From AlVelAl we are developing several projects based on the 4 returns philosophy. Some of these are already in progress while others will be launched soon.
1. RESTORATION OF NATURAL ZONES
In 2017 AlVelAl designs a plan for the restoration of the territory's ecosystems based on the 4 Returns model, in 3 Zones at 20 Years. A plan that includes several actions, both in private properties and in public forests, with the intention of creating an East-West axis that vertebrates the AlVelAl territory and serves to connect the natural spaces located to the south and north of it and at the same time to connect with the natural ecological corridors that already exist such as the Rivers Guardal, Castríl, Guadiana menor, Fardes... and some of the existing Wadis in the south of this axis. Taking advantage, for this purpose, of the natural areas of farms of agricultural partners who implement techniques of Regenerative Agriculture and cooperation with the various administrations responsible for the environment (Andalusian Government, City Councils, Hydrographic Confederations, etc...)
Situated in the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park, this natural space has a unique configuration. Currently on its southern slope and due to management and practices not very respectful, the high slope, sunshine and rainfall regime typical of this area of the Iberian Peninsula, shows a fairly primitive state of development of natural vegetation, with lax spartal, thyme xerophytic, some remnants of rosemary bushes and genista and few relict elements of the potential climate vegetation (oaks, junipers and Aleppo pines), in addition to severe erosive processes that in some areas reach the level of the bedrock.
Through this project, small albarradas have been built with local materials to improve water capture and a plantation of 50,000 trees of native species, resistant to drought, has been carried out to enrich the plant community and increase biodiversity, attracting pollinators, birds and other species.
A project that is being made possible thanks to the collaboration of public entities such as the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park and private entities such as Ecosia; and that in 2020 is going to allow the execution of a third phase with the planting of 30,000 new trees.
This public property is located in the same Sierra María- Los Vélez Natural Park, this natural space is known for housing one of the Natural Monuments of Andalusia in the province of Almeria, La Sabina Milenaria. A Sabina Albar with between 600 and 1,000 years of life.
The project we are carrying out in this natural area, affected by excessive livestock use in the past, consists of planting 200,000 seeds, manually and by drone; with the aim of helping the plant colonization with species from the existing community, facilitating the genetic persistence of existing individuals.
Research is fundamental to understanding the medium and long-term results of the soil and landscape regenerative farming techniques we promote. Both their impact on the natural environment of the farms and on their natural and economic productivity and sustainability. That is why we have several lines of research and experimentation.
We have a long-term experimental almond tree farm in Regenerative Agriculture. A property that tries to serve as model for any type of production of the culture of the almond-tree and, in last instance, to seat the bases of the different managements from Regenerative Agriculture, where each one of the techniques and implemented managements are validated with results. Offering the possibility of sharing knowledge and experiences with farmers, technicians, professionals and companies, among others.
The objectives of this experimental farm are the implementation and evaluation of the different approaches, to compare different methods for the improvement of soil organic matter in permanent crops, to improve soil fertility and prevent erosion, to diagnose and advise on the management of organic matter content, to promote conservation and carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, to improve biodiversity and to increase pollinators, optimising the use of fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture, promoting regenerative agriculture in organic farming systems, improving the economic performance of farms by increasing their market share and agricultural diversification, restoring and preserving the state of the landscape, promoting innovation, cooperation developing the knowledge base in rural areas; improving the competitiveness of primary products by integrating them into the agri-food chain through value addition and facilitating the supply and use of by-products, waste, residues and other non-food raw materials to boost the development of the bio-economy.
To this end, different tests are being carried out
- Evaluation of the effect of dryland vegetation cover on almond tree development versus tillage
- Alternative crops with lavandin and saffron
- Comparison of different long term soil management to improve soil fertility; comparing management with green manure, compost, pellets and tillage
Operative group 4 Returns, with a duration of two years, aims at innovation, cooperation and development of a knowledge base between scientific communities and rural areas; through the implementation of regenerative techniques in soils of the Altiplano de Granada, Los Vélez, Alto Almanzora and Guadix regions. Strengthening the links between agriculture, food production and research and innovation; and promoting learning and training in the agricultural sector.
All this with very specific objectives such as improving the economic performance of almond farms, promoting innovation, cooperation and knowledge development as well as synergies between the different actors, creating networks of almond producers and others related to the sector to improve competitiveness, restoring preservation improving biodiversity and landscape, improving efficiency of resources such as water, soil management and waste by-products; improving carbon capture of the agricultural sector and developing new opportunities.
"Assessment of water use efficiency (WUE) of ecological almond trees in semi-arid conditions with vegetation cover and green manure" for two consecutive years 2019 and 2020 in collaboration with the IFAPA-Camino centre in Purchil.
EFFECTIVENESS OF SOME PRODUCTS AGAINST FUNGAL DISEASES
"In vitro" evaluation of the effectiveness of different products against the main fungal diseases of the almond tree cultivation in the AlVelAl territory.
ALMOND QUALITY STUDY
Continuation of the "Study of the quality of the almond by means of different managements", that already counts on its second year of work.
3. 4 RETURNS BUSINESS
A key project for AlVelAl, which helps to raise the economic level of the region, creates a positive outlook for the future and generates confidence in the Commonland- AlVelAl initiative for eco-social restoration.
The aim of this company is to process and sell high quality almonds and other products produced on AlVelAl's regenerative farms.
With the collaboration of producers and experts, this is presented as a viable and innovative economic alternative to current practices that degrade the landscape. This project can be extrapolated to other products that are being and wi be worked on, such as olive oil, wine, honey, Segureño lamb, aromatic herbs and fruit and vegetables.
In the same way that La Almendrehesa was created, AlVelAl is already working on the implementation of a business case 4 Returns based on the extraction of oil from olive groves in which regenerative techniques for soil and landscape are implemented.
We are working on the revaluation of our oldest olive groves through the production of oil from hundred-year-old olive trees, thus protecting those specimens that are most alive and at risk of disappearing.
A project that already has a first limited edition of oil as a commercial test for the launch of the company during 2020, under the name Habitat.
EN ARMONIA: Prevent/stop/brake erosion
Improvements in farm design often require earthworks to improve water collection. We need a cheap and simple trenching machine.
Trenches can have a great impact on the landscape, as they are a way to reduce erosion, increase infiltration and improve fertility.
A project supported by AlVelAl through the 4 Returns Fund.
In AlVelAl we are aware that in order to generate a change, we must mobilize society through training and education with the aim of directly influencing one of the greatest challenges facing our territory, rural depopulation.
To this end, we organize workshops on the various agricultural techniques for regenerating soil and landscape and other traditional crops of the territory, sustainable, traditional and innovative cuisine that bet on local products, and other days of participation to share the vision of the territory that we have.
In the same way, it is necessary to act from childhood through education; that is why we collaborate with the Landscape Foundation with the aim of generating a cultural change and supporting the social, economic and environmental restoration of the territory, through educational, social and environmental initiatives focused on citizen participation, the transmission of local landscape values and the need for rural development through sustainable and respectful projects from the commitment to the defence of Human Rights, social cohesion, justice and peace.
5. RETURN OF INSPIRATION
SOUNDSCAPE RESTORATION: Identify the key characteristics of the soundscape
We are collaborating with Sound Matters who use art in an innovative way to ensure that the land will be restored by means of the 4 returns philosophy.
This new creation can identify the factors that make a region and its people vulnerable or resilient to an economic, social and political process. Soundscapes can be recorded at different scales from the sound of the soil to the sound of social, economic and political processes in the region.
ALVELAL 8000: Sculptures with Life
In 2018 this pioneering and inclusive project of landscape and socio-economic restoration began through a new business case 4 Returns that will be managed by APAFA. AlVelAl 8000 consists of reforestation with native aromatic plants in the El Tomillar area in Vélez Blanco, located on the slopes of La Solana in La Muela de Montalviche.
A project that brings together nature and art through Land Art, as the plantation has been carried out by simulating two of the most emblematic figures of La Cueva de Los Letreros, which is over 8,000 years old and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, namely the Indalo and La Línea.
6. DIFFUSION OF HERITAGE AND TRADITIONS
DAY OF RURAL PRIDE
On April 6 and 7, 2019, we celebrated the Day of Rural Pride in Serón, a celebration to enhance the dignity of the countryside, highlighting the importance of the rural world in the lives of people and society in general. A meeting of neighbours of the villages in which we will reflect on who we are, where we are and where we are going. A celebration organized by the association AlVelAl and the Savia Foundation with the collaboration of the town council of Serón and its neighbours.
ROUTES 4 RETURNS
An activity that aims to enhance the value of our environment, making known the municipalities that make up our territory through the enhancement of their traditions, natural heritage, cultural and historical. The next AlVelAl Route will be the Ruta del Estraperlo, the one that is already being worked on
The promotion and dissemination of knowledge is key to the empowerment of the population. Through the AlVelAl Colloquiums we intend to disseminate knowledge, putting in value those traditions related to our geography and natural resources. Up to now, there have been four AlVelAl Colloquia held.
I Coloquio AlVelAl: Una única realidad geográfica.
II Coloquio AlVelAl: Agua, sociedad, economía y medioambiente en el territorio AlVelAl.
III Coloquio AlVelAl: El renacimiento de los castillos señoriales: Planificación, gestión y estrategias.
IV Coloquio AlVelAl: Paisaje, agricultura e identidad territorial.
National and International examples of landscape regeneration from agricultural practices
The AlVelAl territory is rich in natural and cultural heritage, home to the first settlers of Europe. Today, the local society has come together to restore its soils and landscape, to enhance its productive, natural and historical-cultural resources and to make this territory more resilient and prosperous for future generations
Together with the TUI Care Foundation we are carrying out a project whose aim is to connect producers of ecological and regenerative agriculture with the tourist resorts on the coast of south-east Spain and the marketing of value-added products.
To this end, the implementation of regenerative soil and landscape practices in the area's crops is encouraged through advice and workshops to obtain products of a differentiated high quality.
In the same way, the local product is valued through the use and visibility in local restaurants, betting on a cuisine that combines tradition and innovation made with products of zero kilometer; through advice and training workshops.
Eight supply chains will be created for the marketing of soil and landscape restoration products: almond, oil, wine, honey, aromatic herbs, Seguran lamb and fruit and vegetables.
A project that is also committed to sustainable tourism and agrotourism, organizing visits to the farms so that tourists can learn about a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of farming.