Between Neighbors: Meetings, Dialogues and Exchange

This action platform hosts various calls, under an open theme, in a dynamic that is flexible to input from participants. The house makes the initial proposal and extends a specific invitation: a dinner, an informal conversation, a get-together for elderly adults, and it is the attendees who engage in conversation and weave bonds among themselves in accordance with their interests and commonalities.

The main objective of these activities is to create a meeting space for neighborhood residents, to lay the foundations for cooperation between them, whether in Casa Gallina’s programs or in their own everyday lives. This platform emerges from a persistent problem in the neighborhood, which is a common issue for inhabitants of many large cities: the lack of spaces for neighborly communication and getting together, so much so that everyday life is more or less lived in isolation. This n has been identified as a factor of vulnerability that not only affects the elderly, but also all the adults in the neighborhood, who, once they are convoked, are found to be open and willing to weave affective networks with their neighbors.

This framework includes the monthly event Blind Dinner with Friends, an activity which brings together twelve randomly selected neighbors to share a meal and a conversation. A similar format is used in From 5 to 7, which takes place bimonthly and includes a guest from outside the neighborhood, with an alternative mode of life or professional practice, the details of which they share and talk about in an environment of conviviality and healthy snacks. In these encounters, neighbors have led conversations about issues such as communality, alternative currencies, rescuing agriculture in Mexico City, culturally and ecologically sensitive methods for building houses, etc. Both the dinners and From 5 to 7, seek to bring together a diverse range of ages, professions, and backgrounds in the attendees, aiming to promote intergenerational conviviality. Meanwhile, the other type of encounter is specifically focused on elderly adults: dances are organized as the beginning of each season, where an average of 70 elderly adults are invited to share a moment of recreation with dancing, jukebox music, and board games.  

Strategy implementation programs:

Neighbors’ Encounter – Economies of Affection and Exchange

Dates: December 7, 2023

Hosts: Casa Gallina educational staff

Participants: 8 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera

Format: in-person


This encounter focused on creating a means of interaction between neighbors who have expressed interest in participating in our exchanges board, which is an open platform located in the Salón Huev@, based on offering the exchange of knowledge and talents of people willing to follow the principle of an economy without money. The encounter sought to create a bridge of appreciation, to strengthen the trust between neighbors, for the participants to become acquainted, talk about their interests and put their talents at the group’s service in an agenda through which they can accomplish exchanges and favors.

Movie Cycle – Recognizing Territories from Their Resistances

Dates: November 16 to April 18, 2024

Facilitated by: Renaud Lariagon, David Hernández, Christian Rojas and Mirelle Valero

Allies: Nauyaca Producciones, Voces contra el silencio and IMCINE

Participants: 95 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera

Films and Documentaries:La raíz doble: la milpa, hombre de azotea verde, La raíz doble: La milpa, hombre surco y agua, Mayapolis. Turismo y expansión urbana en la península de Yucatán (Tourism and Urban Expansion in the Yucatan Peninsula). Un lugar llamado música, Encuentros de medicina Maya, Ramo de fuego, ¿Para dónde se fueron las golondrinas?, Chenalhó, el corazón de los Altos, Pies ligeros.

A cycle that strived for neighbors to get to know different ways of facing a territory´s problems. The audiovisual examples screened throughout showed examples of the problems of change in certain populations and whether they are beneficial for the community or external agents. This opened the way for questioning and reflection on the value of communal organization as a form of social resilience.


Musical Flavors - Xantolo

Date: October 28, 2023

Guests: Ahuejote

Participants: 22 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person


In the framework of the Day of the Dead festivities, we had an encounter of neighbors called Musical Flavors, inspired by the Xantolo festivity that is celebrated in the Huasteca highlands of the state of San Luis Potosi. The group Ahuejote accompanied us and interpreted ritual and festive music for that event, as did Miguel Iwadere, who prepared a regional menu composed of chichen and chickpea tamales, jobito liqueur and pumpkin dessert with guaje cheese. Neighbors helped set up a Day of the Dead altar with traditional Xantolo elements. Equally, in December 2023, ally Angelica Palma prepared a dish with edible greens from the maize field called “green time tortilla” (tlaxcalxopantlaualli in Nahuatl). This dance also featured the gift of seed cushions made by neighbors in a workshop led by Ere Lo.Equally, in December 2023, ally Angelica Palma prepared a dish with edible greens from the maize field called “green time tortilla” (tlaxcalxopantlaualli in Nahuatl). This dance also featured the gift of seed cushions made by neighbors in a workshop led by Ere Lo.

Dances For the Elderly

Dates: March 7, July 24 and November 13, 2019; January 30, 2020; November 24, 2022; March 28, July 13, October 23, 2023, and March 20, 2024

Participants: 376 elderly people from Santa María la Ribera


The Casa Gallina dances for elderly people started in early 2019, to create a space for neighbors over 60 to meet and strengthen their community ties. The neighbors come alone or in the company of friends from the neighborhood. In addition to the dance, activities for interaction are sometimes organized for them, such as table games linked to ther experiences, projects and personal interests, or those linked to the neighborhood, or setting up a photo booth so the guests can have their picture taken with family or friends. The dances are the chance for elderly people to meet, forge new friendships and have the opportunity to enjoy moments of entertainment and shared interests. This is in line with the platform’s general aim to offer alternatives to the conditions of solitude and emotional vulnerability many of them live in.


Around 50 neighbors usually gather for the event, where they share food and drinks and the venue is adapted as a dance floor. The music comes from the Casa’s jukebox, which contains a selection of songs proposed by neighbors and local small businesses, put together by young neigbors such as musician Javier Celis, baker Christian Zepeda, Sebastian Navarro and Alberto Olvera.

The menus for the dances have usually been prepared by the Casa Gallina team, although the end of year Dance in 2022 saw the participation of neighbor Norma López who prepared vegetarian basket tacos and punch.

Stories and Flavors We Inhabit - Network of Links Surrounding Food

Date: September 30, 2023

Facilitated by: Miguel Iwadare and the Casa Gallina team

Cooks: Rosalba Rodríguez, Naomi Olivos and Miguel Iwadare.

Ally: Calpulli Tecalco

Participants: 18 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera


Following several community gatherings in May and July, a group of 38 neighbors kept in touch through a chat where they shared knowledge and experiences on daily food in the community. On September 30, 18 of them met to celebrate the Day of Maize, enjoying a menu prepared with ingredients from Naomi Olivos and Rosalba Rodriguez’s maize field. The purpose of the meetings was to celebrate and harness the community’s energy to create new tales and experiences regarding food. The participants have pledged to maintain a subsequent process to generate documents based on their experiences that could benefit their own community

Movie Cycle - Voices and Living Territories

Date: July 27 to September 21, 2023

Facilitated by: Saul Kak, María del Carmen Díaz Vázquez, Christian Rojas and Casa Gallina mediators

Allies: IMCINE, PROCINE, Contra el Silencio Todas las Voces Festival, Nauyaca Producciones

Participants: 60 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera

Films and documentaries: Palabras verdaderas (True words)Nanook of the North, Cochochi, Palabras del surco (Words from the groove), Flores de la llanura (Flowers from the Plain), Tu´un Savi and No hay lengua sin pueblo (There is no language without a people).


Through the gaze of documentalists and film directors, this cycle invited the neighbors of Santa Maria la Ribera to reflect on the relevance of language for community life and its plethora of meanings with regard to territory. The cycle was designed in collaboration with Saul Kaka, a visual artist residing in Rayon, state of Chiapas and Christian Rojas, a neighbor who speaks Nahuatl. The neighbors launched a dialogue to exchange points of view on the multidimensional relation that exists between culture, the social and natural environment anchored to the linguistic diversity of our country and its multiple territories.

Film Cycle - Listening to Roots

April 12 to July 20, 2023

Facilitated by: Aldo Martínez

Allies: IMCINE, PROCINE, Contra el silencio todas las voces Festival, Sandía Digital

Participants: 104 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Films and documentaries: El camino es la agroecología (Agroecology is the way to go); Sano y justo sabe mejor. Propuestas de sustentabilidad alimentaria en la Ciudad de México (Healthy and fair tastes better. Proposal for food sustainability in Mexico City); Princesa (Princess) Mononoke; Tiempo de trabajo (Time to work); El planeta libre; (The free planet) Lupe el de la vaca (Lupe the cow owner); Food INC; Al alcance de la mano (Within hand’s reach); Nausicaä del Valle del Viento (Nausicaa from the Valley of the Wind); El tema CDMX: agua, energía y alimento (The topic of Mexico City: water, energy and food), Carrizos and J´ Lu´Umkaab (Linked to his territory).


This cycle of screenings sought to offer a space for the community to meet by projecting documentaries and films linked to a topic: the processes of agroecology, the forms of community life that depend on it and certain fictions that delve into the existing relation between humans and nature. Neighbors of all ages were present and discussed topics and concerns in a framework of open dialogue, mediated by sociologist Aldo Martinez.

Cinema Cycle Tiempo terrestre

Dates: 11 January, 8 and 23 February, 16 and 23 March, 2023

Coordinated by: Christian Rojas

Guest Directors: Tania Ximena and Saul Kak

Allies: IMCINE, PROCINE and Cineteca Nacional

Participants: 77 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera

Format: in-person


Films: La selva negra, Pobo Tzu, Ixcanul, Cría puercos and Tormentero.


The aim of this cycle was to generate dialogues between neighbors from Santa Maria la Ribera and some of the movie directors who joined us. These dialogues revolved around the different ways of thinking about and perceived a territory, and how this influences the subjective conformation of its inhabitants. Neighbors of different ages and genders came to these encounters, with the majority being adult women.


Stories and Flavors We Inhabit, Encounter Among Neighbors

Dates: 15 April, 20 May and 8 July

Facilitated by: Miguel Iwadare, Balbina Perez and the Casa Gallina team

Cooks: Erika Rosalia Hernandez, Jessarela Miranda, Raquel Diaz, Georgina Navarrete, Balbina Perez and Miguel Iwadare.

Participants: 48 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera

A program of encounters among neighbors which gathers them to share and prepare family recipes and their memories of them. This activity seeks to strengthen peoples’ emotional ties in a setting where the memory of food and the memory of family origins are spoken of freely. The hosts of these events are Miguel Iwadare, a researcher on gastronomical heritage and Balbina Perez, a neighbor, manager and promoter of alternative market projects in the Valley of Mexico


Cinema Cycle: Escuchando las raíces (Listening to the Roots)

Dates: 12 April and 31 May

Facilitated by: Aldo Martinez

Allies: IMCINE, PROCINE and Festival Contra el silencio todas las voces

Participants: 74 inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera

Format: in-person


Films and documentaries: El camino es la agroecología (Agroecology is the Way To Go); Sano y justo sabe mejor. Propuestas de sustentabilidad alimentaria en la Ciudad de México (Healthy and Fair Tastes Better. Proposals for Food Sustainability in Mexico City); Princesa Mononoke (Princess Mononoke); Tiempo de trabajo (Work Time); El planeta libre (The Free Planet); Lupe el de la vaca (Lupe, the One With a Cow).


This cycle strived to offer a space for the neighboring community to meet, showing documentaries and films related to a topic: the agroecology processes, the forms of community life that depend on it, and certain fictions that delve into the relation that exists between humans and nature. Inhabitants of Santa Maria la Ribera came to watch the cycle and discussed topics and concerns in a setting of open dialogue led by sociologist Aldo Martinez.

Cinema Cycle: Listen From the Struggle

Date: November to December, 2022

Moderator: Aldo Martínez

Allies: Festival Contra el Silencio Todas las Voces

Participants: 35 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person

The feature length films Abundancia siempreverde (Evergreen Abundance) directed by Benjamín Kokaly, Polinizadores: resistencia en la península de Yucatán (Pollinators: resistance in the Yucatan peninsula) directed by Lilia García Torres, and La energía de los pueblos (The Energy of Peoples) directed by Marie Combe, were screened. The aim of this cycle was to bring together neighbors and topics related to the feelings of the original peoples such as cosmovisions, forms of organization, agroecological alternatives and struggles surrounding territory; along with environmental topics, with a discussion on points of view surrounding these matters which touch us. The first projection was an official date in the festival of independent documentary films Contra el Silencio Todas las Voces, of which Casa Gallina was the venue.

Cinema Cycle: Memories of the Earth

Date: September to October, 2022

Moderator: Christian Rojas

Allies: IMCINE, PROCINE and Cineteca Nacional

Guest: Luis Chuc Yam from Uyool che´ AC.

Participants: 44 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person

A cycle coordinated by neighbor Christian Rojas, which included screenings of El botón de Nácar (The Nacre Button) directed by Patricio Guzmán, La infancia de Iván (Ivan’s Childhood) by Andrei Tarkovsky and El sueño del Mara’akame (Mara’akame’s Dream) by Federico Cecchetti. The cycle included a dialogue with neighbors following each film, which detonated different reflections on the importance of exercising memory in the history of communities, the effects of war and political conflicts, and the different challenges faced in territories inhabited by indigenous communities.


Film Screening: Petróleo sangriento (Bloody Petrol)

Date: September 1, 2022

Moderator: Alejandro Guzmán

Allies: Procine

Participants: 8 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person

This feature-length film was shown, followed by a dialogue moderated by Alejandro Guzmán, neighbor and film director, which covered the different aspects of the film through the daily life of the neighbors.


Musical Flavors: Presentation of the Book Kjuabchinachon jña nga tijna

Date: August 27, 2022

Allies: Memoria Mazateca

Guest: Ailicec Jta Fate

Participants: 21 Mazateco guests and inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera.

Format: in-person

Presentation of the book Vida en mi entorno (Life in My Surroundings), in Mazateco, Kjuabchinachon jña nga tijna, attended by guests from the organization Memoria Mazateca and neighbors of Santa María la Ribera. Food and drink from the Mazateca region were shared, along with traditional music in their language, performed by singer-songwriter Ailicec Jta Fate.

Blind Dinner with Friends

2024 Date: February 8

2023 Dates: February 8, May 3/ guests: El Chiringuito

2022 Dates: May 24, guests: Pausita Café and July 28 guests: Umani

2019 Dates: January 15; February 5; March 21; April 2; May 14; June 5; July 4; August 7; September 4; October 1; November 6

Participants in 2019: 169 neighbors

Neighborhood dinners attended by 12 guests who are selected from names placed in a bowl in Salón Huev@. Attendees are accompanied by two members of the Casa Gallina team, and they engage in a free conversation among themselves. The team prepares a dinner, which is served in the kitchen, identifying some of the key ingredients, so that participants can learn more about the origin and nutritional quality of the food. At the end of dinner, attendees can stay for an after dinner conversation or sobremesa, which lasts for a few hours, after which they usually leave in groups heading towards the different parts of the neighborhood where they live.

Impact: The dinners among neighbors provide a safe and comfortable framework for people, who share a living and working space, to carry out free conversations and establishing bonds of trust among themselves. The commentaries shared by attendees at the end of each dinner, or those that have been made in the following days, demonstrate the importance that these encounters have had for participants, as does the fact that their family members, neighbors, and friends come to subsequent dinners, recounting how this special activity was recommended to them.

As of May 2022, neighbors with local cooking projects have been invited to prepare the supper, with Pausita Café and Umani launching this format.

From Village To Neighborhood: Stories and Flavors We Inhabit

Date: May 19–September 4, 2022

Coordinated by: Miguel Iwadare

Facilitators: Carolina Castillo, Alejandra del Toro, Paula Ramón Córdova, Mónica Jaimes, Eduardo Cortés, María del Refugio Contreras, Olivia Jiménez and Carmen Monroy

Participants: 40 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person


These encounters invite various neighbors to share their knowledge, experiences and seasoning in a workshop / social gathering / open discussion format, under the guidance of Miguel Iwadare, researcher in gastronomic heritage, and Casa Gallina mediators. This exchange strives to recognize the enormous value food has to connect us with experiences, origins, tastes and memories

The neighbors who were invited to share recipes were 8 participants in the recipe book From Maizefield To Plate. For the first meeting, neighbors Carolina Castillo and Alejandra del Toro shared Carolina’s grandmother’s poxol (a drink with corn and cocoa) from Chiapas and a maize soup from Escobedo Celaya, provided by Alejandra. In the second meeting, neighbor Mónica Jaimes shared corn pudding made with her aunt from Iguala’s recipe, while Paula Ramón, originally from Veracruz, prepared a chicken in tomato sauce recipe she herself adapted. For the third, teachers Carmen Monroy and Olivia Jiménez, both from Mexico City, shared a green pozole soup. For the fourth and last get-together, María del Refugio Contreras shared a white corn atole (a hot drink with cornmeal), a recipe from her great aunts, originally from San Mateo Ixtacalco, State of Mexico, while Eduardo Cortés provided potatoes with chile slices and corn, a recipe his mother brought from Colima. Around the table the neighbors reached a consensus that the act of eating and preparing food together enriches our communal heritage.


Film screenings: “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always”, “Lars and the Real Girl” and El comienzo del tiempo (The Beginning of Time)

Dates: May 19, August 4 & 18, 2022

Coordinated by: Alejandro Guzmán


Participants: 38 residents of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person


Coordinated by neighbor and film director Alejandro Guzmán, Casa Gallina´s film cycles resumed, starting with films whose topics focus on women's role in daily life, community life and old age. Following the screenings, reflections on the subjects were shared, linking them to community life in Santa María la Ribera.


Musical Flavors: Xinach Trío

Date: May 11, 2022

Guests: Xinach Trío

Participants: 21 elderly inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person


This encounter among neighbors included the participation of the Xinach Trío group, traditional musicians who came to visit us from San Miguel Tzinacapan Cuetzalan, state of Puebla. They interpreted sones, huapangos and rhythms from the Huasteca region; elderly men and women learned a bit about that region's culture through their music and traditional cuisine.


Prestaduría vecinal (Tool Lending Service): Meeting of Users

Date: April 27, 2022

Participants: 13 inhabitants of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person


This neighborly encounter between Prestaduría vecinal users and donors was accompanied by a dinner made with utensils available for loan. Ideas and strategies were exchanged to obtain certain tools and utensils in the community, including the creation of video tutorials made by service users and the creation of a loaning scheme for children.


Devenir (Becoming)

Date: March 2627, 2022

Video: Tania Ximena

Research: Dr. Guillermo Ontiveros

Educational Activities: Ketzali Arreola

Ally: Huerto Roma Verde

Participants: 2,870 people in attendance

Format: in-person

The project Becoming –by artist Tania Ximena and glaciologist Guillermo Ontiveroswas presented in the framework of FAMA Fest (Art and Environmental Festival) in the Huerto Roma Verde orchard. Throughout the day there were workshops for the families present while the Casa Gallina team participated in the working table on climate change along with another 35 organizations invited to the festival

Screening of Film: Yermo (Wilderness)

Date: February 23, 2022

Venue: Taller de producción El Nidal


Moderator: Galia Domínguez Velázquez

Participants: 38 residents of Santa María la Ribera

Format: in-person


The film Wilderness, directed by Everardo González, was screened in collaboration with PROCINE. It is a documentary that travels through the deserts of Mexico, Mongolia, India, the USA, Peru, Iceland, Namibia, Morocco and Chile, reviewing ways of inhabiting them. Thanks to the cooperation with neighbor and cultural agent Jorge Baca, the film was shown in El Nidal production studio, where it was followed by a dialogue and reflection among neighbors.

From 5 to 7, Jaime Martínez Luna

Date: February 26, 2019.

Participants: 8 neighbors

Martínez Luna is a Zapotec activist, musician, and thinker, who has promoted the concept of communality to describe the life dynamics of the peoples of Oaxaca. Neighbors interested in community projects and collective gardens were invited, as well as Oaxacan immigrants settled in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood residents talked about the structure of mutual aid provided by communality, but also the obligations that it establishes for each member. They asked Martínez Luna about some of their concerns in regards to the type of community life that could be established in the neighborhood and the desire to regain control of some plots of land in the neighborhood for public use. This encounter allowed the participants to learn about forms of collective organization in other regions of the country and left them motivated to implement actions for the common benefit of their immediate environment.

From 5 to 7, Pedro Uc Bé

Date: April 29, 2019

Participants: 10 neighbors

Uc Bé is a Mayan activist and poet with many years of experience in organizing the resistance oftraditional farmers and landowners against transnational wind farms in indigenous territories. For this encounter, the neighbor group was comprised of people who are interested in environmental empathy, community organization, sustainable management and social regeneration projects.

The neighborhood residents had the opportunity to learn about Uc Bé’s perspective in regards to the cultural differences of the Yucatan Peninsula and the strategies that have been used there to organize resistance and gain support from civil society. The theme of working through social media resonated with the residents’ interests, who shared their experiences with local social media. They were left with incentives to modify the toxic interaction dynamics that abound in social networks such as Facebook. 

From 5 to 7, Miguel Angel García Aguirre

Date: 26 June, 2019

Participants: 10 neighbors

García Aguirre is an environmental activist with many years of experience in defending and developing the Chimalapas region, in the state of Oaxaca. He came to Casa Gallina to share with neighbors his experience in organized resistance to development projects, the dangers of urban concepts of progress and the importance of biodiversity in different regions of Mexico.

The neighbors discussed, in a friendly and safe atmosphere, their feelings regarding the comforts of urban life and the cost this entails for rural ecosystems. They learned about the environmental and social implications of the Trans-isthmus Corridor Project and debated about the disconnect between urban life and the resources extracted from rural environments.

From 5 to 7, Ana Paula Ojeda Valverde

Date: September 11th, 2019

Participants: 11 young neighbors

Ana Paula Ojeda coordinates the social projects of the Kolijke Area Voluntarily Designated to Conservation in the Sierra Norte mountain range in the state of Puebla. For this meeting she invited young neighbors with an interest in ecological preservation and community work. The attendees talked with Ana Paula about the conditions of inequality for the indigenous population and shared their experiences of different communities across the country. Ana Paula spoke about her work with communities in the Sierra Norte region of Puebla, emphasizing the emotional bonds that are established as a consequence of community work. She also spoke about the economical difficulties face by these communities and the associated problems of domestic violence.

From 5 to 7, Catherine Marielle

Date: October 9th, 2019

Participants: 9 neighbors

Catherine Marielle is an anthropologist who has dedicated her years in the country to work in the defense of native corn. During this meeting, she was able to talk with nine neighbors about the history of activism in Mexico in resistance to industrial and transgenic crops, and the cultural wealth implicit in the different ways of growing and consuming corn in the communities. The neighbors shared their experiences in their families’ and ancestors communities and their concern for having a quality diet, in addition to being able to raise their doubts with the guest regarding the different agricultural cycles and the effect that climate change has on them.

From 5 to 7, Antonio Lafuente

Date: October 11th, 2019

Participants: 12 neighbors

For this last 5 to 7 meeting of 2019, neighbors close to the house who had been invited to be the active participants of the last year and a half of work in neighborhood laboratories. During this afternoon, they were able to talk with Antonio Lafuente, one of the researchers behind the conception of Medialab-Prado, a project focused on neighborhood participation and creation of collective projects in urban communities in the city of Madrid. He was also accompanied by researcher David Gómez and Valentina Sánchez, who coordinates the neighborhood participation laboratories at Casa Gallina. The neighbors took the opportunity to talk about the projects they have in development and receive feedback from the specialist, who also provided examples of projects going on in other places and talked with the neighbors about concepts such as collective intelligence.