Agricultura Regenerativa launched with MasHumus Chromatography & BioFertility Class
Report & Images by Isaebella Doherty
As a family, we had an instant connection to Spain. Whether it be the siestas, the homemade tapas, the eight hour long dinners and invigorating conversations that come with them, there is something about this country that has always felt like home and has treated us as it’s own. No matter where we go, there is something that reminds us of Australia. In the vast landscapes that reflect our own Mediterranean climate, or perhaps it’s our deep seeded heritage from before the Armada. From the first KDC way back in 2007, we were addicted.
I’ve made six trips in the last 5 years, to various parts, everywhere from the beautifully unkept Sierra’s to the deserted hills of Alicante to the paradisal cliffs of Deia. No matter how long I’m gone for, every time I arrive back it’s like a breath of fresh air (more so than my returns to Australia), like I’m back on my land and with my people. For this we owe Spain and it’s people, who are the most generous, charismatic, passionate clan I’ve met. I’ve not yet met any volatility in this country and I would never expect to, it’s indisputably welcoming in every sense of the word.
The Spanish people have shown these unequivocal measures of dedication and community from Day 1. I remember the first KDC, the one that started it all and created the Agricultura Regenerativa Iberica union we see today. Jesus Ruiz joined us on that very first course and I caught up with him two days ago on the latest, which saw RegenAg Barcelona conduct it’s first, with over 50 people in attendance for Eugenio Gras’ BioFertilizer training. Jesus, inspired after the KDC, bought a Keyline plow and allowed us to utilize it on the future courses, contributing many hours to the prosperity of RegenAg Iberica and establishing himself as a stronghold in the community.
In Spain, we always see students at least twice, because if they invest their passion in something, that commitment is undivided. It’s never a case of absorbing the information given and letting it stew in their minds, it’s, “What can we do? Where can we do it? WHEN can we do it?” People understand the idea of community and utilize it to its full degree. Just on this last course, the students stayed behind for over 4 hours, after Eugenio had left, working together to try and strategize ways to make viable the imminent trips of Dad, Kirk, Joel and Eugenio for 2013. It’s the case on every course, we can proudly watch and say, “Look, here comes the next round.” Even if people are unwilling to be convenors, they are willing to be marketers, adjudicators, schemers, they don’t waste time uming and ahing, they want and need change and they won’t wait around for it to be presented to them.
And so, Agricultura Regenerativa Iberica has established itself now as a sovereignty, with its many autonomous little counterparts attaining and pushing their own national interests under the great big banner than holds them as a whole. Ana Digon, who was originally a translator on one of Dad’s original courses, has spectacularly overseen this transformation whilst still steadily developing her RegenAg Basque enterprise. As I spoke to her over the weekend, she told me that she was so persistent in getting everyone from bureaucrats to small time Basque country farmers to the courses that she went out and held talks in all the little villages in her area to create a buzz or “prepare the soil”, as she reflected. And it worked, with over seventy people in attendance for Eugenio’s workshop in Basque country.
Ana Digon – Founder RegenAG Iberica
Everyone is interested. The RegenAg Iberica team has excelled in lobbying a cause they are wholly devoted to, and now are ready to move to the next stage of their metamorphosis, gaining opportunities with local, state and federal politicians, and gaining the trust of farmers across Spain, who are desperate. As Ana conceded, there deserts are making their way up from Morocco steadily and Spain really doesn’t have much time to turn things around before their arable land is swept away. I have heard of people making uncouth remarks about their particular attention to politicians, but what they have managed to achieve in this feat is unrivalled, while still maintaining their ‘from the ground up’ actions.
And why are they having such success? It could amount to a number of elements, for me it’s particularly them being a young, energetic, multi-faceted conglomerate that understands and capitalizes on modern capabilities and techniques. Everything from Facebook to having a wonderfully overzealous film team, wasting no time to capture, collect and distribute the information they are gathering. They are willing to sacrifice their other interests in order to further these, in which they have found themselves so courageously loyal to. Pablo Flores Garcia, the administrator on the El Prat course and an ex-student of Papa’s, is only 30 years old, but has managed to have a career as an engineer and then proceed to bravely give up that life in order to realize his dream of having an integrated farm with a group of his friends in Catalunya. The course, his first, was remarkably conducted and efficient, with Eugenio raving to me at the train station on the way out to Madrid, his eyes open wide with approval and excitement for the next stage. Pablo’s success, like the rest of the team, is that he understands how to utilize the skills he has attained from previous careers, cementing the idea that RegenAg is not just about farming, it’s an all inclusive force that oversees and manages every part of life’s attributes.
Pablo Flores Garcia – Founder RegenAG Barcelona (photo RegenAG Barcelona)
And the incentives? Well, don’t get anyone started on those. Following a six hour long political and social conversation with my good friend Joan, while walking through Lleida’s La Mitjana nature reserve, the urgency of change in Spain became all the more clear to me. The state is currently in a desperate state of confusion, with the people suffering more than any media outlet leads us to believe and there is a great anger and frustration already roused within the country, with tried releases having little to no result, bar that of harsher oppression by the pseudo-fascist government. Recognizing this, regenerative agriculture provides a sublimely positive alternative to the current initiatives, with people being able to work themselves to a point of self-reliance and humbled community interdependence, rather than state dependence. Spain’s current desolation is not reflective of the prosperous, passionate and proud place I’ve come to love, but it makes me all the more confident in this new waves capabilities in turning it all around, without falling victim to their governments push for public vulnerability. The Spanish people are not looking for sympathy, they are calling for constructive outcomes and action, so this is the perfect time for something like RegenAg Iberica to integrate itself into the front line in the fight for social, political and environmental change.
So we are all very excited to see what Agricultura Regenerativa Iberica can achieve next. As I said, from Day 1, we have had complete and utter faith in this land and it’s people’s ability to envisage an alternative and make it a reality, unparalleled by any other world community I’ve seen. Judging from last nights discussions out in El Prat, where all the different people divided into their different regions to plot the next round, I proudly envision a formulation of what is to be their magnum opus in the Regenerative Revolution.
I’d like to leave you with an analogy that Joan presented to me today. “The bank situation in Spain. It’s like if you bought a grocery store, and when the grocery store profited, you reaped the rewards, but then when the grocery store lost stock, you went to the customers and said, you have to pay for this lost stock. I’m not willing to pay for the banks lost stock.” So, lets boycott the grocery store and just focus on the farmers market!