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Discovering regenerative agriculture… (II)

Investigating regenerative agriculture, we couldn’t just stick to the theory, so we went on an excursion!

During 4 days, we got familiar with different projects that are being developed in Spain. We gathered a group of people who are passionate about sustainable agriculture and went on a road trip through the Murcia and Granada regions, where we got to know some of them first-hand. 

Group of people walking in the regenerative crop farm

First and second stations – Bullas, Murcia – A “regenerative beekeeper” and an eco-shop 

People talking in a regenerative crop farm

We started our route in the Bullas village (Murcia), where we met Miguel Campoy who was waiting for us. Young farmer and lover of life, he introduced us to what they are up to at “Ecotienda la Artesa”, an ecological and social center where we can find local products and varieties, as well as products in bulk (Zero-waste/unpacked). Little by little, their shelves were filled by farmers who were enthusiastic about discovering where to sell “almost” forgotten local products.

Permaculture Garden
Permaculture garden in Bullas

Afterwards, he took us to see his little secret corner next to Rambla del Aceniche. In this corner of biodiversity, almond and fruit trees, artichokes and all the spontaneous vegetation of the area are flowering. The soil hasn’t been worked for many years, something we could notice when we started digging the earth. The dark horizontal layers indicate the organic matter and humidity, and we found insects and worms. Here, his bees produce a delicious “regeneratively farmed” honey. After the honey tasting Miguel offered us, we got on our way to the next station, leaving behind a gorgeous sunset filled with bees returning to their hives. 

Landscape with trees with white and green leaves
regenerative agriculture alive – a mixed orchard with integrated beekeeping – in Bullas
A piece of regenerative field with wild grass and a shovel
regenerative agriculture alive – Digging soil profiles and checking on soil organic – in Bullas
Beekeeper extracting honey from the beehive
regenerative agriculture: beekeeper station

Third station – Regeneration Academy – a place of learning and exchange

Various people inspecting the regenerative field

In less than an hour, we arrived to La Junquera farm, with the “Regeneration Academy” as its base. This academy was founded many years ago with a very clear idea: education is the most powerful tool to promote the change towards regenerative agriculture. 

A lake in a regenerating farm

Here, we got the opportunity to discover Finca La Junquera’s secrets taught by Jacobo Monereo, one of the academy’s teachers. The farm is the perfect practise field to kick-start projects developed with the students. Students from different countries come here for courses of many months and internships during their studies. Furthermore, courses about business entrepreneurship in the agricultural world are imparted along the year, covering subjects such as commercialization or marketing of their products. 

Plants growing on eroded soil.

AlVeLal and the 4 returns

At La Junquera farm, we learned about the work of the AlVeLal association. This association is formed by numerous farmers from Murcia, Almería and Granada who work pursuing 4 principles:

Return of the inspiration for agricultural work
Return of the social capital involved in agriculture
Return of the financial capital 
Return of the natural capital

The principles of the AlVelAl Association

Source: Commonland, the 4 returns

The farmer Miguel Martínez Pozo, who is part of the CrowdFarming family, is also part of this association. His farm “El Entredicho” has been different from other walnut farms for many years. Between the walnut trees, we can observe the sheep who graze during the year, eliminating the bad weed and fertilizing the soil. This way, they avoid working the soil and thus reduce its erosion while it stores the atmosphere’s CO2.

Three people inspecting the regenerative walnut plantation

References

AlveLal [Online] at: <https://alvelal.wixsite.com/website-6> [Accessed in June 2020]
Commonland, [Online] at: <https://www.commonland.com/4-returns/> [Accessed in June 2020]
Regeneration Academy, [Online] at: <https://www.regeneration-academy.org/?locale=en>[Accessed in June 2020]
Regeorganic, [Online] at: <https://regenorganic.org/> [Accessed in June 2020]


Note: this article has a first part where we explain everything you need to know about regenerative agriculture.

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