Regeneration Training at Playa Viva

Practicing Our Core Values.

Regenerative, sustainable, closed-loop systems… we hear these concepts tossed around in different circles, but what do they mean? The team of people who help our hotel, farm and kitchen run smoothly come from communities big and small, carrying their own understanding and interpretation of these terms used to describe responsible practices. Our guests come to Playa Viva with their own definitions of these terms also, influenced by the worlds from which they arrive. 

a half-day, interactive workshop to dive deep into what regeneration y regenerative practices mean to and for our thirty-five person hotel and permaculture teams.

At Playa Viva, and the other Regenerative Resorts with which we collaborate, we excitedly engage in conversations around these terms all around our hotel and farm. As Permaculture Manager at Playa Viva, I find opportunities to discuss the meaning of terms like reducing waste, capturing natural resources, and regenerative systems with all members of our hotel team. Our maintenance team is currently redesigning the way in which we handle and reuse organic and inorganic waste produced at the hotel. The permaculture team is busy designing and building natural water harvesting features inside our increasingly dry landscape, and the team of individuals who prepare the food for our staff and guests are thinking through ways we can use nutritious local ingredients and reduce food waste. 

These concepts and conversations form some of our core values as an organization, and we are working with our team to create a deeper, shared understanding of what they mean in practice.  Colleen Fugate, Daniel Ramirez, Lorenzo Locci and I, Amanda Harris, designed a half-day, interactive workshop to dive deep into what regeneration y regenerative practices mean to and for our thirty-five person hotel and permaculture teams. It was our intention to create an engaging space where our local colleagues could discuss some of the concepts and phrases they have heard over their collective years working at Playa Viva – terms like sustainable, farm to table, recycling and reducing waste, responsible energy systems, water conservation, regenerating landscapes and healthy communities.  

Like any good workshop, we started with an icebreaker!

We began with a game to help the team open up, to recognize where they and their colleagues are going above and beyond the expectations of the work we do, and a space to express how we care about and appreciate one another. Each member of our team learned how their words and actions positively impact their colleagues as we sat back to back, with eyes closed, and gently touched the shoulders of one another when specific characteristics were read aloud. 

Full of positive affirmations, we opened our circle up and Colleen presented the goals of the workshopWe began by writing a few key terms on a whiteboard and asking our team to shout out the first things that come to mind when they hear these words. Responses to regeneration included “reducing waste,” “reforestation,” and “a healthy diet.” When asked what these concepts mean specifically to Playa Viva, one member of our team said that “Playa Viva is more than a hotel. It is a project. It is a space where ideas are shared across cultures and carried by each one of us into our own communities.” 

Playa Viva’s Core Values

In so many words, the team was discussing Playa Viva’s core values before we even asked them to. To streamline the conversation a bit more, we broke into “Regeneration Stations” to discuss three of the four core values most important to Playa Viva.

1) Promoting Biodiversity, working within 2) Systems Designed to Capture and Store Water and Energy, and to 3) Create Meaningful Community. A fourth core value which we did not discuss in the workshop, but one that carries equal weight among our team, is 4) Creating Transformational Experiences.  

Click the links above to read more about these core values and understand what we discussed in the stations, but before you do, let me share a few heart-warming takeaways with you. The individuals that make up our hotel and permaculture teams come from a very small rural community. Global environmental and social politics do not always reach individuals and communities like Juluchuca (for better or worse), but the importance of respecting one’s natural resources, caring for one’s neighbors, and paying attention to one’s own health are values that do not rely on technology to transcend generations. Our team proudly declared that they want “decontaminate their community” from old thought patterns and from the excess of plastic bottles, bags and styrofoam used. A little self-reflection revealed that they think of themselves as “educators, advocates and role-models” in their community, and try to share what they learn from working at Playa Viva with their children, parents and other members of their communities. Thinking into the future, a few natural leaders from our team even mentioned the excitement they would feel if Juluchuca were able to position itself as a model community in not only the Costa Grande region of Guerrero, but in Mexico as a whole. 

they think of themselves as “educators, advocates and role-models” in their community, and try to share what they learn from working at Playa Viva with their children, parents and other members of their communities

As we continue to improve our closed-loop systems at Playa Viva, we will depend more and more on the many individuals who make up our team to spread the concepts, the core values and the importance of each to the larger community where our hotel is situated. We also depend on you, our guests and our friends, to challenge us to go beyond our promises and to always be thinking of how we can better serve our community, our environment, and the global conversation toward a regenerative lifestyle and landscape.

Amanda Harris es la Gerente de Permacultura en Playa Viva. Originaria de Maryland, se dirigió a Juluchuca a través de Nicaragua, Costa Rica, el sudeste asiático y, más recientemente, una hermosa "plantada" en Virginia del Oeste.   
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