To thank you for your support we have added a very special discount on our products at the end of this article 💚
A year that has reminded us the necessity of positive action, more and more extreme weather conditions and unbelievable amount of violence. It is hard to stay positive, but let us be reminded that as long as there is life, there is hope. We are amazed by the life that keeps evolving and improving at the farm, the amount of insects, butterflies, ladybugs, spiders and an increasing variety of birds are proof that life is able to bounce back, as long as there is life. Together we carry the responsability (ability to respond) to our multiple crises, and be there for one and another, including those who don't have/are not allowed a voice.
We can't believe we are already in December, the fireplace is on and the farm is slowing down while the leaves are falling to the ground. It is time for us to have a reflection of our year and we want to invite you with us.
This year we started a commercial vegetable production, aiming to serve our local community of high quality and nutritious food, while starting to develop a cash-flow helping the development of an entire project while the agroforestry cash flow will take some time to be sufficient. After months and months of preparation in collaboration with Alex, a young neighbor from Miravet, we unfortunately had to split ways realizing that we were not a match to manage this together. Working this intensively together requires a deep alignment in values and vision, which is hard to discover on short term. This split came at the unfortunate time when we were ready to sell, and the entire season fell on our shoulders. Luckily we had a constant team of incredible WWOOF-ers (Rebels who come to learn, connect and give their time to volunteer at the farm via a platform called WWOOF), without whom we would not be able to continue growing and selling delicious vegetables while having build relationships with neighbors, families, shops and restaurants. Delivering vegetables literally in people's kitchen has given us a deeper sense of belonging to this community that we live in. Just to name a few, we have grown a variety of tomatoes (i.e. black cherry, yellow apricot tomato, blue tomatoes), watermelons, potatoes, snow peas, multiple different lettuces, pumpkins, sold mostly on Tuesday's in boxes to individuals & families.
Below are 2 pictures of the Market Garden, left/up is January '23 and down/right is May '23. The veg beds are between the tree lines, the young trees are not visible from the drone yet
The Market Garden has served us meals with a taste that we never experienced before, but we have also have been surprised with an overload of produce and never-ending work. Annuals/Vegetables grow at such a high speed that is not compareable with trees & bushes, so the maintenance to ensure everything grows well and even looks good until the very moment they are delivered, has been a challenge for us who are completely new to this.
We launched the year of vegetables with our apricot season where we opened the farm for a Pick Your Own Apricots day, to experience a day in the orchard with families while harvesting your own sweet apricots. Again we experienced an abundance of fruit, that was hard to keep up with. We ended up making and selling a lot of delicious apricot jam, followed by fig jam a couple of months later. We have received great feedback on both, so that we will make these jams available on our webshop next year as well, together with other of new products that we have experimented with this year; Tomato Frito, Hot Sauce from fermented chili's, Almond Butter and possibly our own tea mixes. If you have any special requests, let us know as we are starting the planning of our garden now, so we could discuss together what combinations we can grow and produce for you or your shop/restaurant.
Our olive harvest has been a great edition after no olives last year, we have had a record harvest and we are convinced that the quality of the oil also has gotten better and more delicious. The olives have been harvested early and therefore most of the olives are green, with higher health benefits. Read more about the olive harvest of this year in our last update. A special Christmas / Festive season offer is on this month, giving you a 15% discount on the Almond & Olive Oil Packages, perfect as a gift to your loved ones! Use the code 'FestiveRebel23' while checking out on our webshop.
We have embarked on this journey now over 3 years ago. A bold journey where we completely changed our lifes with the mission of showing that farming can and should have a positive impact on all life on earth. This journey has been a rollercoaster, one with high's and low's, but mostly it is a marathon, a life-long marathon where we are discovering how to life off-grid, how to settle in a foreign country and community, how to grow and care for plants and trees, how to run a succesful business, and all while learning how to be the best parents possible. We needed a break, a physical & mental break from the farm to recharge our batteries. This is not something that is as easy as just packing our bags and go for a couple of weeks when you are nurturing living beings such as animals and plants, especially in this harsh climate. We have been so fortunate with our dear dear friend Felipe, who has taken over the stewardship of the farm for over a month while the 3 of us have been on holidays. A privilige and luxury to have been able to slow down, disconnect and to spent time just the 3 of us. We can't thank you enough Felipe and the incredible team that has made it an unforgettable time at the farm; Fiz, Niek, Luca, Clementine & Hannah!
That brings us to a deep gratitute to everyone who has passed by this year and has given their hands, energy and passion to the project in any way. The dynamics of the farm were always changing, but we have met so many beautiful people that we have spent endless great meals with and countless hours in the garden. You all have helped evolve the farm in so many ways, we have learned a lot from you and we get hope and positivity out of knowing that there is such a strong global community of stewards for this planet, all of you in a unique way. Too many to mention here, but you have brought cultures & perspectives from Brazil, Colombia, Australia, Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands and England.
A highlight away from the farm, has been the workshop at Amadeco, a Syntropic Farm in Italy, given by Felipe Pasini & Dayana Andrade, who have inspired Carlo to start this crazy adventure with their video 'Life in Syntropy'. The workshop has been carefully crafted and organized by our friends Gavin & Alessandro, who spent August '22 at the farm after participating in our course. This workshop has been a big inspiration seeing what highly knowledgable, experienced and caring people have realized on their farm, and to receive so much knowledge that we can apply at our farm improving and hopefully extending the already planted agroforestry lines.
The 8,000+ trees we have planted so far, in different syntropic lines including Viggo's foodforest, have evolved and grown well, some trees planted 2 years ago are almost 4 meters! We can clearly see the benefit of growing extremely dense, and have learned a lot which species are growing better than others in this climate. A next step to help these trees grow even healthier and better is planting herbs into the tree lines, combined with other trees and bushes in spaces/layers where we miss vegetation. We are algo going to add fruit trees in the lines where we did not plant producing tees yet, now that the soil has improved. Thank you to everyone who has adopted trees, it is a big support to the young food forest that requires a lot of care but is not productive yet. Our goal is to pass 10,000 trees and bushes in the coming year!
On of the focus area's for 2024 will be to explore how we can improve our educational offering, after the Dutch students from Hageveld came last year we want to further collaborate with other schools to give this life-changing eperience to more young people, they are our future and need the knowledge that is not taught in conventional curriculum. If you know of any school in Europe that would be interested, let us know!
We are exploring hosting another course in Spring '24, this time diving deeper into the importance and practicalities of Water Management. We are experiencing more and more extreme weather conditions, so we need to prepare ourselves for longer droughts and optimally use every single drop that falls down. Improving the water cycle already makes a difference after the first rain, so it deserves all our attention as an effective way to regenerate our landscapes. This course is for everyone who want to improve the water cycle on your land, farm or even garden. A 3-day course at the farm, that also covers Agroforestry with an introduction into Syntropic Farming through hands-on learning. Does this sound interesting to you, let us know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can make this a reality!
How can you support the regeneration of our project?
We are very excited for a new year with new opportunities and learnings, all while increasing the resilience of the 15 hectare farm and inspiring others to join the transition to a greener future. For now we wish you a warm, safe and loving festive season. With love, Carlo, Coralie, Paolo, Maathai (our dog), Nelson & Vandana (our cats)