Monthly Archives: October 2012

CE Travelling & Networking around South Spain …

During the last months CE department has been very busy traveling around, spreading information, knowledge and representing Sunseed in many events…. we enjoyed so much!!

One of our favorite tasks is the networking. Some weekends ago – 5th – 7th October –  Cassandra and me (Patricia) we’ve been in Ecoaltea an eco fair in Alicante province, that happens every year the first weekend of October. It’s organized by Bilolama association, so that means: Bippan, Mercedes, Aurelia, M. Luz.. and many other persons….                                                          It’s a great one, it includes more than 50 stands and 100 free activities.

Cass and Pat went with Sunseed stand and run 3 workshops:

1. Dragon Dreamingproject planning, 2. How to make your organization sustainable and 3. an Ecovillage presentation. More than 1000 persons looking for and supporting a greener and more harmoniums way of living… great!!

Before that, the CE team, together with “Irish Dave” PC gardener from los Molinos, took part in the Summer Iberic Ecovillages Gathering, that happened between the 14th  and the 16th of September in Los Portales Ecovillage in Sevilla organised by the RIE Iberic Ecovillages Network (from which Sunseed is member).

We spend 3 days between 400 people from different communities and/or interested about ecovillages, from Spain & Portugal. It was 3 days full of workshops and contacting people, explaining about Sunseed and sharing dreams about a sustainable future. We run also a couple of workshops: one about the Ecological dimensions of the Ecovillages together with Toni Marin from Ecohabitar Magazine;    and two other workshops about Dragon Dreaming project planing, one of them  with Xaba from Brasil, representative of CASA Latinamerican Ecovillages Network.

It was nice as well, as interesting and useful to see again the persons representatives of the Network coming from the different ecovillages, also meet again many friends and collaborators, such as: MariaJose from Ecovamos, Toni & Miracles from Ecohabitar Magazine; and to meet new ones!!

So as you can see we have been very busy September and October sharing and exchanging information, developing new contacts

 And finished the gathering with a very exciting new; Sunseed  has been choose to host the next Iberic Ecovillage internal gathering, happening next winter 2013 !!!!!

Patricia Cañas  –  Communication & Education coordinator

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Sunseed and the Río de Aguas (the river of waters – and of cañas and of mud!-)

This summer I discovered an unusual enclave in the semi-arid region in Andalusia that is Almeria. My first impression was, logically, that I was standing in an oasis in the desert. I could have never imagined that, across the dry mountains and valleys, there flowed a quantity of water capable of producing such fresh and green surroundings in the middle of summer.

And there you discover Sunseed which warmly welcomed me and my friends thanks to Patricia, giving us information and a tour of the project. I thought that evening that I would like to return to spent more time there. After spending three weeks in my city, I decided revisit Sunseed with the intention of spending 5 weeks there as a volunteer.

On my arrival, David kindly introduced me to daily life in the community. During the first days, out of curiosity I eagerly explored the surroundings. I found a special charm in the abandoned and semi-derelict ‘cortijos’ (traditional Andalusian farmhouses), with their walls of stone and yeso, and their interiors painted blue; one can imagine with a certain nostalgia life here many decades ago. Leo, my enthusiastic coordinator, informed me that cereals were grown on terraces in the area to be ground in the five local mills that have now practically disappeared. The water from the spring is not far upriver from the village and used to flow through channels (acequias) on both sides of the valley (although currently one channel is no longer functioning, leaving this side uninhabited).

Shortly after my arrival, the area experienced one of the largest floods since 1997. The sight of water roaring down the dry valley flanking the village to the south was spectacular, as were the huge waterfalls created on the other side of the ravine. The appearance of the riverbed of the Rio de Aguas changed dramatically. What once seemed an impenetrable forest of cañas, which restricted any sight of water, was now a visible river. It was, however, full of foam and pollution from the water treatment plant in Sorbas, which no longer works properly creating a serious problem, particularily since the area is declared a natural protected area.

The small and charming pools hidden in the caña that we used to bathe in had disappeared, along with a number of beautiful bridges. But, a little downstream, an enormous natural pool has been created where one can swim and dive, so every cloud has a silver lining!

The floods presented a huge challenge to the inhabitants of Los Molinos. We had to restore the flow of water to the channel which was completely blocked by tons of caña and mud. A group of around 20 villagers started tackling the blocks and the atmosphere was one of enthusiasm and collective energy. Today, two weeks after the event through hard labour, water has finally returned to the village.

So I could never say that I have been bored in Los Molinos. On the contrary, it has been a very intense and stimulating experience, prompting me to really think about the community developments and possibilities that this special physical and social context could offer. There is in fact a current proposal to regenerate an old school in the village which, for many years, has been abandoned and deteriorating rapidly. If repaired, it could act as a wonderful multi-use space for the village. We shall have to see if the villagers are motivated to collaborate. Many at Sunseed are certainly inspired!     


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