Above: An ejido is an area of communal land used for agriculture that is collectively maintained and managed. Following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the Mexican government created the ejido system to solve long-standing land-ownership inequality. Between the 1930s and the late 1970s, half of Mexico’s entire land area became ejido.
Issue 2 - Fall 2016
Mesquite charcoal 

Mesquite charcoal 

Finding sustainable solutions for the production of the popular mesquite tree offers exciting opportunities for the future of Mexico’s smallholder ejido farms.

If you’ve ever traveled to southern regions of the US, you will have seen signs outside restaurants promoting “mesquite grilled barbecue” with big juicy steaks enticing you through the door. Charcoal made from the mesquite tree has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to the exciting smoky flavor it brings to even the most boring beef patty.

It’s not just popular for barbecue; mesquite wood is used in furniture, medicinal teas and fodder. A substantial share of the world’s mesquite comes from Baja California in the north of Mexico, where the trees used to grow in abundance all across the state.

Partnering with Land Life Company and using the Cocoon technology, we are able to achieve
large scale sustainable reforestation with mesquite trees. Together we can adapt our agricultural methods to mitigate the effects of climate change for the future.
— Menes Rafael Garza, Head of Assembly Ejido Carmen Serdán

However, unsustainable harvesting practices have led to large-scale deforestation of this once lush region. Now, large areas of Baja California are deserted and unused, often due to soil degradation and challenging conditions such as low rainfall and hot summer temperatures.

Together with the Ejido Carmen Serdán community and CONAFOR, we are planting a sustainable mesquite tree plantation on formerly unused and degraded ejido land. 25,000 mesquite trees will be planted with the Cocoon, restoring the land while providing a sustainable source of income for the 200 men and women that depend on this land for their welfare.

To encourage biodiversity, other tree species will be planted with the mesquite seedlings, along with a monitoring schedule and a fence to protect the trees from cattle. Carmen Serdán will be one of the very first commercial mesquite plantations on ejido land, supplying mesquite charcoal to barbecue-loving consumers in the US. This project will serve as a showcase on how to restore the tens of thousands of degraded hectares in this region, while improving the economic situation of rural communities.