If this looks like pastoral bliss to you -as it does to me (the reason why I live here now :-)- then perhaps you are equally upset by the wildfires in Central Portugal this summer, and feeling like we must get together and do something about this!
That feeling is shared by a good lot of people, it turns out, as evidenced by the success of this past weekend’s “Encontro pelas Florestas ” (Meeting for the Forests) event in Elvas, put together by Su and Marina and hosted by the good people at Quinta da Pureza. Of course it was great to connect with so many (easily 60, i guess; maybe closer to 100?) concerned citizens from all walks of life, sharing information and feelings about this environmental & economic & human tragedy.
Moreover: it was really great to engage with people around concrete actions -the two of which i see as most significant being:
- Generally: Developing an action-oriented network dedicated to the mission of reforesting Portugal (because it’s going to take a lot more than a Facebook page to support this movement over the long-haul); and
- Specifically: Planting a 5h1+load of trees this autumn/ winter season!
To that last point: we’re talking in terms of a good quarter-million trees just to start, so this is clearly a job for a well trained and organized team (if not an army!).
So it was that, in the breakout work-group that focused on this particular challenge, we identified the need to organize a sort of training camp for the first wave of tree-planting volunteers. To that end -considering the obvious synergy with this event we have already planned- i offered to host such a training camp on our farm, and the offer was enthusiastically received. So it’s definitely going to happen!
NB: This changes a bit the scope of that event we have already announced, and so i am working with the trainers involved to co-ordinate details of the program. Also, i have to say: those hundreds of trees that we’ll be planting are not to restore a primeval forest, but rather to regenerate a traditional Algarvean rain-fed AgroSilvoPastoral system, with a few modern improvements (e.g. water-retention swales, and smart fencing to support Holistic Planned Grazing with sheep).
That being said: if a week in mid-November of solid learning and hard work planting trees with some of the best sounds like fun to you -AND if you are keen to go forth and plant more and engage others to do as well- then you should email us now to register your interest and find out all the details. Food and accommodation will be complementary for all involved, but we can only accommodate 30 at most, so if you are serious, then let us know ASAP.
ps: As you can see in picture below, -an aerial view of the ecosystem we’ll be regenerating- we’re a long way from anything you might call a forest… But if you be looking for a more hard-core experience, then you might want to look into John D. Liu’s Ecosystem Restoration Camp in Altiplano de Granada, Spain (the initiative that inspired us to do a mini-ERC in our own little corner of Iberia).