Ectagono ∗ Mexico

Photo: Emilia Szekely
Ectagono

Comprehensive wellbeing, ecological rehabilitation, art and culture

Mexico City, Mexico 

Website
Photo: Emilia Szekely

Ectagono is an incubator of projects that offer to improve the quality of life of their participants in Mexico City, with services and products that seek their comprehensive well-being in harmony with the environment, and through art, culture, sports, and technology.

Proposal

ECTAGONO is an initiative that brings together several projects that together seek to provide integral well-being to the participants. As a social enterprise, this initiative fulfills the function of a “hub” or incubator of ideas and projects. In the current land of one hectare located between two ravines south of Mexico City, several food production, education, health, sports and culture projects are housed, all of which must be financially self-sustainable businesses. Instead of a fixed income,  each project pays Ectagono a percentage of its income that varies according to the agreement made at the beginning of the collaboration.

The parallel association to Ectagono, Rios Tarango A.C., has received a concession of 300 hectares of the ravines of Las Aguilas and Tarango for 30 years to help regenerate them. Ectagono is today a registered trademark that is planning to establish itself as an Investment Promotion Company (S.A.P.I in Spanish) to be able to coordinate a multiplicity of partners (the sub-projects). Rios Tarango, A.C. is seeking to become an authorized grantee so that it can grant deductibility of taxes to Ectagono. That is, they are looking for a mixed system that allows the initiative to support its social objectives through profit-making activities.

Selection criteria

Currently, the projects that are adopted in Ectagono are chosen by the owners. They plan to form a committee of project leaders to consider their opinions.

Projects are chosen that:

(a) build integral well-being in harmony with the environment, and through the arts, culture, and technology,

(b) are complementary and mutually reinforcing

(c) demonstrate a plan for financial self-sustainability.

The owners consider that competition is healthy and do not guarantee exclusivity to any project – a vision that contrasts with that of models, such as those of alternative economies, which argue that diversity and complementarity, rather than competition, are sources of sustainability. The projects have a grace period to establish themselves and then must achieve results or renegotiate the terms.

Sub-projects

The projects that Ectagono has adopted so far can be divided into:

• Sustainable food production: Urban agriculture, beekeeping, poultry, vermiculture and compost, production of handmade tortillas, cafeteria/restaurant.

• Environmental integration: butterfly farm, green building, pluvial water collectors.

• Health and sports: calisthenics, martial arts, mountain biking, yoga, dog park, traditional temazcal (steam bath).

• Technology: Drone workshops and automation of urban gardens.

An urban “Eco Village” project is being developed. Homes are built where volunteers are expected to work on different projects during six-month residences in exchange for food, residence, and experience. It has not been decided if these volunteers will have to pay for these “training” residences. According to the owners, this would turn Ectagono into a “living project” that really forms alternative ways of living, not just one-day experiences.

Integration

The project seeks to be comprehensive at different levels.

Firstly, the projects complement each other – the urban garden buys compost and it in turn supplies the restaurant, for example.

Secondly, the clients are offered a variety of activities to increase the yields of their visit: in addition to sport, they can take a beekeeping workshop, visit a butterfly farm, eat at the restaurant, and take their dog to train.

Thirdly, workshops, trainings and school visits are offered, so that knowledge and awareness of environmental issues are transmitted to the general public at all levels. This makes the project more sustainable to the extent that its activities have a long-term reach in the population that participates.

Ectagono provides support to its sub-projects in the form of a physical space, but also grants them advice, infrastructure, gets them clients, organizes events and workshops and establishes internal and external alliances.