Breakfast with the mayor of Jonotla.

In December 2009, Humanitarian Projects Manager Jeff Abella and Project Coordinator Cheryl Malkoun traveled to Mexico and secured office space in metropolitan Puebla and farmland in the rural mountain town of Jonotla. This trip was a culmination of two years’ worth of scouting trips and meetings with local officials and cooperatives. Now Himalayan Institute Mexico is a reality.

Jonotla, which is located in coffee-growing country approximately two hours from Puebla, serves as home of the first community center project in Mexico—a one-acre energy farming demonstration site. This land, which is being planted with a variety of medicinal herbs, trees, and food crops, will be used as a sustainable agriculture training school for local farmers. It is the first step toward a larger energy farming effort to promote organic farming techniques, market linkage, and affordable health care, while supporting Mexico’s rich tradition of herbal medicine.

The Puebla office is in the heart of one of Mexico’s largest and oldest colonial cities. Already, staff at Himalayan Institute Mexico are working toward making Himalayan Institute Mexico–Puebla the home base for hosting eco-excursions and yoga retreats for Himalayan Institute members around the world. It will also be a center point for nurturing the budding yoga scene in the city of Puebla.

Building on the experiences of the now well-established community centers in India and Africa, Himalayan Institute Mexico is at the start of a swiftly moving project that will benefit local and global community members.

Staff members of the Himalayan Institute Humanitarian Projects Department Ishan Tigunait (third from right) and Jeff Abella (far right) visit a nursery in Jonotla where the biofuel tree Jatropha is being grown.

Ishan and Cheryl meet with a group of local herbalists.

Downtown Puebla is known for its architecture. This square has been decorated for the holidays.