We are 5 km from Caminha - Portugal .. In our village there is a lot of very interesting land with or without water, at different measures,
I am going to present our project to you.
Esther, me and the children, have a project to live in food self-sufficiency (at the moment we have already achieved energy self-sufficiency and) using permaculture methods.
Originally our idea was that I quit my current job to work full time to produce most of our food. But this solution is not, in our opinion, the best because it is too complicated (especially if an accident or illness temporarily prevented me from working). In addition, this solution would have the disadvantage of encroaching largely on our family life (few free weekends, few holidays).
We have therefore tried to think of another alternative which is detailed for you below. This alternative is to share, in the long term, this project with two other families (see part 6 what is meant by “family”).
Before going into the detailed presentation of our project, I would like to point out that we have made this lifestyle choice but that we want our three children to be able to choose their own lifestyle. For us, this necessarily requires knowledge of the outside world (the best and also the worst). Clearly, we want to follow our different life with maximum openness to the outside world, in the interest of our children.
Here is the detailed presentation of the project. It's a bit long but we already have a good idea of our project. So as much you bring all the fruit of our reflections.
I am 50 years old, Portuguese, peasant and lover of Natural Sciences. I am currently a gardener by profession in the morning.
My wife, Esther (41) is Spanish (Canary Islands). She studied English. She takes care of the children of the animals. Also in love with nature and the good sense of life.
We have three children, three boys (Zare 11 years old, Naím 7 years old and Sahel 3 and a half years old).
My wife and I are no longer completely satisfied with the way of life that society offers us.
First of all, we no longer wish to participate in junk food. We are convinced that a good diet is the first element to guarantee our health and that of our children. We no longer have confidence in the food we can buy. We want to produce food of high nutritional quality through permaculture. In this way, we will be able to eat healthy, good, balanced and varied without worrying about the question of cost.
Then, we no longer wish to participate in the degradation of our environment. In our opinion, the living environment is the second element affecting our health and that of our children. Air, water and soil pollution, noise, odor and visual nuisances, we want to act so that our close environment is of good quality.
We no longer wish to participate in the waste almost imposed by society. And, we feel guilty for not making an effort when sometimes we have no choice. We want to develop our project with two objectives: zero waste leaving the farm and recycling of objects collected outside. This approach will increase our self-sufficiency.
This is our overall philosophy. We're not trying to convince, we're just looking for two or three families with roughly the same mindset.
3-What this project is not
To avoid mistakes, I want to clarify what the project is not.
This is not a self-sufficient approach. We want to keep a strong link with our fellow citizens and as much openness as possible to the outside world. In our interest and that of our children, we do not want to do without certain services, even those that are deemed insufficient (education, hospital care, etc.) and other services that are deemed satisfactory (sports, leisure, etc.). social support,...). And then, we will not be able to produce all the food that we will need (such as perhaps rice, coffee, cocoa, sea fish, ...).
This is not a sectarian approach. Everyone will have their freedom of choice, including our children. We want to give our children the opportunity to make their own choices, to experience their own way of life. Our role is to inform them, prepare them and help them as best we can.
This is not a political step. We are not activists, we just live in a different way and in our little corner of life. This does not prevent us from sharing our experience with those who wish to know it.
This is not a religious process: we are atheists.
Our project consists, in a deep respect for our environment, to apply the principles of permaculture in particular to accompany nature and not to constrain it, less possible interventions, less energy used, zero plowing, zero pesticides, agroforestry, association of species, perennial crops, adapted, rustic or traditional species, making your own seeds, crop rotation, grazing, that the plant and the animal "work" for us while they feed, an element for several functions, several elements for a function, biodiversity, organization of space, mulching, ...
To carry out our project, we propose a joint work to three or four families. The installation (purchase or assembly of tools, materials, animals, seeds, etc.) will be shared equally between the four families; these expenses will mainly take place at the start because then permaculture will greatly limit costs. In return, the food produced will be shared equally between families.
At the moment, the working time on the farm is very much involved in building, preparing the land, planting, finding the animals, etc. Food self-sufficiency will therefore gradually come about.
Note that we can offer wwoofing, which will allow us to exchange ideas and skills while providing daily help.
This organization has a few advantages.
It allows two or three members to be present at the same time during the day for difficult work to do alone.
Finally, this organization makes it possible to deal with any unforeseeable event (occasional illness of members, longer illness, wish of a family to abandon the project).
As far as I'm concerned, I'm staying for the moment to make half-day gardens. For her part, my wife will be working full time for pay off the farm. In this way, a minimum income will be ensured for the payment of all family expenses and also for the payment of installation expenses on the farm. In addition, this income will make it possible to have a small retirement in order to prevent our children from paying our old age. In short, it will perpetuate the project and our future.
It would be desirable for other families to do the same (unless they have good savings).
For this work outside, everyone will be free to exercise the profession of their choice in accordance or not with this philosophy of life. We can either work individually or work together (company, association). Personally, I would focus on the following trades because they will have an interest for the farm:
- green spaces / logging to recover mowing and pruning residues for the farm,
- butcher / bakery to learn the trade and use this know-how on the farm,
- personal service such as DIY, gardening, housework, moving, removing bulky items, ... to recover waste, residues, objects,
- catering / food trade to recover leftovers or waste.
Note that we are not keen on activities involving our responsibility and involving State controls within the farm (for example, the marketing of our food products or the reception of the public on the farm).
My wife and I attach great importance to maintaining our relations with our respective friends located in the region.
Our oasis is in a remote area without being isolated from services that we can not do without such as education (for schooling), shops, hospitals (3rd criterion).
Regarding the farmhouse, in the future we will seek a minimum land area of 8 hectares (2 hectares per family seem sufficient). The ideal would be to have a body of water. He must have several outbuildings for the farm.
We are looking for families or people with the same state of mind and ready to invest in the long term (always in our search for a certain stability). We use the term “family”, but for us it means a couple with or without children or two people from the same family (example two brothers / sisters, two cousins / cousins, a parent with an adult child, ...) . We do not exclude pairs of friends or solo people.
Our next Village: Argela near the town of Caminha (North Sea shore) and 3 km from Spain.
I don’t live in Europe so am not a prospective project partner, but wanted to say hi, and that I read through your project proposal which looks very interesting and exciting I hope you find some fellow project partners!
I was wondering, do you already have your land, or is it that you are looking to find and purchase the land together with your project partners (other families)?
If you will be purchasing together, will you all own it as equal partners? I’m interested in how you will design the ownership rights and securities if some parties want to move on in the future.
If you already own the land yourself, is there a way that your partners will have some security of continuity on the land (ie Inheritable 99 year lease Or something like that?).
Thanks for considering these questions, as I’m really interested in how people are managing these sort of communal models and finding out how things work for different people and projects.
Wishing you every success in your venture. Please keep us updated on where your adventures take you!
hello, great posting ,i have read it through several times , in fact when i first did so it was as if i had written this down as my own wish list and future action plan , i think you would have been bombarded by applications and requests if it was not for covid , i have been planning and scheming to make a move over with the family but life has just kept us going down the same road we are on ,for the moment,----- but changes are coming for us and at some stage covid will be managed and lived with just like the flu , i wish you well , and good living.
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