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Folha Verde – Natural Education and Community Project

 

Folha Verde is a project initiated and carried out by the local community of around 150 like-minded adults and 50 children, most of whom have moved to the central region of Portugal to be closer to nature and to live a more sustainable life.

The project is situated in a central valley next to the river in Benfeita, which makes it easily accessible for all of those living in the surrounding villages of Luadas, Esculca, Pai das Dona, Pardieiros, Sardal, Monte Frio, Cerdeira, Dreia and those of living in the wider region between Arganil, Coja and Oliveira do Hospital.

The community consists of people from various backgrounds, cultures and age, bringing an interesting and highly varied plate of skills, wisdom and talents to the table.

Within the community there are artists, musicians, eco-builders, carpenters, linguists, writers, teachers, nutritionists, renewable energy experts, wild food foragers, chefs and alternative health therapists and practitioners, all of whom are welcome to host events and workshops at the Lagar – drawing on this incredible richness and diversity and creating a hub for a truly unique community.

The community itself enjoys getting together whenever they can to enjoy each other’s company and the wildness of the valleys and rivers they live among to exchange skills or share stories. They organise workdays, to help each other out on the land as well as working on projects to benefit the community and is a monthly arts, crafts and food markets in Benfeita village (every first Saturday of the month) and nearby Barril (every third Saturday of the month) which allows people to exchange local and homemade produce and meet to catch up. The monthly open mic night also offers a space for the lively scene of musicians and music enthusiasts to come on stage. Many jams happen spontaneously as well as open-air concerts with local bands The Mad Farmers Liberation Front, Mosaico Genético, Kumpania and classical duo Oblivion.

Sadly, the devastating wildfires of October 2017 struck the community of Benfeita valley and surrounding villages in the mountains of Central Portugal hard. At least 25 families became homeless and all people lost their farms and forest land.

A crowdfunding page has been set up to help those affected, with focus especially on the transformation of an old Lagar (olive press) in the valley of Benfeita to be turned into an education and community centre. The Lagar (olive press) is situated in a central valley next to the river in Benfeita, which makes it easy accessible for all of those living in the surrounding villages of Luadas, Esculca, Pai das Dona, Pardieiros, Sardal, Monte Frio, Cerdeira, Dreia and those living in the wider region between Arganil, Coja and Oliveira do Hospital. The hope is that the building itself will provide a space for all of those within the community to exchange their skills and talents, resulting in a diverse range of exciting community workshops and educational events. Everything from pop up restaurants, to workshops on weaving, felting, crafting, foraging, creative writing, drama, yoga and meditation, to monthly community get-togethers which would include men’s and women’s groups and meetings about collective efforts towards the sustainability of the local region in relation to forestry, ecosystem restoration and the water situation, the Lagar building could provide a perfect space for all sorts of learning and growth.

At the heart of it all the community pride themselves on the shared values of respect for all life, community, creativity, equality, sustainability, fun, openness, freedom, wisdom, selflessness, compassion and love.

Crowdfunding Link
Community Website
Community Facebook Page

If you are interested in exploring the individual projects of some of the local community members who have created an online environment for their work and projects, have a look here:

Wendy // www.permaculturinginportugal.net
Laura // www.awakenedforestproject.org
Lynn // www.avidafausto.net
Roshnii & Supriya // www.confionoparto.pt
Rob, Kin & Peter // www.madfarmers.com
Pete & Cynthia // www.awakenedlifeproject.org
Haico & Else // www.magicvalley.pt

2 thoughts on “Folha Verde – Natural Education and Community Project

  1. please send me more info about this project. I am a South African living in the Algarve. I have a workshop and am building our casa in the Algarve. I can make and do anything. I would like to know more about what you do. What you need. Where you are going.
    Thanks
    Warren

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