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Leaving the city and returning to the land, for love

Changing the mentality of their parents, who were reluctant to accept the prospect of five years with no profit in order to convert to wholly organic production, was just one of the mountains that the Mariano couple had to climb. They had already conquered other steep slopes. The first was when they decided to swap the comfort of the capital Lisbon to return to their roots in Macedo de Cavaleiros, after an extremely violent robbery perpetrated on the parents of 47-year-old Raquel Mariano, a theologian who has become a farmer since she returned to her starting point in 2012. Giving …

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Heritage & Nature

Monchique is well worth a visit. Because people who keep climbing up the ancient cobblestone street in the village generally have one goal in mind: the old Franciscan convent destroyed in the earthquake on 1st November, 1755. On the home straight, the cobblestones turn into a footpath that leads to the ruin, on which the word “FAMILY” is written and in which the family of Vidaul Gonçalves lives. In the middle of the convent, between the crumbling walls, they have put up a fence and have both a chicken run and a fine vegetable garden, which feeds them well. Hikers …

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Jaime Ferreira | Agrobio

There will be a new kind of agriculture in Portugal within ten years Founded 31 years ago, the Portuguese Organic Agriculture Association (Agrobio) was a pioneer in the dissemination of organic farming in Portugal and its projects have sought to break down barriers at the national level. At present, it has 7,500 members, and is the second biggest Portuguese non-governmental organisation in the environmental area. Its activities are aimed at farmers and consumers who prioritise food quality, health, the environment, and the defence of agricultural practices that are healthy, socially responsible and fair. Agrobio’s president, Jaime Ferreira, unveiled some new …

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Fátima Torres | Quinta Seis Marias

Forty-six-year-old Fátima Torres is an organic farmer at Quinta Seis Marias. This year, she is celebrating its 10th anniversary with her four employees and one trainee; the farm stands on six hectares of land in Sargaçal near Lagos. ECO123 visited her and interviewed her there. After studying business administration, you should really be managing a company in Lisbon. But you became a tax adviser and then a farmer. Why? When my father died, I took over the conventional farm and converted it to organic farming. I put my heart and soul into running it and I can’t count the hours …

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Traditional Seeds, eleven years preserving

Every minute, a small farm disappears in the European Union (BEDE). One reason is the pressure of monocultures as a result of the devaluing of the rural world. This disaster is all the more serious because, along with the farms, the traditional seeds that families have been cultivating for generations are disappearing. The only parallel with this situation is climate change, aggravated by the loss of agricultural biodiversity. This decline started with the Green Revolution in the mid-1950s, and is continuing at an accelerated pace, now with the serious threat of genetically modified seeds. We have received good news from …

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Being happy, the human side of climate protection

What do people need to be happy? Recently, this question has not only been of interest to psychologists and Hollywood directors, but also to ecologists, economists and climate activists. Because – and this has been proved – happy people live more environmentally friendly lives. Only people who feel empty inside, only those who are unhappy or who are not at ease with what they have and are, have to drive big cars, go on long journeys or wear expensive brands of clothes. By contrast, happy people consume fewer resources and pollute fewer seas; fewer forests have to be felled for …

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Zero emissions

Electric vehicles offer a superior driving experience. With fast, smooth acceleration, an ultra-quiet environment and lower emissions of polluting gases, their use is becoming inevitable. The programme Mobi.E, started in 2010, promoted the use of electric cars, and, according to ACAP at the start of 2016, an increase of 2,149 vehicles was seen, and the trend is upwards. The MOBI.E network has 1,300 normal charging points and 50 rapid charging points in locations with public access in mainland Portugal.     I drive… a VEECO RT João Oliveira, aged 63, works in IT and on the building of electric vehicles in …

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Gengibre e Canela, Ayurveda on your plate

Lunchtime buffet from Monday to Saturday. There are always two dishes, one vegan, the other lacto-vegetarian. I was there on a Thursday and tried out the broccoli soup. Then I put together a mixed salad with coriander dressing and followed that with a tasty feijoada with rice. I washed it all down with a juice made of orange, apple, carrot and beetroot. Some people still think that vegan food doesn’t fill you up. What nonsense! Anyone claiming this can either not cook vegan food well, or perhaps still has some way to go in their thinking. The dessert too, a …

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The Marim Environmental Education Centre

EN In the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park (PNRF), you can find the Marim Environmental Education Centre (CEAM). It covers an area of 60 hectares and presents visitors with a concentrated display of fauna, flora and cultural and natural features of the protected area of the Ria Formosa. Set up to be a place for learning about environmental education and for teaching ecological values, it provides visitors with different ways of learning and interacting with their surroundings. One of these is the nature discovery trail. It is about three kilometres long and can be covered with or without …

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Maureen Robertson, “There is vital energy in nature”

Did you know that calendula (marigold) is a plant that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, heals wounds, and has properties that treat psoriasis or female hormonal balance? Or that borage is extremely rich in Omega 3 and effective in the treatment of gout, and respiratory and skin disorders? Are you aware of the beneficial effects of parsley and coriander? Maureen Robertson has devoted her life to the study of plants and, after completing a degree in pharmacology at King’s College, London, she quickly gave up laboratories and the production of medicaments to immerse herself in nature. “Anything that is green …

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