The Azulita Project was born from the desire of several individuals to create a healthier and more environmentally sustainable community and world. Moved by the rampant plastic pollution and overuse of chemical pesticides in the Los Llanos region, the four original founders—Mike, Lainie, Erwing, and Pato—joined forces in 2008 to create the Azulita Project.
In its initial form, the Azulita Project was a volunteer “communitarian” effort which included organic farming education programs, a recycling project, a youth soccer league, dance instruction, English classes and a community space for teaching and gathering.
In 2014 the Project founders reorganized the recycling portion of the project in pursuit of an effective and sustainable business model. The concept was simple: create an economic incentive for people to recycle plastic and create well-paying jobs.
Mike and Lainie were originally drawn to this part of Mexico for its surfing. They quickly fell in love with the area and the local people. Over the course of several years, they built a home, raised their kids and became part of the community. They are both passionate about and have experience in biology, conservation, education and grassroots community engagement.
Erwing is a native of Los Llanos but spent much of his teen years in the U.S. After school he chose to leave the U.S. and return to his home in Mexico. He wanted to live, work and have a family in his own hometown. He has always believed he could do good things for his town and its people and has dedicated much of his time and resources to these causes.
Pato “Azulita” Leon is from Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan. Pato originally created the name 'Azulita' for his brand of handmade silkscreened T-shirts and artwork. Azulita literally means "little blue" and is meant to embody the spirit of the feminine and the waters of mother earth. As an artist, surfer and a teacher, Pato has a lot of passion, talent and is well educated in the principles of organic farming principles. For many years he has travelled throughout the region and all of Mexico and generously taught local farmers successful methods for creating organic fertilizers and natural pesticides. His practices embody the highest form of recycling, using local natural materials and turning them into rich compounds that nourish and protect plants, crops, farmers and consumers.