Just a few minutes from Faro is Lura, an educational farm set up with the motto of learning naturally, where environmental education is taught together with scientific knowledge. ECO123 talked to its founder and mentor, Sara Vítor.
ECO123: What is the Lura project?
Sara Vítor: It began as a kind of way out for a teacher who didnt get a teaching post. Its a way of continuing teaching and working with children, linking this to my own personal evolution but returning to my origins. Thats why I returned to Lura, which is my familys burrow. In this space in the countryside, I try to get back to organic agriculture and keep myself working with children, teaching principles which I believe in, such as sustainability, defending the environment, the production and growing of regional products.
Was the process of setting up the business and getting certification very bureaucratic?
A bit, but fortunately things always went relatively well. However, as far as financial backing was concerned, I faced a number of obstacles. Everything that is here was built with my own investment and that of my family. In terms of implementing the project and getting, I managed to get everything to happen within a reasonable period of time. At the end, I had the impression that if it had been a tourist project it would have been easier. But as my training is not in the field of tourism and what I am capable of doing with quality and competently is teaching and passing on knowledge, principles, values to new generations, I thought that this was what I had to do.
Why did you decide to set up this project?
Firstly, because it was always my familys aim that this piece of land should be put to good use. And secondly because I thought that I could combine the fact of being a teacher and wanting to continue teaching with the fact that I have a close connection with the countryside, with this area and its history, and always want to learn a little more. It was also a way of not emigrating, because I believe I have the capacity to do something for my country and this doesnt make any sense if Im abroad.
You had support from the crowdfunding platform PPL. What was that experience like?
It was very good. I found out about it through friends who told me about this possibility of getting funding. I telephoned one of the people in charge and one thing led to another, I made the video and launched the project(1). Surprisingly, it functioned as a form of publicising the project to other people: despite the fact that most support came from relatives, I also got support from people I dont know. We had 40 days to raise 5.000 Euros; we reached the target and this money was used for building the toilet for the disabled and for the Casa dos Burros (the donkey house), which we wouldnt have been able to build otherwise. All this allowed us to carry on with the project.
Aims and hopes for the future?
The main aim is to become self-sufficient. Were not so fundamentalist that we say well stop going to the supermarket, but in the long term we want to be as sustainable as possible. Just like an ant, here at Lura I take small steps to create a better world through our children.