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Permaculture in North Eastern Spain

                        


Joined: Jan 31, 2011
Posts: 4
Hello guys, finally managed to figure out how to activate my account-hurrah!

I would just like to know if anyone knows of any Permies in North Eastern Spain, Tarragona area of Southern Catalonia. I am thinking of buying some land in the area and would like to know if there will be any friendly folk for me to learn from over there.

Thank You!
                                                      


Joined: Mar 22, 2011
Posts: 2

Hi!

http://foro.fuentedepermacultura.org/

You can find permaculture people from catalunia here. Do you speak spanish or catalan?

saludos.

robo rosie


Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 21
Hi Laurie,

I wanted to know if you bought some land in tarragona ? Myself and my partner are currently looking at Fincas in that very area. We will return next weekend 15 - 18 feb and have a whole weekend planned viewing farms.
It would be great to hear from other permies in the area.

all the best
rosie
Jose Reymondez


Joined: Oct 02, 2012
Posts: 131
Location: Galicia, Spain Zone 9
    
    2
There's actually a Permaculture Institute in Tarragona, I am going to be there for the next two months. If you want I can let you know what they have planted there and see about local permie contacts.


Why work hard when god made so many mongongo nuts? - !Kung

The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man - Murray Bookchin

C'est drôle comme les gens qui se croient instruits éprouvent le besoin de faire chier le monde.-Boris Vian

El hombre es la naturaleza que toma conciencia de sí misma -Elisée Reclus
robo rosie


Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 21
Hi Jose

many thanks for the reply !
yea I would be glad of any information about the Institute in Tarragona.
Local contacts are always good to learn and if you know of any rural b&bs in the area as we will be travelling there for weekends untill we find a place of our own.
I know there are lots of places on the web but Im so into learning the permaculture way that that is our preference.
thanks again Jose

regards
rosie
Joan Perez


Joined: Nov 19, 2011
Posts: 11
Hi, there is a place where they do permaculture courses in Monsant, Tarragona:

http://permaculturamontsant.wordpress.com/

They appeared sometime ago in the spanish TV:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-wIC40C0gA

Also I'm following an interesting blog of a couple of homesteaders doing organic agriculture in the southern catalonia area; I don't thing thet are doing permaculture but it's still quite interesting:

http://aventurasenlapalmadebre.blogspot.com.es/

Although the english knowledge is getting better in the youngsters; I thing that knowing Spanish or Catalan it's quite an advantatge if you want to live in the area.



PD: I live in the Barcelona Area, north of Tarragona. I'm interested in the permaculture and organic agriculture and homesteading; but at the moment I'm just reading about it.
robo rosie


Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 21
Hi Joan ,
many thanks for yoiur reply and links , great to see the courses offered.
I et yoiur point about being able to speak Spanish and eventually catalonian, Im busy learning spanish altough Im impatient !!
my partner speaks spanish so that helps as we look for the right farm to buy and get our life started in the beautiful catalonian countyside.
we will go again for the weekend of 15 march to see more fincas and hopefully find the right one.
Untill my spanish is up and running Im doomed to check everything o ut in english
thanks again
rosie
Adrian Kowal


Joined: Mar 09, 2012
Posts: 4
Location: west London and SW France
Hi all,

My partner Corinne and I are looking to set up an intentional eco-community in Matarranya, just on the southern boarder with Catalunia. We are moving in early June and already have a small network of like-minded people involved in sustainability and permaculture in the area from previous trips.

Please get in touch if you are interested...its always good to collaborate and share!

Adrian


Adrian Kowal
Lover of Nature, Health and Happiness
robo rosie


Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 21
Hi Adrian,
we are still looking for a piece of land in catalonia and it takes a bit of effort as we live in Amsterdam !
Its nice to know there are some other people interested in Permaculture and indeed to start a net work.
I hope to update soon with a property and a plan to get from teh city to the countryside.
keep in touch
ro
David Vidal


Joined: Sep 29, 2013
Posts: 9
Location: Catalonia
Hey, another Catalan here. It's getting more common to find local initiatives related to permaculture and specially biologic agriculture over here. However, I still see the general permaculture conception too much close to some social movements (which I'm also part of, so it's a mere observation, not a critique). So in many gatherings we do, we often say ironically that each of us is part of too many initiatives at once, and that we should individually concentrate our efforts in few things and do them better, instead of trying to take too many things and sometimes not being able to have enough time for so much.

I love to go to visit some of these initiatives in my spare time, but I'd really love to see here (and it's not just Catalonia or the rest of the Levant, but in Spain in general and neighboring countries) a kind of grassroots movement involving not just socially-conscious people but instead relying more on some kind of individual entrepreneurship spirit like I can see in many of Permies (like me and my family want to buy a land on X and try to make the most of it, etc). Until that time, there's a huge distance between the dream and reality which is far too wide for many of us.

I think the moment of truth will come when we can reach this point where you can find individuals involved in community experiences like those you can find on the links user Joan Pérez posted above, for example, but supported by tens of thousands of individual families spread on the territory and being able to get a living in whatever permaculture activities they do - and not just performing courses, please, which is great for newcomers but it sometimes feels like a ponzi scheme. Anyway, I'm convinced that time will come sooner or later, and I hope to be able to see and to live it.
drine Janssen


Joined: Mar 23, 2014
Posts: 5
Hi there,

After lurking for a bit (now and then), I registered today because I'm really curious about where Robo Rosie and Adrian ended up... we're about to move (later this year) to the Matarranya area too.
robo rosie


Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 21
Well Im very happy to say that we’ve found a fantastic piece of land in southern tarargona near the village of rasquera. Its mostly forest and over grown terraces which apparently have not been in use for the last 30 years. This is great as we can see how the land has been evolving on its own.
There are some buildings and they will need to be completely renovated and since it will take a long time for the building licences to go through local councils we expect to move there end of 2015. So we visit the land regularly to make sure we’re not dreaming and that the little corner of paradise is really ours and to make plans how to set it up.
Its great to have some time on our hands to set things up in a good way but the waiting is really the hardest part, we just want to get there and get started !!

We had signed up for the permaculture Design course in the Pyrenees in July which has a great reputation and close to the area where we will live.
Check it here :
http://www.ecodharma.com/courses-events/2014/07/05/permaculture-design-course

we hope to meet like-minded people on the course too and expand on the network

When will you move Sandrine ? what kind of set up will you have there ?
maybe we will be neighbours !!

take care
robo
drine Janssen


Joined: Mar 23, 2014
Posts: 5
We passed the signs to Rasquera a lot, we're often in Mora. We decided against Catalunya because of the difficulty obtaining building licenses over there... but we'll still have to see how ours goes Where are you living at the moment then?
I saw the PDC course in the Pyrenees - unfortunately, as I'm self-employed, I don't feel comfortable leaving my computer behind for more than a few days (I work through the internet, so I'll be able to bring my work with me to Spain). It looks great though!
We are planning to move there after the summer; our house on the finca won't be finished by then (not even sure that they'll even have started), but at least we'll be able to start working on the land while living in a house in the village. We feel the same as you, we can't wait to get started!
At this moment a building permit application is filed for a house with 2,5 guest rooms; we hope to build a few small casitas on the land in order to house more guests and organise themed vacations for small groups of people (yoga retreats, climbing in Els Sports, that kind of thing). We would like to provide our guests with our own fruit and vegetables, eggs and hopefully more... we're still in the designing stage, not sure what to do first. Although I already have a windowsill full of homegrown plants (and a few failing experiments)... We're also still debating which animals to get, apart from chickens What are you planning to do with your land?
If you're in Rasquera at the beginning of May or after September, we should definitely meet up - funny how here in the city everything more than 10 minutes away is really far, while in Spain we easily drive up to an hour to meet our "neighbours"
robo rosie


Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 21
So are you moving to Aragon ? where about ? yes Mora is the biggest town in the area and all the villages in the valley area are beautiful. We stay with a great couple in Bennisenet when we are there.
Have you taken the ferry near Miravet ? it can take one car across the river , well worth doing !

We were also told that planning permission was difficult but its just another hurdle. Actually there are a lot of forums and online groups so many stories circulate both good and bad. We must have some steely determination !!
We will set up a rustic B&B and also hope to feed the guests from our own land. Our idea has been accepted by the local authorities and is in process so onwards and upwards !!

So do you need to renovate the house on the finca ? or will you build a new house ? great that you can move there so soon. ( jealous !! )
We are living in de Haag at the moment, we moved from amsterdam in september. You are also in the Netherlands ?
We have no plans to go to tarragona at the moment but would defiantly love to come visit and compare our very similar journeys.
Take care
robo
drine Janssen


Joined: Mar 23, 2014
Posts: 5
O yes, we're moving to the Matarranya (province of Teruel, in Aragon). To a little village called Lledo, it's close to Horta de San Joan and had a fabulous view of Els Sports...
We haven't taken the ferry to Miravet yet - ended up at there once at night when the ferry wasn't running. Thanks for the tip, I might do it when I'm there in June with a friend!
On our finca, there is only a very small and old almacen - we will be building a completely new house on a somewhat more convenient location - not 100% according to permaculture principles, as it's quite high up the hill and has the very best view, but it has good access and overlooks the biggest part of the land so we can always see what is going on with the vegetable garden or the animals... will you be renovating only? That's what we planned to do at first (either that or building an earthship), but fincas with a ruin on them turned out to be a lot more expensive than fincas with nothing on them, and it's not more expensive to build a new house from scratch, as far as I've seen so far.
Funny, we live in Amsterdam at the moment! My boyfriend is from Amsterdam originally, I'm from Belgium. Are you Dutch as well?
Maciek Muskat


Joined: Apr 01, 2014
Posts: 1
Hi,
It’s good to see many likeminded people moving to this area. Myself and my wife (and our little son) are also interested in Catalunya (rather closer to the Pyrenees) and plan to come down to see the area and fincas at the end of September. My wife speaks Spanish and I would need to dust off this language after years of not using it. We both completed the PDC course, my wife also graduated from organic agriculture and is keen to learn more about the regenerative agriculture. That’s why we go to Sweden http://www.integralpermanence.org/sweden-aug-sept-intern.html, to spend 2 months there and learn practical skills.

Will try to contact you separately to find out more about the search process, prices etc. Take care and all the best!
Maciek

Chris Cross


Joined: Jan 06, 2014
Posts: 10
Popping in here to say that me and around ten friends are looking to buy a property/finca in catalunya within the next year with the goal of being independent.

We are looking to have in excess of 70 000 euros left to prepare the land, build ponds/swales, fix up old buildings, build bungalows/mobile homes for sleeping rooms(here it has to be mentioned that we have people who can operate any equipment we would need, as well as having people of most crafts available to us).

Considering the size of the group, a loan for something like that is very easy to pay off.

We have all lived together for periods of times at one point or another and the group dynamic should not be a problem.

I was wondering if anyone had any input on the budget side of it?

And also, I know building rights can some times be a hassle here, permits dont apply for "mobile homes" do they?
drine Janssen


Joined: Mar 23, 2014
Posts: 5
Lots of places in Spain don't allow "mobile" homes to be placed, unless you've got a permit for a camping site (or, in the case of the village we're moving to, unless you've got a building permit and use the home as temporary housing). Not sure about the law on mobile homes in Catalunya, but it is the most strict of all parts of Spain I think... In theory it's not allowed to build anything new there, unless you change the destination of the land. That can take a few years though.
Where in Catalunya are you looking? The northern part (Girona) is definitely the most expensive. If you're not too attached to Catalunya, it might be worth it to look right over the border - our experience is that it's easier to start a building project there...
Chris Cross


Joined: Jan 06, 2014
Posts: 10
Looking mainly in southern Tarragona. Will not be leaving Catalunya, far to attached. But thanks for the tip.

If it´s advertised as "you can build another building on it" does that mean it has building permissions? And also, if it´s a secluded place and all your going to put up is a tiny cabin that matches the local style, will anyone actually care?

How about shaping the enviroment, say for making ponds etc, or tearing up part of an olive field thats on the property to put in something else. Is this all allowed?
drine Janssen


Joined: Mar 23, 2014
Posts: 5
My experience is that it pays to be really careful with what's advertised; we have been told several downright lies by real estate people trying to sell a piece of land. If there really is a building permit for the land, this means you'll have to build the building specified in the permit. However there is a difference between a real building permit, and a paper from the town hall saying that they would allow something to be built on the land.
Building a shed is usually not a problem, you only need permission from town hall for that. I know a few people who built a shed first and (after it was signed off by authorities) converted it into a home; most of them are still living happily in their not-so-legal houses, local authorities usually don't care. One family was found out by the forestal, they had to demolish their home.
But if you want to set up a business, you could give the "changing the destination of the land" idea some thought; especially if you're going to do something with tourism and if you've got local authorities on your side, there's a good chance they will grant you that and you will be allowed a legal camp site.
Making ponds is ok (check with town hall wether you need permission for it, I think they want to know things like that); also we've been told that you're allowed to take away cultivated plants and trees (like olive trees) to substitute them with something else. You're not allowed to take out the "wild" flora (bushes & pine trees mostly) without permission though.
We love Catalunya as well but have chosen to buy something a few hundred meters outside of its borders - less windmills, more possibilities, and locals speak Catalan anyway
Chris Cross


Joined: Jan 06, 2014
Posts: 10
Thanks for some great advice!

We already have lawyers here for different reasons and one of us has a family member working as a real estate agent in Spain, so we might be able to procure some good advice there.

I´m excited to get down to some real planning for this and actually going around looking at places.
Will probably end up with 10 people and a total budget anywhere from 110 000 to 150 000 euro budget so hopefully we can get a really good start considering we will have a lot
of craftsmen helping and machine operators.
 
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