According to Natura SMA website, 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 a 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 he ended up opening San Miguel’s first “health food” store.
Ten years and two expansions later, “Natura” continues to play a fundamental 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.
Jorge talks about the values that have guided his life ever since he was a child: “I was the one in the family alwys in charge of the garden. 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 also used blends of hot mustard seeds 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 personally pays a visit to all the producers 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, organic, 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 dealt with companies that have started to import and export organic products.
Innovative financing has played an essential part in growing this 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 cash flow for the business.”