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Transition in Linda-A-Velha

“This all began with a party”, recall Gonçalo Pais (38) and Fernando de Oliveira (45). Both live in the Lisbon dormitory town of Linda-A-Velha that packs almost 20,000 inhabitants into 2.32 km2. In the morning, the majority of adults head off to work, dropping their children off at schools along the way. And at night, they return to their respective slots in their tall blocks of flats. Since the opening of the largest supermarket in Pingo Doce’s chain in Portugal, the local weekly market with its direct trade in fresh vegetables and fish has died a death. The Transition initiative began in 2012 with the rebirth of the community centre that they found abandoned. They began with bike repairs and the private growing and selling of some

Fernando José Lemos de Oliveira e Gonçalo Nuno Ferreira Pais from Linda-A-Velha
Fernando José Lemos de Oliveira e Gonçalo Nuno Ferreira Pais from Linda-A-Velha

vegetables. However, this did not prove able to “stir up sleeping dogs”, they both said to the National Transition Event in Portugal. “Therefore, we invited all the residents to listen to some music, eat and drink at the community centre”.
What they hold dear is entitled the “Community Building”. With around 30 persons, ten families, the mutual help between friends begins with working the lands. They show a film highlighting the toxic oil dependence of our cities. On Saturdays, they invite teachers who live in Linda-A-Velha to teach students who live in Linda-A-Velha instead of all participants having to commute daily to schools some 20 kilometres away in Lisbon.
Questioned by ECO123 about their future activities, Gonçalo Pais explains that they are working on the concept of an educational garden-allotment “so that children can acquire an idea about just where the vegetables and potatoes consumed daily actually come from”. Another project that the group is working on in partnership with the Municipal Council is the reopening of the weekly market selling fresh, locally captured fish and vegetables from a distance of no more than 30 kilometres.

About the author

Uwe Heitkamp, 53 years old, started working after university in daily newspapers and from 1984 on in public tv broadcasting companies such as WDR (Collogne), NDR (Hamburg), SDR (Stuttgart/Baden-Baden) in the ARD (first programme), wrote several books and directed the cinema movie about the anti nuclear movement in Germany in 1986 (Wackersdorf). After emigration in 1990 he founded 1995 the trilingual weekly printed newspaper “Algarve123” and later the online edition www.algarve123.com. Heitkamp lives for 25 year in Monchique, Portugal. He loves mountain hiking and swimming in streams and lakes, writes and tells stories of success from people and their sustainable relationship between ecology and economy. His actual film “Revolutionary Roads” tells the 60 minute story of a long walk crossing Portugal. 10 rural people paint a picture of their lives in the hills of the serra and the hinterland. The film captures profound impressions of natural beauty and human life. Along which path is the future of Portugal to be found? (subscribe to ECO123 und watch the documentary in the Mediatec)

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