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Newsletter #8

Important step for AlVelAl: La Almendrehesa S.L. has been established

After the long process of developing a solid company to commercialise AlVelAl products, La Almendrehesa, the name of the company, has been found through the compromise of 21 members. More than one year ago some AlVelAl members came up with the idea of leading a project to increase the added value of the local products, especially the high quality almonds from the dry steppe. And now it is real. With the support from Commonland, AlVelAl is bringing to life the restoration of the Altiplano landscape.


La Almendrehesa is committed to landscape restoration, with its clients providing high quality, and with its farmers through a fair trade relationship. It adopted the 4 return business model from Commonland (Return of Inspiration, Return of Social Capital, Return of Natural Capital and Return of Financial Capital) and promotes a regular networking with local companies such as Almendras Barnés, La Sabina Milenaria SAT, BioArtesa, BioCrisara, Aldeas Infantiles de Granada, or the AlVelAl Association. This company wants to stimulate the organic production of the region based on the Good Common Economy and promoting a real sustainable production. The first activity will be getting to the market the regenerative almonds, high quality Pepita de Oro® and the other types, while continue to grow with other products from our landscapes such as cereals, aromatic plants, honey, wine, oil and Segureño lamb.

La Almendrehesa will also be a springboard to organise activities that join local people, for example, to facilitate the process of buying common machinery or organising workshops. These efforts will be focused on promoting regenerative agriculture and the possibilities that it offers to the almond farming. Some the experts involved are already working in a certification for all these products, including the Participatory Guarantee Systems.

La Almendrehesa

The AlVelAl area takes up to 600.000 has. Due to characteristics of the land and the number of almond groves, the integrated productive ecosystem aroused as almendrehesa, were almond trees, Segureño lamb, honeybees, aromatic plants and vegetation cover coexist and create an enriched habitat. According to our business model we will gather up to 50.000 kg of almonds to test at Spanish and international markets.


Regenerative almonds are the main business lin during next years; these consist on:

– Almonds coming from farms where the farmers are carrying out regenerative agriculture and have the highest quality, named as 5º Return® Line.

– Almonds belonged to Organic Line, not necessarily from regenerative farms.

In a second stage the company is planning to install its own selection and packaging processing lines to optimize the whole process and increase the sustainability in a long term way.

II AlVelAl-Estraperlo Route

AlVelAl Association together with Commonland and Chirivel, Cúllar and Oria Councils organizes the I Ruta AlVelAl – II Ruta del Estraperlo, an activity to bring together different towns in AlVelAl area. The route will take place from 28th to 30th of October. First day participants will go through the main estraperlo path, historically used to avoid the confiscation of products brought from Almanzora and Chirivel. From this last town to the south, it is possible to see the cereal steppe with sprinkled ancient oaks. Going across a natural path in Sierra de Oria and its riparian formations, first stage finalizes at the Villa de Oria, a well conserved historic town with a rich medieval heritage. The second stage goes by Matián (Cúllar) to Sierra de la Hinojora y Rambla through an old cattle path, and returns to Cúllar again to finally contemplate the Big Baza Depression.

Contact the link Ruta Estraperlo to join or consult the whole program.

4 returns fund

How to transform degraded lands in Andalucia? What are the agricultural practices that contribute more to the ecosystem and community restoration? People in AlVelAl are already thinking about that and developing 4 returns business cases in the region. To support this initiative, Commonland has launch the 4 returns fund, which provides loans up to 5,000€ to high impact regenerative projects. The objective is contributing to the restoration of the high steppe Altiplano creating sustainable companies and encouraging the entrepreneurship of the region. AlVelAl will manage the fund together with Commonland and any member of the association could apply for it. Both organisations have developed loans conditions to facilitate the acceptance.

Important dates: Fund was launched on August 8th and applications will be received until 31st of October.

How to apply

Forms have to be requested, Please, properly fill in the forms and return to the same contact.

Conditions of the 4 return fund

-The business case has a direct 4 returns impact on the Altiplano plateau, for example: by introducing farm practices that restore soil or water quality or create job opportunities, and serve as inspiration for other farmers and entrepreneurs.

-The 4 returns fund is accessible for AlVelAl members.

-Applicants should be registered at the Chamber of Commerce and a copy of the registration certificate plus a copy of the ID (of the owner) of the applicant should be provided.

-Members may apply individually for a loan up to EUR 5,000 euro.

-Joint applications are welcomed, and may exceed the 5,000 euro maximum as long as the financing requested does not exceed 5,000 euro per member.

Please indicate the lead-member in the application.

-Applications can be made between August 8th and October 31st 2016.

-The 4 returns fund provides direct (co-)financing through the provision of a loan with a repayment obligation at the end of the 5-year period. Early repayment of the principal amount in minimal installments of 1,000 euro can be made at no cost. The annual interest rate entails 2,5% per annum and interest needs to be paid at the end of each calendar year.

-A brief report on the annual and cumulative 4 returns realized through the loan needs to be submitted at the end of each calendar year and upon repayment of the loan.

The value of experience: almond groves in Caravaca

Alfonso Chico de Guzman, a member of AlVelAl, shares his experience with his plantation in Caravaca, Northeast Murcia. There, he tested several varieties and techniques. From the findings, the varieties that performed better, from best to worse are:

1.- Laureanne/Avijor

2.- Antoñeta

3.- Guara

4.- Belona

5.- Mardía

6.- Penta

7.- Felipa

Some of the general findings are:

  • Protecting the soil to catch water before the plantation has been key for success. This way the land absorbs humidity and profits from the summer and autumn precipitations.

  • Also, the best results were obtained when planting the almond trees in a hole made with a trench digger, and filling the hole with compost and 200 grams of ecological fertilizer 5-5-5

  • It is better to plant the 3 top varieties in order to have optimal results.

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