Finca Verde Lush Spring Prize Application 2023

Entry Form extract

16. Business model / legal status / structure of organisation*

Community project / not registered

17. What are the underlying values of your organisation? If a for-profit company, please describe your triple+ bottom line.*

Land & nature stewardship: using water management techniques to restore the soils, cultivate biodiversity and replenish the aquifers in a place that was previously mono cropped and severely damaged with pesticides. Education & Culture: Show the on-the-ground reversal of the effects of climate change and adaptation to a warming climate and depletion of water resources to inspire others about the possibilities and cultivate a culture of curiosity. Share knowledge openly and learn through relationships between permaculture practitioners and the earth.

25. Why did you apply to this category?*

We are a new regenerative farm focused on sustainability and diversity. We don't just grow food. We are cultivating relationships within our community and sharing our learnings. We want to create more significant education initiatives and develop a strategy that others can use to restore their land.

26. Tell us about your idea.*

Describe the context you work in (consider your physical, social and economic environment). Briefly describe your idea/ project and discuss where it comes from. What motivated it? Who is involved? How do you plan to develop the idea? What might it look like in five years' time? (maximum 300 words)

Southern Spain is a major producer of Europe's food, the agri-food business has never before been so challenged by multiple aspects including the fossil fuel crisis, climate change which is driving temperatures up and snowfall decline together with droughts, and ever-increasing degradation of soils due to conventional farming practices. We want to work on this problem on the ground and bring research to the public.

Our plan for the next 5 years is to work on gradually building up the degraded soils using a variety of methods, increase organic matter in the soils for greater water retention, study and improve the irrigation systems to increase their efficacy thus saving water, research and document the effects of different water conservation techniques on the surrounding ecosystem including biodiversity of wild fauna and fauna and make food available from farm to table.

During the first year, we have already altered how we work the farm leaving organic material on the ground, planting green manure and reducing the tilling by 67%. We also changed the way the farm is watered. This has already had visible results in wild areas adjacent to the farm where a spring was born creating a moist and welcoming habitat for birds and amphibians that was not present before. Our community outreach efforts have already started to bear fruit with increased knowledge in the area by exchanging methods and information with our neighbours. In the next 5 years we want to be able to welcome people on the land to expand their knowledge and see what is possible first-hand whilst providing a safe space for research and experimentation. We also will be hosting live gatherings for people who want to know more about deep adaptation, permaculture design, seed savings and other aligned events.

27. What does regeneration mean to your organisation and how do the ideas of regeneration relate to your idea?*

To us, regeneration means putting in more than we take out. When it comes to food production, this includes using organic matter in place of fertilizer and using complimentary plants to build layers of biodiversity and abundance. With water, we strive for conservation and intelligent utilization, always coming up with new ways for it to feed new life.

By offering an education programme we hope that we also regenerate people's understanding of what it means to care for the earth that feeds us, maintaining a balance and creating new definitions for value and what it is to provide food for others keeping in mind the human energy that goes into it and the embodied energy of the tools and technology used to go from seed to product to food on the table.

All of this is relevant and applicable when we consider that Finca Verde is a permaculture project with the 3 core ethics: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share at its heart.

28. Who will benefit from your idea / project?*

Who are your main beneficiaries and what is their involvement in shaping your idea/project so far? How will you involve them going forward?

The project has provided not just a beautiful place to live and delicious homegrown produce to the residents of Finca Verde, but a place to live intentionally and from one's passion to bring new ideas to life. It provides us all with a learning environment where we learn how to tackle the difficulties of running a working farm such as replacing irrigation pipes, rebuilding stone walls, and assessing watering needs. It provides an opportunity to practice our permaculture principles and see how they hold up to real-life challenges.

The project has started serving the Ukrainian refugees community by providing assistance to find paid work in the area and also by sharing our excess produce

[Speak about your collaboration with the neighbors, particularly Adrian, the support you received and the exchanges you participate in.

Internationally- widely accessible knowledge shared through the wiki. [There are also international events like the deep adaption event that you're doing and education programs can also be international].

29. Personal and team wellbeing*

How will you/ do you make decisions within your team? And how will you/ do you support the health and wellbeing of all team members? Please provide evidence where possible through links to independent articles, reports etc.

We implemented a health and safety policy on site offering: -hydration and fatigue management for hot climates -education on places where wasps, scorpions, snakes can be frequently found, how to avoid an encounter, and what to do when it has occurred

To promote health and wellbeing we offer: -lower working hours and a flexible work schedule depending on weather conditions. -shaded spaces for rest -fresh mountain spring water and organic produce -guided meditations and silent spaces with beautiful mountain views for reflection -access to recreation opportunities in the area

We make decisions using a consent-based method called the inclusive decision-making process, which uses sociocratic principles.

30. Describe the broader environment you work in*

Consider your physical, social and economic environment in your answer. (maximum 200 words)

Economic environment. 1 in 5 high unemployment rates, the effect of rising prices of fuel which are threatening the survival of surrounding farms, neighbouring farms providing services to each other eg tool sharing, circular economy practices exchange of services, goods.

The physical environment is a farm which is a terraced mountain hillside, in a drought environment.

The social environment. is based on a cultivated relationship with the neighbours, knowledge shared, and regenerative practices which are needed and wanted as people in the area are moving to organic practices already.

31. Describe the key challenges and limiting factors your organisation faces in order to function, sustain itself, improve and evolve? Consider your physical, social and economic environment in your answer.*

Please tick up to five broad challenges and limiting factors, or add more under ‘other’ if applicable, and describe how these relate to your project.

  • funding constraints
  • climate change or extreme weather
  • structural inequality and marginalisation
  • ecological degradation
  • capacity or physical or emotional overstretch

31c. Describe how these challenges relate to your project.*

Describe how these challenges relate to your project.

Although funding is available from the EU agricultural & innovation funds we have found that often the minimum amount of land needs to be in excess of 15 hectares, this, unfortunately, leaves out the small holding farms from being able to access resources which are needed to transition into regenerative agriculture and is therefore creating structural inequality.

Since this project at the moment does not receive any funding there is a capacity limited to people on site at the moment 2 part-time people working 2 times a week. In the summer heat, we also have limited working hours limiting our outside work early morning and near sundown.

Ecological degradation requires time and labour to restore the damage already there from many years of conventional farming, building up soils with organic matter which often has to be applied manually due to the mountainous terrain.

32. How will / does your organisation directly support the regeneration of the natural resources it depends on?*

Please consider how your organisation addresses its direct resource use and the health of wider ecosystems. Please provide evidence where possible through links to independent articles, reports etc.

We have already started working on water management techniques which allow for aquifers in the ground to be recharged and springs to be created at the bottom of the valley regenerating a diverse ecosystem.

Biodiversity is increased by increased water availability, not using chemical herbicides allows for the biodiversity of plants and insects and also birds who make the most out of the seeds and shade of the trees.

By building up the soil we are seeing an increase in insect activity in the soil and also increased biodiversity of beneficial insects such as pollinators and ladybirds and earthworms.

By planting green manure we are also aiding in the soil building process allowing the trees to access the nutrients they need without needing to feed on artificial fertilizers.

By not using pesticides the number of insects on the land has increased and we hope to start observing how this will balance out between the parasitic insects which may harm the olives to beneficial ones which feed on them.

With these practices, we are working with nature to make our work and the work of the trees to produce a crop easier and more natural.

33. How will / does your organisation support social regeneration?*

How does your organisation support solidarity, community cohesion and resilience? And how do you work to address gender, class, race, mobility or other issues that impact on access and status? Please provide evidence where possible through links to independent articles, reports etc. (maximum 200 words)

We are a local community project first and therefore we plan to continue our community outreach work and create events for the locals and online, supporting refugees with excess food, sharing food and support for local art project, working with the seed bank, provide support to our neighbours. We value our relational spaces in which we are able to talk about every day challenges of living on the land, making ends meets and creating community in the face of climatic and socio economic challenges faced by all of us in this area.

34. How will / does your organisation support economic regeneration?* Please provide evidence where possible through links to independent articles, reports etc. (maximum 200 words)

We are staunch supporters of the circular economy working with the neighbours for example when we need tractor work, we also engage in an exchange of services, consultancy, products exchange and we shop local. We are very lucky to have organic vegetable growers in the community who readily accept exchanges and provide the necessary basics for very reasonable and fair prices which we are happy to pay.

35. How are you transparent about your finances within your community?*

We are documenting farm costs on our wiki, put a link

36. How is your team or organisation connected to other organisations and/ or wider networks locally and globally? Please name the key networks you are connected to in your Local Area; in your Country; Internationally.*

Please list full group names rather than acronyms, separated by a comma. Please only list groups who you have a firm and historic connection to. (maximum 100 words).

Seed bank, Global Regeneration Colab, International Permaculture Colab, Ecohackerfarm.

37. How are you connected to these groups?*

  • Seed bank - donations and exchange of seeds & information
  • Ecohackerfarm - access to digital infrastructure, mailing list, website etc.
  • International permaculture Colab & Global Regeneration Colab: international networking and support

38. How would you spend the prize money to overcome your challenges and move towards your goals?*

We are looking to launch a Permaculture/Regenerative Design Education programme The funding will cover program design and construction of facilities to eco-built accommodation for students, visitors and volunteers who come to learn about what we do. It will give our project a good start to involve the local and regional community and spread further the research and practices we are engaging in.

39. How would you use the Spring Prize event(s) to move towards your goals?*

We would love to promote our project at any event, spread knowledge and share information about what we are doing and how we are doing it and extend an invitation to people who would like to come and visit the project on-site.

40. Are there other kinds of support your organisation would benefit from? For example mentoring, research support, publicity, knowledge sharing with other organisations?

Any help including mentoring, research support, publicity, knowledge sharing with other organisations would be welcome and we would be grateful to talk to anyone who wants to support us in any way.

Optional Questions

Any answers you give will not be considered in the judging process for the LUSH Spring Prize, but may be relevant for research or external funders (if you gave permission for us to share your application form with other funders).

42. What tools do you use in your project?

Please tick up to five ‘tools’ below which apply to your project, using ‘other’ where applicable.

  • permaculture design
  • training and skill-sharing practices
  • network building
  • research
  • regenerative agriculture
  • finca_verde/lush_spring_prize_2022.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/08/29 14:23
  • by aimeejulia