The AlVelAl territory covers 1 million hectares, and is located in Southeastern Spain. It forms part of the Altiplano bioregion, a complete ecosystem in a stage of desertification and degradation. The name of the territory (and the Association) comes from the three districts that gave rise to the project: Altiplano de Granada, Los Vélez and Alto Almanzora, which were later joined by the Northwest of Murcia and the Guadix Region.
The threats to the ecosystem stem from the impending desertification, and thus the associated erosion, drought and soil loss. This process is made worse by intensive industrial agriculture, which overexploits resources and aquifers, thereby eliminating much of the biodiversity and resources in our area. This problem leads to another, which is the loss of productive capacity and wealth, and then ultimately a third problem, which is depopulation and the so-called rural exodus.
Therefore, the AlVelAl territory is home to one of the largest ecosystem restoration plans in Europe. This plan is spearheaded by the regenerative agriculture producers in the area, which through the association, cooperation and organic production, set out to restore the nature, society and economy of our region.
The goal is to create what we call a mosaic ecosystem: a landscape composed of regenerative farms, where conservation and nature restoration go hand in hand with production, together with well-preserved nature parks. This means that we can create a natural barrier against desertification, in addition to forming a green corridor among the mountains in the area. You'll receive your box from our farms, which are the perfect representation of our desired ecosystem.
Most of the crops are rain-fed, and they are predominantly cereals, almonds, pistachios, olives, vines and capers. We diversify production on our regenerative farms, transforming monoculture into mixed production schemes (various productive and non-productive species) which replicate the logic of an ecosystem that is productive on a small scale and, when combined with others, makes up a large-scale mosaic in the area. We integrate livestock farming through the traditional fusion of livestock and tree crops, guiding livestock neatly through the orchards to manage pastureland and achieve a natural and efficient fertilisation cycle.
All the farms in the area share the same agricultural and environmental features: located between 600 and 1,400 metres above sea level, very little rainfall, high levels of sun exposure, and a significant diurnal temperature lag. The regenerative properties of the territory are easily identified by its colours, the sound of its insects, the abundance of birds and its soils full of life.
The farms of AlVelAl producers are based on an organic production model (certified), but are currently converting to regenerative agriculture, so there are farms in different stages of the transformation towards the regenerative model.
Our management style brings together practices aimed at soil regeneration and conservation by decreasing cultivation, enhancing plant cover, and even integrating livestock on some farms. We also foster the good use and catchment of water on the land, and we encourage further biodiversity, two techniques which are cornerstones of regenerative agriculture.
Another key element is the diversification of production by mixing both productive and non-productive species in order to bridle monoculture, thereby fostering biodiversity. At the same time, specific habitat areas such as hedges or ponds are created.
Meanwhile, water use is optimised and enhanced through water catchment structures on the land. This technique is based on 'infiltration lines', which stop erosion, harvest more water and redistribute it on the ground. What's more, as most of the farms are rain-fed, we rely on these practices to conserve water where it's most needed.
The key elements of the regeneration of an entire territory are the farms where these techniques are developed, the creation of production cooperatives, and the people who stay, return or arrive as newcomers to work on the AlVelAl mission.