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When Jorge Catalán arrived in San Miguel in 2003, to assume the Presidency of the Board of the Permaculture Institute of Mexico, he could not find organic food for sale anywhere.
Always the problem solver, he began to bring the foods he wanted from Mexico City. Soon he was bringing additional items for friends and friends of friends.
As demand grew he needed a space to store and distribute the frequent shipments, and so began San Miguel’s first “health food”store. Ten years and two expansions later, “Natura” continues to play a pivotal role in the alternative health community and the “green movement” that have boomed in San Miguel in the last eight years. What began as a “one man shop” has grown to 7 employees.
Today Natura offers a wide variety of local and regional produce and products.
Along the way Jorge has provided support to many local producers.
Without the initial support in retail sales from Natura SMA, El Capricho would not have been able to create the client base and recognition it now has. Thanks to Jorge specifically for believing in small producers and creating a storefront for all of the exceptional local products that are crafted here in SMA.Cristinal Gerez, Artesan Maker of Goat Cheeses and Yogurts
Natura SMA, headed by Jorge Catalán, was and is the only organic store in SMA that encouraged and supported my new business of raw goat milk products from the beginning. Without Jorge, and Natura, I would probably have ended up doing something else. So all of you who enjoy my products just remember to thank Jorge.Gil Doron
The values that guide Jorge’s life today were apparent even as a child. “I was the one in the family to be in charge of the garden in whichever form it took. I used to perform experiments comparing the effect of natural and artificial fertilizers in the lawn to prove to my father that it was better to use sheep’s manure than nitrous sulfate. When plagues of insects came, by observation and experiment, I started mixing water with soap and mixes of hot mustard seed or chilies.”
That passionate respect for nature is reflected in the food and body care products that you can find at Natura SMA today. Jorge has visited almost all the producers of products carried by Natura SMA for two reasons: he cares about local producers and wants to understand their business as much as possible, and he cares about his customers and is committed to ensuring they receive the highest quality clean and natural products.
During his 10 years in business Jorge has become involved with distribution, planning and growing of the produce that Natura SMA provides. He has also dealt with companies that were just starting to import and export organic products.
Innovative financing has played an essential part in growing the business. “We have implemented a system for regular customers that is similar to a Co-op that invites people to prepay 5,000 pesos, with the benefit of a 10% discount,” Jorge explains. “This allows us to secure payments for producers and other providers, and provides easier cash flow for the business.”
At Natura SMA we are deeply committed to spreading the word about making better choices in diet, both to improve health and to improve our natural environment.
This commitment has lead Jorge to become the San Miguel Chapter Leader of the first Mexican branch of the Weston A. Price Foundation which promotes a natural, farm related approach to eating nutrient dense foods to improve our health and that of our planet.