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©2020 by BackToLaTierra

Permaculture

In response to your news about the drought in Andalucia, the following: We will probably no longer be able to bring about climate change in one or two generations.

 

But that is no reason not to try, many of the possible solutions can also have a positive effect on our living environment in the shorter term.

 

You quote the annual climate summits, which are indeed about details and not about a causal solution to the problem. Unfortunately, we cannot expect long-term planning from politics, so we have to develop initiatives ourselves, individuals and companies.

 

In an attempt to do our bit on a small scale and to live more with nature instead of at the expense of it, we are working on our 4000 m2 piece of land in Mijas to build a food forest, a garden where edible plants and trees are interspersed with supporting and native vegetation in order to achieve sustainable, regenerative food production. We collect rainwater in so-called swales through which the water is stored in the soil and we recycle our waste water through a plant filter before using it for the garden. And we are relatively normal people, no hippies.

 

Anyone with a garden can take these kinds of measures and companies (and perhaps the government) can do it on a larger scale.

 

A system change is needed but it is always preceded by smaller initiatives.

 

In the eighties in the town of Davis in California, a whole residential area was laid out like this. Despite less rainfall than here, it has turned into a lush neighborhood, with huge reductions in water use and residents get up to 70% of their food from the gardens and streets.

 

What we need are project developers who think of their grandchildren. They are welcome to come and see how we can.

sustainable/regenerative projects at back to la tierra
Our future forrest garden in August 2019 in the blistering heat of the August sun
In the last couple of years we have developed some projects that make our life at Back to La Tierra more sustainable or even regenerative. You will find a short explanation of these projects below on this page.
We are also building a food forest/edible garden. It is a multiple year project and the basics have to be in order before we can starting plant trees, bushes, groundcover etc. Water catchment, landscaping  and soil building need to be done first. After all it's all about design. The better we plan and design, the less we will have to correct when the plants are in. 
Our mainframe is almost ready. There are 2 zones that still need more landscaping, but in the other zones we will start planting in september 2019.

In January 2020, the local newspaper in Malaga reported that 2019 was the driest year since there were registrations (1942).You can read the article here. Our letter to the response is below.

projects

masonry heater

 

We built a 2500 kg masonry heater (aka tile stove or finoven). In wintertime we burn 10-15 kg of wood in the morning. It heats the whole upper floor of the house. It is a very effective way of burning wood and the radiation heat is very comfortable.

reed bed filter

We are not connected to any sewage. A reed bed filter is ideal to treat grey and black water (unfortunately, we can't separate them).

After being cleaned by the plants, the water can be re-used.

the ochre room

swales

 

In the South of Spain water is scarce. In Mijas, where we live we get aprox. 630 mm of water per square meter per year, which is not too bad. Nevertheless, in order not to be independent of irrigation, we try to catch the water and save it in the soil by swales on contour.

swimming pond

 

Chlorinated swimming water is not clean but dead. Natural living water is full of micro-organisms and waterinsects that in symbiosis with the water plants keep it clean. It gives lovely soft swimming water.

the sienna room
The Sienna Room

The Sienna Room

hügelkultur

 

An ancient growing technique was reintoduced as Hügelkultur ("Hill-culture"). Wood is burried under a layer of soil and starts to decompose. It adds nutrients, water and heath to the soil and improves growing condition of plants.

We started building one but will need time to finish.

Terrace in front of the rooms leading to pool and garden

chicken tractor

 

Chicken are useful in many ways. One of them is the clearance of unwanted weeds. In combination with a movable coop they will happily remove the ground cover and fertilize the land in one spot and a week later in another.

Pool

Garden and Pond

Garden in Winter