Our priority so far has been to raise the fertility, plant-cover & biodiversity of the land for the first 5 years of stewardship work here (we have not done the usual which is to put most initial resources into human comforts, so note that accommodation is very basic still, for this reason)
- of the trees, many are mature & already fruit-bearing - many almonds, oranges, lemon, nisperos, cactus-fruit, pears, plums, figs, chestnuts. The area is famous for its abundance of almonds which apart from the great harvest, create a unique spectacle of almonds in flower during january-march (not to be missed!)
- we have added many trailing vines for shade & food, like passion-fruit & vines & we have also been increasing the biodiversity greatly with autoctonous species of herbs, trees & bushes
- we have also planted a great number of new fruit trees in that time, like walnut, avocado, mandarin, apple, chirimoyo, banana, olive, sharon-fruit, carob, acacias, tagasaste, mango, date-palms, dragos, papaya, guayaba, mulberry, quince & tomatillo, all with full watering structures in place
A young guayaba tree
The first & main job we've concentrated on during the first 5 years on the site has been the creation of soil:
- stopping erosion on slopes
- repairing terrace walls
- setting up a chicken tractor
- and later a rabbit-tractor
- collecting great amounts of mulch
- planting many plants & bushes
- putting down drip irrigation
We've also engaged in intensive research into what creates community soil. Taking the lessons from successes & failures of previous projects. Our own as well, as many colleagues' + studies into community building of all types, not just eco-villages.
We set out to study by action-learning with the temporary communities of the action-learning programmes. Why post-modern people in the west are so volatile when it comes to making lasting commitments to projects we superficially agree, are of the utmost importance.
We confirmed with experience that the lasting relationships & solid teams are created when a series of criteria are met, and we distilled these down to some basic models. Not techniques or recipes, but models that help in understanding what's going on under the surface, which is much more flexible. Those models are now taught in Module 1 (People-Care) of the PDC+++ Course.
However idealistic a project, it has to work in the less than ideal current realities, if we are to have any hope of transforming those.
Our first priority is to find the ideal people for the self employment opportunities already identified and listed in more detail in this section of Butterfly Jobs. We think this inter-linking of skills and work-areas would ensure a solid EcoBusiness base to make the EcoVillage very viable & prosperous for all, especially the local economy.
We are also open to suggestions & welcome passive investors as well, as they would enable people who have the skills and wish to take on these jobs or be part of the eco-village, but don't yet have the money to buy a share.
People with a back-up online business and a genuine interest & wish to also do physical work in one of these areas would be ideal.
There are a number of possible businesses on site, for which we have done the basic market investigation by observing this area & economy for the last 10 years, with a very discerning eye.
This investment would get you prime quality land, one of the healthiest possible environments to live in and some interesting business opportunities. Should you also wish to set up an eco-business here, which of course you can also sell if you ever wish to move on, adding greatly to your investment.
The farm already supports a small carpentry (Julio's EcoBusiness) and a permaculture school (Stella's EcoBusiness - now moving to more online courses in order to preserve the privacy of our home), with several more businesses already investigated which could be viable here, given the right people to start them.
- a pottery - there is local good red clay on site, we have a small kiln & an electric wheel + a great place for a workshop. We have also tested local markets & the only reason we have tried but abandoned this business option for now is that we have plenty of work with our existing other businesses - and we like a simple life
- growing & selling organic produce, grown on the very fertile land which can be sold in the popular local markets (nearest is 10 minutes away) & other outlets we already have personal contacts with
- or even more profitably sold processed & on site (3 times more profitably) in a juice-bar/café (a well-frequented tourist walk passes nearby). These are some of the produce possible:
- fruit & vegetables - 6 large gardens with excellent fertile earth are already in place, complete with spring water supply. Some are with full irrigation system in place and accessible to the chicken-tractor system we are designing
- nursery plants - there is a small nursery on site which can be improved & extended. Nursery production is even more profitable than selling produce
- there is a large commercial kitchen in the market nearby, which can be used by local people who wish to make conserves. This is another way of enhancing the value of organic produce
- there is a local variety of disease-free bee. We've been steadily increasing the quantity & variety of flowers to make possible small scale honey production
- poultry - we currently have 9 chickens & are building a structure to house 50-60 chickens. This way, we'll increase the production of organic eggs & meat for the local market
- it is possible to breed rabbits, guinea pigs & goats here, since there is much surrounding wild land. We have also increased variety & quantity of forage-plants on site. In April 2011 we finally decided we couldn't let all the huge abundance of lush herbivore-fodder go to waste & got our first rabbit-pair. In autumn 2012 we got guinea pigs, which are more resistant to diseases.
- the site is ideal as a small ecological camping site, with basic facilities already in place and stunning views all around, close to some of the most popular tourist attractions. La Palma tourism is more for the discerning nature-lover, health-conscious or sporty type and ideal for walkers
- we are very keen to have eco-builders / engineering enthusiasts, especially those that are excited about working with recycled materials. Possibly the most important tasks for next generations, together with re-creating soil & regenerating vital eco-systems, is to find ways to use the huge quantities of 'rubbish' that our industrial societies have generated, and transform those once again into valuable resources. Making small-scale windmills, water-pumps, water-collection infrastructures and solar-power tech is an important addition to all of the above, as well as finding innovative ways to make our small 'Hobbit-Domes' beautifully from 90% waste materials.
- the place is perfect for whoever already has or wishes to develop an online business or is a writer for example, as the peace & quiet of the surroundings, combined with the great beauty of the place & high-speed internet connection already in place is very supportive of this kind of work as well. Complete with green-gym on the doorstep so you don't risk becoming a desk-potato! As you can contribute to the farming whenever you wish.
Butterfly Jobs is the evolutionary employment agency we set up to advertise the eco-business opportunities being created.