Village Earth

Help Raise $10,000 to Sustain the Vibrant Ranchero Culture in Baja Mexico – Living Roots


Earlier this year in Spring, five valiant young souls from the San Javier secondary school laced up their boots and hoisted their packs to walk the 25 kilometers across dry mesa tops to visit and interview the local cowboy hero, Dario Higuera.


The trekkers, 11 to 16 years old, learned how to find waterholes in the desert, and the many valuable uses of local flora – traditional skills that are fast disappearing.  The experience was filled with pride and laughter, good stories and sore feet, and above all an incredible appreciation for the Baja Ranchero lifestyle which is these students’ heritage.

Thank you for being a part of creating this invaluable experience for sierra youth. Your support is instrumental.

For outsiders, an appreciation of the richness and preciousness of the Baja Ranchero culture comes naturally. But for sierra residents, the uniqueness of their traditional culture may not have the same romantic appeal when they are faced with limited economic and educational opportunities inherent in living on, and off the land. 

You are an important part of promoting a vibrant Baja Ranchero lifestyle that will attract and sustain future generations. Click here to make a Donation

Community Empowerment

  • A critical step is giving people greater control over the influences that shape their lives, control that comes from having the tools to forge their own future. This year:Seven committed and respected community leaders, primarily women, have stepped up to facilitate decision making in their communities
  • Through their efforts and the Living Roots training and support model, the San Javier Community Cultural Center will celebrate its one year anniversary on February 2nd

Economic Development

To make the ranchero lifestyle sustainable, additional income generation capacity is needed.  An important enabler for additional income is business and financial management capability. Living Roots continues to provide this entrepreneurial training. This year:

  • Nearly $70,000 pesos earned through tourism and product sales entered the local economy
  • 33 community members sold traditional artisan craft through the San Javier Cultural Center and reached new markets
  • 18 sierra residents had direct hands-on experience learning how to manage product sales and interact with customers and tourists

 However, while we are making significant progress, we still have more work to do.

 Youth Engagement

As we know, no culture will survive without the enthusiasm, will and dedication of the next generation.This year:

  • Two young men, ages 17 and 30, have been chosen by the community to manage the San Javier Cultural Center.
  •  The students who walked to visit Dario have been exhibiting photographs, videos and journal entries across the state of Baja California Sur to share their experiences and help spread their passion for who they are and where the come from.
  •  Also, thanks to your support, we have begun a school garden in the San Javier secondary school to give students hands-on skills in organic gardening, composting and seed conservation.

We need your help to continue Youth Programing!

In the coming year, we would like to co-create more programs that get and keep youth excited about the unique culture, environment and lifestyle of Baja’s mountain ranges.  

To develop and grow youth programs, we are seeking to raise $10,000 dollars from people like you, who share our passion for and devotion to helping Baja’s mountain communities develop and thrive on their own terms.  We are already seeing the seeds of a sustainable community emerging and eagerly anticipate the day when the community can be a model for others in Baja.

 Making an end of the year contribution to Living Roots. Donate Now. fund-project

 Thank you again for your continued support, you make this grassroots effort possible!


McKenzie Campbell

Director, Co-Founder

P.S. – Continuing the saddle raffle tradition – This year we are working with saddle-maker Luis Arce Arce from Rancho San Gregorio, Sierra San Francisco, to exhibit a Silla Vaquera that is truly a work of art.

To enter to win the saddle, simply add an additional $25 dollars to your end of the year contribution and let us know you would like your name entered in the hat!  The drawing will be held on December 13th at a Holiday Posada/Artisan Fair in Loreto.

5For more pictures of the saddle and an interview with Luis visit Living Roots/Raíces Vivas on Facebook.

Upcoming Courses in the Village Earth/CSU Online Certificate Program in Community-Based Development

Fall I Session

GSLL 1518 – Community-Based Food Systems

During this five week course, you will learn about various approaches to building community-based food systems and movements for food justice around the world. Together, we will evaluate successful efforts at food system relocalization and the protection of community food resources, as well as the factors that threaten these efforts.

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Summer II Session

GSLL 1510 – Community-Based Mapping

This course explores theories, ethics, applications, and methods of community-based mapping and its role in participatory learning and action as well as larger processes of integrated community-based development.

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