The first few years of María Luisa’s life happened in the city. Along with her sisters and brother, she lived in Mexico City until the age of 4, when her father decided it was time to move to Hidalgo to be closer to their grandparents. Her father acquired some backyard animals and her mother opened up a stationary store so kids in the community could have school supplies. That is how María Luisa arrived in Cuautepec de Hinojosa, Hidalgo.
Once in the countryside, María Luisa began to truly understand what at school had been nothing more than words: the cycles of plants, animals and soil. She started to see how this planet’s resources interact and relate to each other. From an early age, María Luisa understood the importance of nature and farming: without any intermediaries, she could see where water and meat came from, who produced her food and how they did so. She understood that life not only thrives in the countryside: it depends on it, too.
Growing up, María Luisa found a passion in making the most out of resources: recycling, hydroponics, sustainable agriculture. She decided to study renewable energies, aware that the future of the world would depend on them. That’s how she found Sistema.bio, a company where she has played many different roles.
María Luisa started off doing an internship with us in 2016 after learning about us at an event in her community. Once she was done with her internship, María Luisa went back to school to work on her thesis and finish her degree. A year later, in 2018, we called her again and invited her to our team. María Luisa decided to take the offer, in a desire to help Mexican farmers, to provide them with tools to increase their productivity and reduce their environmental impact. To her, the opportunity to help improve farming economy was unparalleled.
The next two years were a time of growth and discovery for María Luisa, once again relearning what at the university had been only theory: how biogas is produced, how renewable energies work, what energy sovereignty looks like.
Although throughout her career María Luisa has made countless sales, the one she remembers best is the first one. When she started her new job, she would post informative signs in fodder stores, veterinary clinics and butcher shops. Through them she received a call from the Templos, an interested family in Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo. After a brief conversation, they scheduled a visit. With the family’s help, María Luisa managed to decipher the complicated and at times insufficient rural public transportation to reach Acaxochitlán. Once in the Templos home, the sale came through almost naturally, as if they were old friends. “They opened up to me in the best possible way, even though we were strangers. The trust they showed me felt very nice.”
That was the first time María Luisa saw the fruits of all her effort, the result of so many hours walking in the hot sun. Since that first experience, she has perfected the art of communication, honesty, and openness to learn about what each farming family brings to the table.
María Luisa’s work, like that of all the sales agents that work in the field, goes far beyond sales. Her main job is exchanging, learning and sharing about best agricultural practices. In the end, our biggest potential for impact lies on our ability to find a middle ground between innovation and a wide diversity of farming traditions. “What I like most about my job is getting to know different ways of living. The experiences that farmers share, everything they teach us. They always give me ideas for better living.”
As many members of our team, she finds the driving force for her work in the opportunity to give something back to those who give us everything: the planet, the soil, and those who day to day work their lands to provide us with food. That is why, now more than ever, María Luisa travels around Hidalgo’s countryside, visiting each and every family farm. Because she is well aware of the benefits that biodigesters offer. Because she knows that her efforts have a clear and measurable impact on the economy of those who live off farming.
María Luisa, now Area Sales Manager, has understood that everything in life comes down to resources. How we obtain them, how we use them and how much we make of them. If our resource is knowledge, we must apply it and share it. If it’s water, we must harvest and administer it. If it’s dung, we must make the most of it. “The key for sustainability lies in doing as much as we can with what we’ve got.”
This is the awareness that María Luisa tries to share with Mexican farmers —and now with her team as well. The wisdom of doing more with less, of analyzing the impact of everything we do: “For me, sustainability would be for every family to make the most out of their resources while polluting as little as possible. And that they know how to do it, because we all pollute without even noticing.”
For María Luisa, things must change —and soon: “We need people to believe in new energies, for them to know that we need to start doing things differently.” That is why Sistema.bio joins forces with small farmers around the world —because by making small changes we will achieve great results.
Text by Elena Coll | Art by Brianda Suárez | Edited by Montserrat Cortez & Xunaxi Cruz