In the month of July, the Yucatan was busy, you could say busy as bees, as the bees or more so the honey that Yucatan bees make was on the chopping block. The Yucatan bee industry is the largest exporter to Europe of honey, with over 40% of the honey made here delivered directly to European shops. Europeans love the honey of the melipona bees and they love the final bottled product that they put in their desserts, in their tea, use for medicinal purposes or skincare products.
But all of this was threatened in the last few months when a company (lets not mention who okay) wanted to start going Genetically modified corn in the fields of the Yucatan. If the grower was successful in their GM planting then the bees would be effected by the pollen of the genetically modified corn fields and Europe would not accept any honey that could be tainted by genetically modified corn, or any genetically modified fields…soy, canola or papaya.
So the Yucatan farmers fought their battle, having demonstrations at World Heritage sites like Chitzen Itza, Coba and within larger cities….and Mexico has put a ban on GMO crops in the country! The bees are saved, the honey is saved and most importantly the Yucatan bee keepers can maintain their economic growth within their pueblos!
Success stories like these are throughout Mexican history and the desire to preserve culture, agriculture, communities and economies is what makes this country and the surrounding area of Tulum such a wonderful place.INdependence day is coming up September 15 and there is one more victory to celebrate.
Local businesses thrive in Tulum, due to community support.
The buy local movement is all the rage in North America with this philosophy becoming more and more prevalent during each growing season. Tulum has had a ‘buy local’ philosphy for many generations, which is why you see so many small businesses in the town of Tulum and on the beach road in Tulum. Sure, a few name brand businesses are creeping in, but a Starbucks can not be found, there is one new large Mexican grocery store chain that just arrived into town as the local businesses could not keep up with the demand of the community, and community building focuses on community projects first like cultural centers and a library before developments or growth is considered in municipal offices.
Buying local is what made Tulum and continues to separate Tulum from other Riviera Maya coastal towns or tourist destinations. Tulum ruins was a trade hub when it was first build thousands of years ago, and Tulum continues to be a local trading hub for visitors and local businesses. Visitors especially enjoy buying local as it gives them a unique experience that is community based, unlike a city experience that is internationally based or in some cases unknown.
Buying something that need is one thing, but buying something that you need and getting a story to share along with that is why most of us travel, no? The furniture in the villa has a story, the wrought iron chandelier in the Master Suite has a story, the biodegradable shampoo has a story, the fish that shows up on the grill one night has a story. The bottles that are used for the melipona honey are hand me downs from Jimmy, bottles that came from Casa de las Olas guests who brought a bottle of wine or vodka from Russia, or California. The solar system that provides electricity for all of our guests has a story.
Genetically modified crop ban, buy local philosophies and sustainable practices are alive and well in Tulum
Taking care of your own, your land and your family is inherent in the Mexican culture. The ban on genetically modified food crops, support for buy local philosophies and a community mentality is a live and well in Tulum. If you share these mind sets, then Tulum is your place. If you are sitting on the fence, come check it out and have a chat with the owner of Casa de las Olas and find out if community based, locally focused and health conscious communities can work. So far for us and guests of Tulum, its working.