A couple of weeks ago we heard about an Agrocafé organised in Albox, a small village close to Almeria, focussed on regenerative agriculture. This was something we could not resist and so, on the 19th of February, a delegation of “Sunseeders”, including coordinators Gabriel, Silvia and Agnes, together with the interns Pietro and Nerea, and Cina, our Italian EVS, squeezed into the van and went to see what was happening.
The meeting had been organised by a group of local farmers, in order to share and discuss personal experiences and ideas in the field of regenerative agriculture. After an informal chat, the organisers started the meeting by presenting their own project called “Alvelal”. Alvelal is a cooperation among people working in different fields (from agriculture to restaurants and tourism) that can effectively result in positive changes and mutual growth. Fittingly, the slogan of their association is “iniciativa de 4 retornos” (“initiative of 4 returns”): even if it can be hard at the beginning, eventually sustainable and regenerative practices always bring with them inspirational, social, natural and economic benefits.
Looking beyond the basic concept, what actually are the “regenerative practices”? To enable the participants to fully understand, some examples were made. Two farmers, for instance, presented their idea for saving the little rain Southern Spain gets: they constructed ponds at specific areas along their slopes. Other projects included giving tourists access to the traditional practices and products of the land, promoting then a sustainable and slower tourism.
After a sweet break for the coffee (further sweetened by all the treats offered), we continued discussing and asking questions about how to put into practice ideas. What was surprising was that the attendants to the event were very varied in occupation and age. There were local farmers of course, but also many students, engineers and researchers, some of them coming even from abroad. This mixture of people resulted in very interesting and passionate discussions! We learned a lot about the actual problems related to ecological production and consumption and legislation, but also got some interesting hints, for example about the financial support that the European Union offers to the young entrepreneurs in this area (have a look at https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/index_en if interested!).
In conclusion, we found out that listening to the ones that effectively know and live the land, working on it with their hands, can be very useful and inspirational, because as well as sharing the same difficulties, we can also share some of our own solutions and ideas, which together can become stronger and much more effective!