We are more than twenty partners and collaborators united in our shared mission of putting our best efforts into the improvement of our environment. We offer products of our farms produced by methods of regenerative agriculture, and which are also sustainable at the ecological, economic and social levels, with an overall vision for the development and prosperity of our territory.
Most of us are very driven organic farmers who embarked on a journey towards regenerative organic farming. We have come to understand that this is the best way to increase the biodiversity of our fields while building a living soil with structure and good amounts of organic matter. This is how we can also reduce water loss and soil erosion. These problems hit us even harder together with climate change, temperature rising and droughts. We are aware of the true value of our soils to make our crops more resilient against these adverse conditions and climate effects as well as to be able to produce highly nutritious, healthy food.
We feel that we hold our future and the future of our farms in our hands. We can create this added value for ourselves and for everyone else in our territory.
We are on a learning path together. For many of us it is a new path, but we are convinced that there is no other one.
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I have several layers of motivation to undertake this task. On the one hand I see the beauty and potential in the diverse natural and cultural landscapes of our territory but on the other hand it is devastating to look at the scale of degradation of our soils and landscapes, knowing all the consequences for the area and its people. That is why I feel it is my purpose to help with the improvement of this situation, not only at the environmental but at the social level too. I can see the possibility of turning the «degradation» of hope, people often have for our future, into a new source of inspiration by doing this great work. This can also set a positive example to follow for other areas in the same situation.
Likewise, I am also aware of enormous potential agriculture and especially its soil can have on sequestering carbon dioxide, which is the main cause of global climate change and all of its consequences.
I treasure our project as an opportunity to undertake new agricultural and entrepreneurial paths that are more sustainable at ecological, entrepreneurial, social and ethical levels all across the value chain, from our land to the end customer. It is a fertile soil field to experience regenerative organic farming, the 4 Returns approach and the ability of the actors to go along together on these paths, learning from their differences and growing through the conflicts that may arise.
ALFONSO CHICO DE GUZMÁN
I am Alfonso Chico de Guzmán, born in 1988. I live in northwest Murcia, cultivating and managing our family farm.
In our farm we try to maintain a diversity of crops and apply the farming techniques of regenerative agriculture for all of them. The main ones are cereals and almonds, but we also have pistachios, aromatic, apple trees and vegetables. Except for a small part of irrigated land, where we grow the apple trees and vegetables, all the rest are rainfed.
It is much easier and more pleasant to grow and market the products of a farm in the company of other farmers with similar concerns than doing it all alone. By being in a group we can receive the support and advice of other members to resolve day-to-day problems on the farm as well as we can create a common strategy for the medium and long run.
I am Cristóbal Aránega, 49 years old and I live in Chirivel, Almería province. I have been an organic farmer for more than 25 years now. I manage ecological organic and regenerative almond farms in the area of the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park.
There are several reasons that inspired me to participate as a partner in this company: on the one hand, to enhance the value of a territory’s products with such unique characteristics the AlVelAl territory has, and on the other hand, the need to adapt and contribute to the mitigation of climate change.
FRANCISCO JAVIER EGEA
My name is Francisco Javier Egea Reche, I am 49 years old. I worked in banking, but now I’m fully engaged in agriculture.
My family has a farm in Chirivel, in the province of Almeria where I have started a plantation project of 30 hectares of almond trees to devote ourselves to organic and regenerative agriculture.
The farm has 250 hectares of which more than 205 are for Monte bajo and matorral (shrub vegetation) but also quite full of aromatic plants, mainly thyme, as well as oaks in the parts that belongs to the Natural Park of the Sierra de María Los Vélez. The remaining 45 hectares are working lands that always have been assigned for sowing cereal with the integration of scattered almond trees.
The Constitution of Almendrehesa, on the one hand, offers me an opportunity to be able to count on the help and advice of our members, as well as on the support of the Association AlVelAl, in order to carry out my project in regenerative organic agriculture.
I hope, on the other hand, that Almendrehesa will also give us the chance to reach the final consumer who values and appreciates our work. This way we could share more of our values and commitment to improve the ecological, economic and social situation of this territory.
MIGUEL ÁNGEL GÓMEZ
I am Miguel Ángel Gómez, agricultural engineer and almond producer. I was raised in a family deeply rooted in farming traditions. They inspired me to love the land and to be interested in agriculture.
My family has a 25-hectare almond farm composed of several different lands in Ferreira, a municipality situated within the Sierra Nevada National Park. In the past, our lands were always cultivated in a traditional way, which meant that conventional farming methods were applied for almonds. But in recent years a shift to the holistic agro-ecological land management has been progressively carried out. With the harvest of 2018 our lands have been fully converted into organic agriculture.
Some of the interventions that have been carried out are the reduction of tillage, sowing of green fertilizers, the application of organic compost and the planting of aromatic plants among others. These were all done to restore soil fertility and increase the biodiversity.
What inspired me the most to participate in this project was that it is born from people’s enthusiasm really, from their love and hope for our territory. Here, we aim to market an almond of superior quality, harvested from regenerative trees that both preserve the fertility of the soil and restore the landscape.