Santa Fe, Here We Come.

January 23, 2023

Santa Fe, Here We Come.

May 29, 2023

It’s been said, “Santa Fe may wear the mantle of great age, but because she welcomes the new and exciting, she never grows old.”

People often ask us why we chose Santa Fe, New Mexico, as our U.S. location for two upcoming MEA campuses and a series of regenerative residential communities. In the late spring of 2020, with Covid creating a very opaque future for MEA, given our Baja location, we started considering where we might expand within the U.S.

We made a list of qualities we were looking for in the place, and each of the four operating partners— Christine, Jeff, Skylar, and me—had five votes. The only location on all four of our lists was Santa Fe for some of the following reasons.

Since nature is an essential teacher in our MEA curriculum, we love the wide open spaces of the Land of Enchantment. We appreciate that there’s a storied history, and we can connect with and learn from the indigenous elder community. Santa Fe has long attracted seekers and a robust community of potential faculty and facilitators. It’s also a great place to tap into the artists and makers for design details and as teachers.

Getting to Santa Fe requires a bit of a pilgrimage which we like since we don’t want MEA to be a commuter school (why locations like Sonoma, Ojai, and the Hudson Valley were less interesting). Santa Fe also has a slightly foreign vibe, which is a big plus since it puts our students in a liminal space, which means they’re more open to the transformational experience we offer. And Santa Fe is a popular retirement destination that bodes well for our regenerative communities.

Now, for a quick update on our plans. Our Ranch campus with a horse farm—which can host two separate cohorts simultaneously, given it’s on four square miles of land—is under construction and will open in early 2024. Our Town campus—in a former Catholic retreat center and seminary next to St. John’s College—has just received its initial city approvals and now has to go through a design process to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It will likely open in 2025. We’re still concepting the regenerative communities based upon what our co-founder Jeff Hamaoui has learned developing the Baja Sage community near our Mexican campus.

I’ll finish with a D.H. Lawrence quote from nearly 100 years ago, “I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had. It certainly changed me forever. The moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend. There was a certain magnificence in the high-up day, a certain eagle-like royalty. In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to a new.”

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