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Monchique in transition

It is nine years since the university lecturer Rob Hopkins(1) started a movement of change, in the small Irish town of Kinsale. The movement has been expanding ever since and today it is established or being established in several hundred cities.
Monchique was the first place in the Algarve to join and create a small group to spearhead the project in December 2011. The project functions on the basis of trust, which means small localised groups, and 250 members at most.
ECO123 spoke to one of the activists, Lesley Martin, who told us that she prefers to progress step by step, consolidating the activities that emerge.
The community vegetable plot, 2000 m2 of land divided into 10 lots, is a reality thanks to Carlos Abafa and Ana Nunes, who made it available. The members farm organically. The exchange bank is already operating with two sides: the mutual provision of services, with the same fee per hour for everyone, and the exchange of services for products. They collaborate with the environmental association ‘A Nossa Terra’ (Our Land) and they try to show the local authorities that their activities will have a positive economic impact on the community. They are developing a 15-year vision for Monchique, tackling issues such as transport, energy, economics, food security and communications. The way they do this is interesting, back to front as it were. They ask: what do we want it to be like in 15 years’ time? Based on the answer, they project what it should be like in 10, 5, 3 years and 1 year, 6 months, or next week. At the moment, the document is publicly available. It can be downloaded from the ECO123 website. There are similar, embryonic groups in Loulé and Lagos.

Lesley Martin
Lesley Martin

Lesley Martin, farmer and writer, was trained in organic farming in the UK. She has many years’ experience as a trainer in permaculture, and is currently head of trainers at the Permaculture Institute in Vale da Lama, Odeáxere.






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