Newsletter #10

January 25, 2017

Huge success for the I AlVelAl Route-II Estraperlo Route

The day started with big smiles and lively talks, 114 participants lived full of joy 3 days of activities and experiences shared in a harmonious group. This activity is part of the project “AlVelAl Routes” aiming to bringing together the 5 counties that shape AlVelAl. We will do that through programmed walks and events in different towns to get in contact with the rich natural, cultural, ethnographic, and gastronomic heritage. The idea was firstly performed by Horstmann Foundation in 1998 to join the natural parks of Castril, Cazorla and Sierra de María –Los Vélez living the memories of the post-war period and theestraperlo phenomenon. Music was the core element during this journey coming from diverse styles, awareness all of us of the high traditional value we have. Collaboration between the 3 Councils, Chirivel, Cúllar and Oria was crucial to develop this activity with a completely confidence and good organization. Participants could enjoy traditional meals and were offered a shepherd-bag full of local product donated from local businesses. AlVelAl want to encourage young people to lead an eco-cultural business case based on these activities.

Increasing the value of cultural heritage in AlVelAl

The AlVelAl commission for Culture, Traditions and Tourism is now compounded by two groups of work: Heritage Value and the Educational Cabinet. These both groups aimed to promote the cultural values of the region are not restricted to AlVelAl territory itself but are extended to Albacete and Jaén also. During the last meeting were agreed the agenda for next months, i.e. the II AlVelAl Route in spring 2017 under the aromatic plants subject. The II AlVelAl Colloquium for Water, Society, Economy and History. The group is also working on the educational aspects at schools and on the declaration of AlVelAl territory as Unesco World Heritage Site. As they have expressed, this is the beginning of a future institution in charge of manage all the cultural aspects of the region from an integrative perspective.

AlVelAl presents its work in the Northwest of Murcia

AlVelAl Association met last week in Cehegín Business Incubator with different agents from the area interested in knowing more about the goals and functioning of the Association. The manager Elvira Marín explained to more than 20 people the origin of AlVelAl, the situation of the degraded landscapes and the opportunities this land is bringing us. She informed about the actions taken in Capacitation, Fundraising, Business and Farming Advice and Research on Almendrehesa. Frank Ohlenschlaeger and Txema Ventura, members of Commonland Foundation team in Spain, explained the 4 returns business model: return on Inspiration, return on Social Capital, return on Natural capital and return on Financial Capital. They presented the Almendrehesa Company just created, committed to regenerative agriculture and commercialization of almendrehesa system products. Alfonso Chico de Guzmán, a local young farmer and entrepreneur, member of AlVelAl Board, exposed successful cases of other farmers that are changing their models into a more sustainable agriculture while restoring landscape.

AlVelAl faces: Catalina Casanova Arcas

Catalina was born in Vélez-Blanco, she studied Law in Granada and worked on the farms in summer, what allow her to pay her own studies. Her family has always worked the farm and like many people from the region, they have been migrants.  Once in Spain she studied a MSc in Prevention of Risk at Work and focused her career on agricultural advice, what allowed her to always develop her work at Los Vélez.Integrated into the daily village life, she took guitar lessons and entered into the Grupo Folklórico de Los Vélez and in La Cuadrilla de Ánimas de Vélez Blanco. This last group was created in 1636 being an example of the cultural maintenance of the village. She is currently working as teacher at the courses for new farmers, what has let her know the worries, fails, but also the motivations and new possibilities of many people to come back to the field. She has now her own office for agricultural management and advice. For Catalina, AlVelAl represents a valorisation of rural traditions and way of life. “It makes visible the hard work of many unknown people in our society”.

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