Earth Care

In 2016, my partner and I joined an eco-project called Vegan Hills in South-West Portugal. This initiative aims to regenerate 103ha of land, and we got 2ha of private share to work on. Unfortunately, most of the land in South-West Portugal has been managed in an unsustainable way for decades, resulting in biodiversity loss, leaving only a few dominant plant species, some of which are invasive and highly flammable.

Not surprisingly, the land of Vegan Hills suffered a massive fire which struck South-West of Portugal on 19/06/2020. The fire started in a nearby village Vilarinha and rapidly spread towards the South coast, turning peoples’ properties, farms and forests, including Vegan Hills, into ashes, affecting 2,200ha of land. Almost 500 firemen fought the ferocious fire for three days and nights, but Vegan Hills completely burned down already on the first day of the fires. This disaster brought Vegan Hills land to even more critical condition with a real danger of desertification.

Regardless, we still maintain our objective to protect the land from desertification by reintroducing the local species of plants, turning it from dry bushland into green valleys and forests, and creating a home for wildlife.

The best solution to this problem is water retention. That means using proven methods of sustainability and permaculture – water must be captured and impregnated thoroughly into the ground during the rainy seasons.

After consulting with permaculture specialists and hiring people to do urgent necessary work, we dug the swales to capture the rainwater runoff. In addition, we spread hay bio-mass and sowed the seeds of various annual plants.

After a few years of effort, it is heartwarming to see how the land is recovering, but we still have to continue with the following stages of our permaculture plan – plant the shrubs and trees. We are using our income to support our work to protect the land from erosion and already have invested almost 7000eu.

However, we still will have to invest more to buy shrubs and trees. If you like our initiative – please donate to help us to take further steps forward in re-foresting our land, creating a home for wildlife, spreading our values for future generations and empowering a positive change.