Saturday, October 19, 2019
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Monastery Vallbona

Ruta del Cister

Twenty steps lead up to the second floor of the sandstone stronghold that stands behind metre-thick walls. That’s where the five guest cells of the Catalonian Cistercian monastery Poblet are to be found. Brother Paco, aged 79, alias Francisco Martínez Soria, hands me the key. He shows me the bathroom, broom cupboard and the wall-walk around the monastery. He’s a man of few words: “Singing at one, followed by lunch.” Then he leaves. Bed, desk, chair, shelf, rubbish bin, saint’s image, radiator, desk lamp. Four by two-and-a-half metres. This is where the three-day, 106 km long walk along the Cistercian …

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Pedro Gonçalves

From the land to your table

“We are what we eat” – but this raises an important question. There’s no time any more to seek out what is best, and people shop in hypermarkets as a matter of convenience. This is what lay behind Pedro Gonçalves’s business idea, which he called “Mercearia Bio” (the organic grocery). This is a concept based on an online shop, where you can look and order from the comfort of your home, but it also focuses on proximity between producer, distributor and consumer. All of this means that you can be just one click away from having certificated organic produce delivered …

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Movimento Sementes Livres

Freedom for seeds?

On 6th May, the European Parliament approved the law (1) which defines the prohibition of seed swapping, with the exception of private individuals and companies with fewer than ten In Portugal, the initiative has not been well received by everyone. The “Seed Sovereignty Campaign” aims to alert not only farmers but also the general public to the implications of this law which aims to patent seeds. Lanka Horstink is the coordinator of this movement, part of the environmental organisation GAIA, one of the fifty associations which recently went to Brussels to demand the right to sow, swap and reproduce seeds …

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surfing the nation

Surfing The Nations

If there is one person who takes the maxim “think globally, act locally” literally, it is Tom Bauer, founder member of the NGO Surfing The Nations (STN). Based in Hawaii and founded in 1997, STN allowed Tom to combine his two passions: surfing and humanitarian work. The aim is to counteract the idea that surfing is something done by egomaniacs obsessed with personal fulfilment. But also to motivate practitioners to go out of their comfort zone and provide hope and change for local people who are in need of both of these things. But exactly how can surfing contribute to …

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Arroz Integral

A forgotten super food

At present, when people think about rice, it is not often in its whole-grain form. However, since the beginnings of agriculture it was whole-grain cereals that traditionally formed the basis of human nutrition. It was only when the rate and patterns of consumption changed that the factor of convenience forced a change in eating habits, with refined foodstuffs regularly being used. Whole-grain rice is one of the most complete and balanced foodstuffs, promoting the stability of insulin and glucose levels in the blood. The fibre it contains can also contribute to the lowering of cholesterol (1) and the risk of …

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Tao Restaurante Natural

Yin/Yang to try out in Lisbon.

One the last places you think of when people talk about natural foods is Lisbon. Or maybe not, depending on what you include under that heading. For Rui Rato, owner of the restaurant Tao, natural foods imply not only foodstuffs in their unrefined form, but also a harmonious combination of each ingredient, taking into account the effect of the whole on body, mind and spirit of each individual. It is exactly with this in mind that each client puts together their own dish, which is what you’d expect in a restaurant whose name is derived from Taoism. In this Chinese …

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Dia da Mulher Guineense

Guinean women in action

Despite the difficulties, there are many Guineans – both residents and emigrants, in which Portugal plays an important part – who are looking for ways to improve the country, trying to reverse the trend towards political, military and economic fragility. To this end, a group of Guinean women resident in Portugal decided to join forces drawing on the experience of Filomena Djassi. She is a woman with well-founded ideas, and, despite her youth, she is already taking on a leadership role. After a training course with a group of women in Lisbon, she spoke to ECO123. ECO123: Who is Filomena …

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Yoni Surfboards

The future of surfing is its past

Surfing was always about communing with nature. But as the sport became more professional and industrial, boards underwent some changes. Initially made of wood, they started being made from oil-based plastics responsible for large quantities of carbon emissions. In Portugal, in the historical location of Óbidos, carpenter José Antunes made the most of the misfortune of losing his job to counteract this trend – he started making surfboards from wood. José started by making durable toys for his two children. But, if children could have wooden toys, why not adults too? And that is how Yoni Surfboards came into being. …

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projeto 270


It’s just a small step from organic agriculture to sustainable development Projecto 270 may be just a farm, but it is actually much more than that. It covers half a hectare and is located between the beaches of Praia da Riviera and Praia da Rainha on the Costa da Caparica. It’s been running for a decade and is organically certified. The idea for the project arose in Genoa at a demonstration against globalisation, putting into practice the motto “Think globally, act locally”. Its name comes from the number of the plot. To start with it was quite a sandy, family …

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Recipes out of the crisis

Innovation and investment are the spices in our economic soup. You will need the following ingredients: 38,887 daily returns of the tabloid Correio da Manhã, 27,804 copies of the weekly Sábado, 17,824 unsold copies of Expresso, 12,547 copies of Público and 16,118 unsold copies of the Diário de Notícias, 23,339 copies of the daily Jornal de Notícias, 16,050 returns of the sports paper O Jogo, 33,442 unsold copies of Record, 5,625 returns of Vida Económica, 10,574 copies of Visão – a total of over 250,000 copies of all daily papers and magazines in Portugal per day: A Bola, Caras, Cosmopolitan, …

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