Dear Founding Rebels,
Exactly 1 month ago we got the keys of our dream land. The temperature has dropped by 20 degrees in the meantime and thus this is a nice time for me to take a moment of reflection that I would love to share with you!
The same feeling that we have sometimes on the land, I now have again. Where do I even start? We are exploring the 16,5 hectares of land every day bit by bit, whether we are showing the land to Dan (Irish Guardian Angel and now neighbor who was the one that pulled me to the beautiful area of Terra Alta and let me generously use their finca as my homebase while I was hunting for my land for 1,5 month), to Barcelona Slow Travel (On a 100-day trip to visit and highlight local & ecological producers in Catalunya) or our architect who is advising us what approach is best for renovating the little house to make it ready to live. Every time we are discovering a new angle, perspective, view or specie that is on our land while breathing in fresh air and endless views.
The day after we signed at the notary we came to the land and we were surprised by hunters on the land, which we heard by a lot of barking dogs and yelling men. For some reason I got an adrenaline kick and wanted to 'protect' my land. I started to march in their direction and clapping loud so they knew I was coming without pointing their guns at me, as if I was a wild deer or boar. My dad and Coralie joined me, but luckily calmed me down on the way and I realized I could better take it easy and aim for a conversation instead of just trying to send them away. I am the one who is new here, don't speak the language and am unarmed.
Unfortunately the hunters were not very happy with my kind request to not hunt on this piece of land, and one started to yell in Catalan. Telling us to go the mayor and how we dared as foreigners to come into his village telling him that their tradition is not allowed. Traditions... Everywhere in the world a sensitive topic. We got messages from all over the world on how to best approach this, from letting it be, to building a fence all around. For now we are not taking active measures and by being present on the land more and more we feel that they will know we do not appreciate it and stay away. The farm should be a warm place where we welcome people above all. We have asked Amanda, our extremely kind Airbnb host and also known as 'Artista Activista', to paint some signs that indicate no hunting here.
Last weekend we stayed at the house for the first nights, and even though we don't have more than a bed, fireplace and a gas burner to cook on, it made the place feel so much more like home after spending some (cold) nights on the land. Sunday morning we got surprised by a big dog with electrical collar, Coralie immediately recognized him as a hunting dog. I stood up to see what more was coming. A guy with another 3 dogs, and a big shotgun like gun on his shoulders came to us. A bit in shock I tried to tell him that we are living here, knowing that hunters are not allowed on land when people are living there. The hunter thought we were illegally occupying the house, and told us we would be sent away with aggressive hand signals, while re-loading his gun. Just 1 meter away from him, I was a bit surprised that he was reloading his gun in my face while in 'conversation', but luckily it wasn't to threaten us. Once he realized that we just bought the land, he apologized and walked away, with 10 dead birds hanging on his belt..
Luckily loads of positivity is happening as well, my dad had extended his stay here to help harvesting olives that we wanted to press into oil. We were quite lucky that the olives and some almonds weren't harvested yet, and in 3 days of handpicking we managed to harvest 294 KGs of olives, pressed into 50 litres of extra virgin olive oil, with such a strong and aromatic smell. The almonds were taken back to my sister in the Netherlands, an incredible chef-cook with Oh My Gut, who is making Almond Butter from it in recycled pots. Soon you will be able to order one! We are looking for the best way to bottle our olive oil, what kind of labels are most ecological, how do we want to brand it etc. When we drive back to The Netherlands for Christmas they will be ready and I cannot wait to share the excitement & pure taste of olives with you!
In the meantime I have also started working part-time, together with Founding Rebel Marlou we have been able to continue to work with an incredible purpose for QS World Merit, empowering and rewarding changemakers from all over the world working hard to improve their local communities and tackle global issues. Very exciting, it gives me less pressure to start making profit with the farm and all the donations can go directly to the project itself, but also challenging to combine everything. Especially now that the project has such an incredible momentum.
This week I got surprised with an email from Oliver Goshey, host of the Abundant Edge Podcast; an amazing podcast about regenerative agriculture and which has been a source of inspiration and knowledge for me. Oliver emailed me from the movement called 'Climate Farmers', and we had an interesting chat to see what kind of resources and tools I need in order to succeed, while they are aiming to support farmers who are showing that farming can (and has to) be done differently. Eat climate change is one of their products, we can't have enough of those meals right?
On top of the fact that my blog with 'Plantaardiger' got published about food forests, I've been in touch with multiple podcasts and organizations that want to help me. So much is happening, for which I am extremely grateful for. The crowdfunding reached 70% this weekend, steadily going for the 100% in order to fully kick-start the project!
One thing is very clear, we are on to something big, and we are reminded of that daily and that helps us to get through the low and grumpy moments, natural moments that are part of life. Once again my heart is warm and full of joy and curiosity what the upcoming weeks have for us and getting ready for 2021, that will bring all your dreams into reality after a strange 2020. Enjoy and cherish the coming holidays, especially now with your loved ones and family, where we are reminded that it is about quality, instead of quantity.
The Green Rebel
P.s. if you have missed the first blog, check it out here