El Research Rancho

El Rancho, known as Chelenzo Farms offers visitors the opportunity to tour and experience an homestead in action. Applying permaculture and land conservation principles, the Dominguez Family is rejuvenating the magical landscape into a flourishing organic garden and start-up research agroecology farm, with a focus on best practices for cultivating edible native plants and trees such as cacti, agave, and aloe vera, in addition to a variety of herbs, fruits and vegetables. Our animals (chickens, goats, pigs, ducks, and (soon) rabbits) will also prospectively offer optional (if not, optimal) organic fresh nourishment for our guests.

Chelenzo Farms had three new kid kids (goats) born on Friday, June 24, 2022. This is a short 30-second clip capturing their inherent cuteness!

WWOOF Information

Click on the links below to read articles and news that elaborate upon our agricultural and conservation practices and aspirations.

How Mezcal Makers Recycle the Spirit’s Vast Waste by Patricia Zavala Gutiérrez is a Global Press Journal reporter based in Mexico. Global Press Journal, August, 2022. Mezcal, Mexico’s traditional agave spirit, has enraptured palates across the country and abroad. But as demand soars, a more bitter note emerges: the amount of waste its production generates and the risks that poses for the very environment that sustains it. Like tequila, mezcal is a distilled beverage produced from agave, a plant native to the arid and semiarid zones of the Americas. Both mezcal and tequila are produced by cooking and fermenting the piña, the heart of the agave, and distilling its juice. The byproducts of these processes are highly polluting, resistant to decomposition, and potentially toxic for aquatic life if dumped in rivers without treatment. Some farmers and researchers are coming up with solutions to reuse all this waste. Besides protecting the environment, they hope to create jobs along the mezcal value chain. And while the tequila industry grew exponentially in the past decades with little consideration for the environment, most mezcal “palenques,” as mezcal factories are known, are still small, family-run businesses.

Map of America and the Sonoran Desert from "An Aridamerican model for agriculture in a hotter, water scarce world."

An Aridamerican model for agriculture in a hotter, water scarce world, by Gary Nabhan & Co., Plants People Planet Journal of the New Phytologist Foundation, 29 July 2020

Now is the time to invest in desert-adapted farming and food systems, with climate change already accelerating damages to agricultural landscapes. Biomimicry and traditional knowledge can aid in designing co-located food, water, and energy provisioning systems adapted to arid climates and scarce resources that improve agroecological and human health. Adopting such designs will require transdisciplinary integration of plant, environmental, social, and health sciences.


Landscape Scale Planning of Regional Regenerative Economies, By New Mexico Soil Health Champion Jan-Willem Jansens, Owner of Ecotone Landscape Planning, LLC in Santa Fe, NM, NM Healthy Soil Working Group blog, June 2022

Recently, ecosystem and economic regeneration at a landscape scale has rapidly gained national and international recognition as one of the approaches needed in response to a web of challenges. Economic revitalization, ecosystem restoration, fire risk reduction, management of scarce water resources, meaningful training and employment for youth, and coordination of food production and marketing are all calling for larger-level and collaborative planning and development. Not only would such a landscape-scale approach lead to a more effective use of investments, it would also help attract larger and more sustained outside investments and leverage results from individual projects toward greater gains in other sectors. Pursuing self-perpetuating ecosystem health gains and economic gains in which each activity or investment has spin-off effects or by-products that feed and strengthen other activities in the region is called a regenerative approach.

An Aridamerican model for agriculture in a hotter, water scarce world, by Gary Nabhan & Co., Plants People Planet Journal of the New Phytologist Foundation, 29 July 2020

Now is the time to invest in desert-adapted farming and food systems, with climate change already accelerating damages to agricultural landscapes. Biomimicry and traditional knowledge can aid in designing co-located food, water, and energy provisioning systems adapted to arid climates and scarce resources that improve agroecological and human health. Adopting such designs will require transdisciplinary integration of plant, environmental, social, and health sciences.


Landscape Scale Planning of Regional Regenerative Economies, By New Mexico Soil Health Champion Jan-Willem Jansens, Owner of Ecotone Landscape Planning, LLC in Santa Fe, NM, NM Healthy Soil Working Group blog, June 2022

Recently, ecosystem and economic regeneration at a landscape scale has rapidly gained national and international recognition as one of the approaches needed in response to a web of challenges. Economic revitalization, ecosystem restoration, fire risk reduction, management of scarce water resources, meaningful training and employment for youth, and coordination of food production and marketing are all calling for larger-level and collaborative planning and development. Not only would such a landscape-scale approach lead to a more effective use of investments, it would also help attract larger and more sustained outside investments and leverage results from individual projects toward greater gains in other sectors. Pursuing self-perpetuating ecosystem health gains and economic gains in which each activity or investment has spin-off effects or by-products that feed and strengthen other activities in the region is called a regenerative approach.


Environmental Pesticide Exposure Alters Gut Microbes, Increasing Urgency for Organic Transition, Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2022

"The gut microbiome is a group of microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, viruses, and fungi, that plays a crucial role in digestion, bodily function, detoxification, and immune and central nervous system regulation. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Since the gut microbiome shapes metabolism, it can mediate some toxic effects of environmental chemicals. However, with prolonged exposure to various environmental contaminants, critical chemical-induced changes may occur in the gut microbes, influencing adverse health outcomes. Like gut microbes, soil microbes are essential for the functionality of the soil ecosystem. Toxic chemicals damage the soil microbiota by decreasing and altering microbial biomass and soil microbiome composition (diversity). Pesticide use contaminates soil and results in a bacteria-dominant ecosystem causing “vacant ecological niches, so organisms that were rare become abundant and vice versa.” The bacteria outcompete beneficial fungi, which improves soil productivity and increases carbon sequestration capacity. The resulting soil ecosystem is unhealthy and imbalanced, with a reduction in the natural cycling of nutrients and resilience. Thus, plants grown in such conditions are more vulnerable to parasites and pathogens. Moreover, the effects of climate change only exacerbate threats to soil health as studies show a link between global climate change and a high loss of microbial organisms in the soil ecosystem.


The findings add to the growing quantity of environmental studies linking pesticide exposure to metabolic distress and the respective health consequences. Although previous studies suggest pesticide exposure in the environment disrupts the gut microbiome, this report is the first to find an association between pesticide excretion and exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides. Although most pesticide exposure decreases microbial species richness, some chemicals, like glyphosate, increase bacterial species richness. However, an increase in species richness is not always positive as it cannot measure the function of how these bacteria work together. Studies find functional diversity declines faster with agricultural intensification then species richness. Functional diversity involves the interaction of species based on similarity in behavioral, morphological, physiological, or resource use as it relates more strongly to ecosystem function. Moreover, an increase in species richness in the gut microbiome can allow more resilient bacteria to flourish and outcompete other beneficial bacteria regardless of pathogenic potential. For instance, glyphosate kills bacterial species beneficial to humans and incorporated in probiotics yet allows harmful bacteria to persist, leading to resistance. Similarly, glyphosate-exposed soils contain a greater abundance of genes associated with antibiotic resistance and a higher number of inter-species transferable genetic material. Antibiotic resistance can trigger longer-lasting infections, higher medical expenses, the need for more expensive or hazardous medications, and the inability to treat life-threatening illnesses. Nevertheless, studies show an organic diet lowers individual exposure to pesticides, demonstrating a significant reduction in bodily pesticide concentration. Therefore, organic can also protect human gut microbe health by reducing the number of toxic chemicals within the body."


NRDC Report: Pathways to Regenerative Agriculture, NRDC Blog, April 21, 2022

"Our food and farming system is facing a reckoning—a global pandemic that upended supply chains and unearthed the horrific consequences of a consolidated meatpacking industry, climate change threatening food production across the country, fertilizer shortages, rising prices at the grocery store, and a sector that accounts for 10 percent of the United State’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Our current agricultural system is failing us. It’s high time we build toward a stronger, healthier, more equitable, and more resilient one. NRDC’s report Regenerative Agriculture: Farm Policy for the 21st Century details an alternative vision of what agriculture can be—one that can respond better to external shocks (like a pandemic), combat climate change by embracing Indigenous growing principles, protect biodiversity by managing farms and ranches as ecosystems, and support competition while putting decision-making power back into the hands of independent farmers and ranchers."


A Cry for Regeneration: A National Action Plan for Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, Reforestation, & Climate by Ronnie Cummins, May 11, 2022, Organic Consumers Association

"In Mexico our sister organizations such as Via Organica and networks such as Sin Maiz no hay Pais (“without corn there is no country”), and the Real Tortilla Project have achieved notable successes through litigation and grassroots lobbying, with federal courts banning the commercial planting of GMO corn and soybeans, and the Mexico City government announcing a phase-out of Monsanto/Bayer’s Roundup/glyphosate and the importation of millions of tons of GMO corn as livestock feed. In addition, Mexico has signed the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the “4 for 1000” Soils for Climate and People agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to sequester excess atmospheric CO2 through regenerative farm and land-use practices. The federal government recently announced that agroecology is now the official national organizing principle for agriculture and food policies."


From traditional practice to top climate solution, agroecology gets growing attention by Anna Lappé, 13 April 2022, mongabay.com

"Defined in the report as a “holistic approach” to farming, agroecology as a practice includes techniques such as intercropping and planting cover crops, integrating livestock and trees into landscapes, and deploying organic farming methods to enhance biodiversity and soil health while eliminating dependence on external inputs like pesticides and synthetic fertilizer. It’s a nature-based solution that can “contribute to both climate mitigation and adaptation,” the IPCC stresses. It’s also a solution grounded in an embrace of the human rights of Indigenous and small-scale producers, as articulated in the 13 principles of agroecology from the United Nation’s High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition."


Even the Cactus May Not Be Safe From Climate Change by Raymond Zhong, April 14, 2022, NY Times

"More than half of species could face greater extinction risk by midcentury, a new study found, as rising heat and dryness test the prickly plants’ limits."

What we grow

Coming Summer 2022

What we raise

Coming Summer 2022