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Drylands Management

As an EVS volunteer, I wanted to look back over the last semester I spent in Sunseed as an assistant of Dryland Management Department. Originally coming from a completely different background, I had to learn everything from the very beginning. Before I leave and go back to my daily life in Paris, I wanted to share some parts of this fulfilling experience:

When I first arrived in February, Dryland Department was dedicating part of its time to planting different tree species on Allan’s land, as a part of its reforestation duty. Experimenting with carob trees, we could note after a couple of months that the place where the tree was planted had a crucial impact on its survival. Planting in the shadow and in the terraced part of the land look to have increased the chances of survival of the tree. We also observed that some of the species we planted, such as the Salsola oppositifolia, were more likely to survive in this arid environment.


Cleaning behind the compostero

In April, Dryland Department initiated a long-term project which was to clean and improve the area of the “compostero” where is kept the hummanure compost next to the vivero. The idea was to provide more shadow to the compost in order to keep it quite moist during the heat of the Almerian summer. We first substituted all the trash stored behind the compostero with soil. We wanted to use this strategic spot to plant trees that will provide natural shade to the compost.


Extracting Auxina from sprouted lentils

In May, Dryland Management department lead an experiment on the use of Auxina to help stimulate plants’ roots growth. The Auxina is a hormone naturally secreted by the plants and is known to help the stimulation of plant’s roots and speed up its development. We tried to extract some from sprouted lentils, getting a mixture out of the roots and water. The mixture was supposed to be ready to use after being kept 24 hours in the dark. Unfortunately, it turned out that the use of the mixture didn’t show any notable effect.


Visiting Rodalquilar botanical garden

In June, Dryland Department drove a couple of volunteers to the botanical garden of Rodalquilar while the trees were still blossoming. The end of the spring was the perfect time to identify the different species thanks to their flowers. Rodalquilar’s botanical garden gives interesting details about the properties of the plants that grow all around the semi-desert of Almeria. The carob tree, for example, has been used for a long time, in the region, for its medicinal properties as syrup for coughing.The same month, the Dryland coordinator, Elena, helped with volunteers, ended the construction of a caña roof to the compostero, providing a bit of the indispensable shadow during summertime.


Before and after with the caña roof


Courses and Events

Every few weeks on a Sunday there is a small but lively market in our village. We have a stand where we sell our home-made soap, toothpaste, creams, bread and plenty of other things – depending on what projects and skills volunteers and staff are working on at the moment. The next market will take place this Sunday 17th April – come and join us!


It’s also a nice opportunity to meet the neighbors, who either also make amazing products or just want to have a look around and stay for a  chat. The communal atmosphere is one of the things that makes living in Los Molinos so special – and it’s even better when visitors come to visit on market day and see our village for themselves.


There is also a stand about the ecocide, where you can get information about the serious water problem the village suffers from. If you’re interested, you can watch this movie – well worth seeing –  or you can check out this blog post to learn more.


Our village may not be very big, but there is everything a market needs: art, jewellery, food, live music and a lot of positive people! We’d love you to join us on Sunday 17th April in Los Molinos del Rio Aguas.

You’ll also find us at other markets and festivals throughout the summer, including…

  • In amongst the free music, workshops and fun at Etnosur in July.
  • At Boom festival in Portugal, where we’ll be sharing the Sunseed story with talks and demonstrations all week!
  • At Ecoaltea, the “festival of alternatives” in Alicante.

If you are close to any of these events feel free to come and visit us!