that has the potential to re-shape the future of the most poverty-struck arid and semi-arid regions of the world.

After two years of enforced ‘house arrest’, it was also a chance for me to return to my agricultural roots in an effort to progress ANH’s international mission that is all about helping as many people on the planet access sustainable systems of food production and health that work with, rather than against, nature.

  • Forty percent of the Earth’s land area is arid or semi-arid, much of it degraded, and very challenging to farm. Increasing amounts are turning to desert.
  • This land supports one-third of the human population of our planet and the majority experience extreme poverty.
  • Agroforestry systems are widely seen to be key to regenerating this land and capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Could the vast agricultural waste from the 1 million agave plants processed annually by the Mexican tequila industry point to a viable solution for people, livestock and planet?

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About the agave-mesquite agroforestry system:

  • The Billion Agave Project, Regeneration International
  • Mexican Farmer Devises New Method to Reverse Semiarid Land Degradation, The Wire, 28 August 2021.
  • Mexico: can semi-arid land be saved? Latin American Bureau, 14 August 2021

About the organisations:

  • Organic Consumers Association
  • Via Organica (Mexico)
  • Regeneration International
  • ANH International

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