Learning from innovation: implications of an integrated development project in Chiapas, Mexico

This is a case study of an integral local development project combining elements of agro-ecology, fair trade and risk-conservative finance operated in partnership between a grassroots and promoter organization. We conclude that insurance is a key element in the transition from a traditional rural household economic unit to a family enterprise. We reflect on the need for, and limits of development projects to meet the complexity of structural poverty. The text concludes with an exhortation to value experimentation in development practice, with ethical responsibility, and in terms that can be shared in the larger public arena.