We´re a couple with 2 kids (13 and 17 years old) living inside the montado (mediterranean oakland) in Alentejo, Portugal.
We have a permaculture vegetable garden, organic and biodynamic, and we planted, in 2014, an orchard in keyline design (7 ha) with several fruit species and varieties: citrus, apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, walnuts, almond nuts, blackberries and blueberries. We make our biodynamic compost, raise and collect our own seeds. We produce a lot Portuguese regional vegetable varieties.
Catarina studied agronomy, specialized in organic farming, and worked is soil science for some years.
Since then she took time to learn and integrate knowledge from very different sources, both in books, papers and courses:
2010 - PDC with Lesley Martin, in Mount of Oaks, Alpedrinha, Fundão, Portugal.
2011 - RegenAg - RAW (Regenerative Agriculture Workshop), 3 days, with Darren Doherty (Austrália), in Vale da Lama, Lagos, Portugal.
2014 - Holistic Management, 3 days, with Kirk Gadzia (EUA) em Vivencia Dehesa, Espanha.
2014 - El ABC de la Agricultura Orgânica + Cromatografia, 4 days, with Jairo Restrepo (Colômbia/Brasil) in Cuevas del Becerro, Espanha.
2015 - Holistic Management - Holistic Grazing, 3 days, with Owen Hablutzel (EUA) em Ávila, Espanha.
2017 - Quantum Agriculture - Advanced Course, 5 days, with Hugh Lovel (EUA/ Austrália) in Coolanowle, Ireland.
2018 - Quantum Agriculture - Biologically Dynamic Soils and Farms, with Hugh Lovel (EUA/Australia) em Coolanowle, Ireland.
2019 - Precision Agriculture Plant Nutrition Management - online course from the RegenAg Academy, EUA.
Carlos studied Anthropology and worked as a journalist in local newspapers.
He has been a organic farmer since 2006, and biodinamic since 2013, producing vegetables and several fruit especies adapted to the meditarreneam climate. He keeps learning on is everyday work and with others:
2014 - El ABC de la Agricultura Orgânica + Cromatografia, 4 days, with Jairo Restrepo em Cuevas del Becerro, Espanha.
2018 - Agricultura Sintrópica, 4 days with Ernst Götsch, Herdade do Freixo do Meio, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal.
We changed from urban to rural, and have been organic farmers since 2006. We sold our products in an organic market in the Lisbon Region (Oeiras) between 2007 and 2009. In 2009 we made our first Permaculture introduction course and since that time we learned a lot, by making experiencies and observation, by reading and attending to courses in regenerative farming (keyline, holistic management, biofertilizers,...)
In 2011 we moved to this property in Alentejo, close to Montemor-o-Novo, to start a new project inside a big farm "Herdade do Freixo do Meio" (herdadedofreixodomeio.pt), but with total autonomy. We have to main focuses: soil regeneration and to produce good (quality) food).
This region has very fragile soils, wich have been mistreated for several decades. The result is a very poor, erosionated, soil, compacted by deficient animal management and wrong machinery implements. It has very little fertility now, so, very little production of pasture or cereals, and a hard environment for cork and holm oaks.
To achieve our objectives, we started by making a vegetable garden near the house, with raised and sunken permaculture beds. This garden, allowed us to sell vegetables to a group of consumers in Lisbon in a CSA program, every Friday during most of the year, for three years. We now produce vegetables for our own Consumption and to sell in local organic stores.
We have planted the orchard in keyline design. developed by P. A. Yeomans in 1950.
Keyline design (the way we plant trees build roads, locate buildings, etc., on the landscape), along with its implement, the Keyline plow, allows water to infiltrate and plant roots to develop deeper in the soil. This way, a living soil is created, each year deeper. This design, being unlevelled also allows water to spread and to reach the driest zones on the landscape. It builds soil every year. We are currently planting several trees and bushes, legumes, dynamic accumulators and others for soil building, habitat maintenance and pest management, and for windbreak. We seed legumes and gramineas for soil improvement. We also applied the required corrective minerals in soil, determined by soil analyses, and rock dust (lime stone, basalt ang gypsum).
We have plenty of permaculture, keyline, Biodinamic, soil microbiology and holistic management books on our library (mostly in english or spanish) that you can read and discuss, and several films about permaculture and regenerative farming.
We have also been working as consultants in regenerative farming systems in Portugal.
Currently we are going deeper in regenerative farming: soil microrganisms, biofertilizers, holistic management, keyline and also biodynamic.
We love to have volunteers that are willing to learn about this subjects, but also like people that just want to benefit from working at the peace and calm of this mediterranean oakland. Anyone with good spirit is welcome ;)
We have a house for volunteers next to ours. The house is equiped with a bunk bed, a stove for volunteers to cook their onw meals, and a bathroom. We live inside the montado (oakland). We have limited electricitiy power, only from solar panels, located outside the house.
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help with Computers/ Internet
Our volunteers will spend lots of time with us, as a family, if wanted. We love to spread ou knowledge about permaculture and holistic farming and to discuss and hear about different life experiences...
Gardening in our vegetable garden. Planting bushes and plants for windbreaks. Mulching in the orchard. Moving sheep and chicken parks. Help with the meals. Playing with our children. Repairs at home, electricity... etc.
We like to benefit from our volunteers skils, and we always adapt functions to skils and learning wishes.
We have a house for volunteers next to ours. The house is equiped with a bunk bed, a stove for volunteers to cook their onw meals, and a bathroom. We live inside the montado (oakland). We have limited electricitiy power, only from solar panels, located outside the house. There is no refrigerator.
Our project is being built inside a big organic farm in Portugal (Herdade do Freixo do Meio). We're in an mediterranean oak forest and there is a big artificial lake near by where we can go swiming during summer. We have a small village 4 km away, but big buses go to Montemor-o-Novo, 14 km away.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
5 hours a day 5 days a week