It was spontaneously after my departure that I had the idea of talking a little about the situation at Flores de Vida.
With one exception so far, I’ve been coming to Nat’ every year since 2012, around the beginning of May, and for a few weeks I’ve enjoyed this special place and contributed a little to its continuity and beautification.
Flores de Vida is coming out of hibernation… and so am I.
The beginning of the year was a time of tidying up and reorganization, inside and outside. I’ve taken advantage of the winter calm to clear up spaces…and it feels good!
In 2021, we were going to be 2 permanent residents, but then it didn’t happen. So I quietly continue to be the caretaker of the place… ineradicable!!!
While waiting for a group oriented on full regeneration and Global Ecology to take place one day, the trees will continue to grow, indifferent to human and governmental craziness. The harvests are getting more and more abundant each year, and in 2022 I expect them to be magnificent!
You can already note the dates of the Fiesta Cruda, it’s August 25th-26th-27th, 2022
Registrations are not yet open, but you can already book the dates… you absolutely have to be there this year
Ce printemps a été un temps de “clarification de l’espace”: * petits aménagements, * réparations diverses, * rangement des espaces intérieurs et extérieurs, * et bien sûr, plantation d’arbres et soin au potager.
Quelques personnes sont passées donner un coup de main ce printemps, dont Serge (Français) qui est resté 2 mois et demi et a été d’une aide précieuse.
La régénération du sol en bonne voie!
Flores de Vida: un petit coin d’Angleterre en Espagne
Octobre 2020 * Campagne de financement participatif
Flores de Vida en campagne
Nous lançons le vendredi 9 octobre 2020 notre 1ère campagne de financement participatif (crowdfunding) pour Flores de Vida… et c’est super si tu peux nous aider à provoquer l’effet “resto plein”.
“Nous”, c’est l’équipe de Flores de Vida, l’écolieu qui nous tient tellement à cœur. C’est un lieu d’écologie et de permaculture mais aussi d’alimentation vivante et de développement personnel… un lieu ressource, en chemin vers l’autonomie.
Cette campagne va nous permettre de financer une nouvelle pompe pour le forage de Flores de Vida… voire plus.
The path leading from the parking lot up to the constructions of the higher part of the land have been cleared out. The team has worked hard with shears and hand saws to clean up the overgrown branches and shrubs that obstructed the passage of vehicles. Furthermore, this allowed to create beautiful spaces.
Yoga and Punching Bag
In the morning, we do kundalini yoga guided by Maria. A session is composed of a breathing exercise, a kriya (series of movements), a meditation and a relaxation. We also ordered online a punching bag that we filled with sand and recycled clothes, then hung from the gazebo. It will be great for our karate and combat sports practice.
Wim Hof Style Ice Baths
A big freezer has been filled with water and the temperature goes down to 3 degrees. These baths are amazing for health: exposition to cold, as long as it doesn’t go beyond our limits, improves immunity and hormonal functions, activates brown fat, decreases inflammation, improves sleep and mood… Moreover, they are a fantastic way to refresh ourselves.
The harvest of almonds took place in mid-September. A net is placed underneath the tree and then the branches are hit with a long cane stick to make the almonds fall down.
Ecoplace from Day to Day…
What Are We Eating?
There are more figs than we can possibly eat or dry. The grapes are a little sick this year but there are still enough of them to snack on. We have finished the delicious vineyard peaches, now we’re waiting for the yellow peaches to ripen. Some apple trees produce tasty apples.
What’s more, we have an abundance of almonds, with the ones we collect from the trees as well as those harvested during the past years.
We also made a trip to Francine’s to fill up on carobs and to pick some prickly pears.
Vegetablewise, we keep eating zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other produce that we collect at Javier’s, the organic farmer based in Caspe. Lactofermented olives from past years complete our meals.
In the Vegetable Garden
Little sprouts from seeds sown in August are growing on the garden beds and in pots: lettuce, carrots, spinach… We weed and make space. The ordered straw has finally arrived, and we are putting a good layer of mulching on all the beds. We do direct composting by burying food waste underneath the mulch to nourish the soil.
In the Orchard
We carry on with the harvesting and drying of figs and peaches. Almonds have been harvested, shelled, and stored. We’re renewing the mulch around all fruit trees. We’re going to plant new trees (pomegranate, fig, cherimoya, avocado, pecan trees…) and repot others (pitanga, maracuja, African plum tree…)
A Community in an Ecoplace
Two permanent residents have settled down: Maria and Juliette. The experience lived along with Nat’ since their arrival is moving the project towards the idea of a community rather than an eco-village where individual habitats would occupy more space. In this perspective, Nat’ has bought himself a trailer and is preparing to move in. Casita will then become a collective space: room for music practice, office, library, a place to get together…
Opening Up to the Territory
The site will thus function as a community where each member will have a personal space of around ten square meters, but where most of the activities take place in collective spaces. By the way, this small community has opened up to its environment by joining a group that reflects on the current world situation. Nat’ and Maria thus met up with five other people in front of the Caspe townhall. All these people shared the idea that we create our reality, and that change must begin with ourselves. Very interested in Flores de Vida, our Spanish friends joined a WhatsApp group to keep exchanging. To be continued!
Around twenty people alternated with each other and crossed paths at Flores de Vida during the three days of Fiesta Cruda, forming sometimes groups of up to ten people in front of the participants taking up the role of activity leaders. Hatha yoga, intuitive dance, improvisation theatre, cooperative painting with natural pigments, Kinomichi, Qi Gong, strength training with body weight, improvised concerts, quantum scans… the relaxed festival-goers had the opportunity to discover all sorts of physical and artistic practices in the mindset of goodwill and joyful sharing that won everybody’s heart, from the youngest of 15 months to the oldest!
Hatha Yoga with Elie
Elie offered a beautiful session of Hatha yoga, which he defines as a yoga of balance between feminine and masculine. Gently and masterfully, ending with a relaxation that he accompanied with a flute, Elie initiated a group all too happy for the opportunity to recenter themselves.
Sarah, a dance teacher in Toulouse, guided a lovely moment of intuitive dance with a drum. Associating movement to natural elements in an approach that she describes as body ecology, she invited people to dance, at first in interaction with a tree, then with a human partner. This disconcerting and very enriching opening greatly inspired the improvised dancers, as can be seen in the picture above.
Jean-Paul, a teacher in Belgium, came in the middle of the festival to introduce Kinomichi to the group. This discipline was developed from the Japanese martial art aikido by Masamichi Noro. It borrows basic movements from aikido with the purpose of finding harmony with a partner. Ki means “energy”, no means “of” and michi “way”.
Francine allowed the group to take on Qi Gong with a playful approach using a cane stick. This initiated the participants into becoming aware of the energy circulating in the body. The slow movements facilitate the dynamisation of vital energy, Qi.
Muscular Strengthening with Body Weight
Yannick motivated people early in the morning for sessions of muscular strengthening and coordination training. The method is based on the repetition of series of movements and it is largely inspired by animal postures and characteristics. It is oftentimes used to warm up in combat sports. This kind of training harmoniously maintains flexibility and strength.
Marina Gave a Natural Painting Workshop
Marina, who teaches fine arts in Spain, invited us to share a moment of cooperative painting with hues obtained from natural pigments: turmeric, coffee, red pepper, cumin… The canvas had been cut in squares so that each participant could dedicate themselves into painting one particular square before sketching all kinds of bridges from one square to another to eventually form a collective painting.
Scan of Your State of Health
Karine scanned the state of health of many of the festival attendees with a special quantum device. In the beginning of September, each of them will receive the digital version of their assessment and Karine, who will return next year – promised! – will be able to make a comparison from one year to the next.
Myriam, a Dietary Coach
Myriam, a nutrition coach in Toulouse area, lead a workshop on living foods and difficulties during dietary transition. While eating raw is easy-peasy at Flores de Vida where produce of excellent quality is abundant and where the energy of the place is highly supportive, staying on track once you’re back home is another story.
Massage on demand!
Annie and Sarah offered the participants massages that were hugely appreciated. Given in the respect of sanitary rules, they demonstrated the talents of these two experts: Sarah for Californian massage and Annie for the face massage “Kobido”. Big thanks to both!
Improvisation Theatre with Samuel
Samuel involved a small team of festival attendees in an improvisation theatre workshop. “It’s an awesome practice to bring a group together, to meet and exchange, he explains. It makes you work on comprehending, listening, and watching each other, and on interacting to play with others. It’s perfectly suitable for the building of relationships in an eco-place because it’s about seeing how everybody has their role to play in the group.” The warm-up games and little sketches convinced the participants and an idea came up of a one-week improvisation theatre workshop at Flores de Vida! To be continued…
Native American Chant
Thanks to Sarah who made us discover this Native North American song.
Lyrics: He yama yo wana hene yo He yama yo wana hene yo Wahee yayana Hey hey hey ho wahee Hey hey hey hey hey ho wahee (“We’re here in the now and everywhere we are one and all”)
At Flores de Vida, food is entirely raw and vegan. Everyone helps themselves when they’re hungry in the nevera where there was, this summer: tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, red bell peppers, but also watermelons and green melons. Without taking into account the few plums, nectarines, peaches and figs a little ahead of the season collected on the site. In the crudine, our raw kitchen space, dried or lacto-fermented olives and almonds were waiting to help fill some bellies, especially in the end of the day. Some like to gather at that moment to talk, others prefer to eat in silence and full awareness. Thus, there are no mealtimes. But there are plenty of other happy moments to get together and share!
Talking circles, a common practice at Flores de Vida, helped many beautiful exchanges emerge during Fiesta Cruda. The circles also allowed to very rapidly create a feeling of proximity and affection between the people, who for the most part didn’t know each other two days before.
To finish this special edition, we’ll let Nat’ have the last word, expressed the last night of the festival:
” I love the circles, I love to listen to you. Every person is a different world and every word is a world that reveals itself. I find it magnificent! And expressing it allows our consciousness to evolve. The circles help me grow and know myself better… I feel like I’ve prepared the place for twelve years, that we enriched the soil with the online team this winter and now, we just sowed. It’s particularly powerful as I’ve been waiting for this moment for twelve years!”
The Slow-Motion Race
A little video was taken of the Slow-Motion Race organised by Samuel during his improvisation theatre workshop. Here it is, preceded by a few beautiful pictures of Marina’s workshop!
At Flores de Vida, the sky is blue, surprisingly so when you come from the city where it is always more or less veiled by pollution. The sun beats down hard, making it vital to take a break in the beginning of afternoon. Various strategies are necessary because of the heat. Strolling around with as little clothing as possible is one of them, as clothes don’t allow the skin to breathe, thus making the heat unbearable. Another one is seeking refuge under an old olive tree, or better yet, in the fresh shadow of a fig tree. Finally, there’s the possibility of building a shelter: in the picture above, the gazebo has been extended by a canopy made of cane stalks, supported by three ropes stretched from one olive tree to another and by an old tree trunk transformed into a central pole. The August team took great pleasure putting it up with the means available for our Fiesta Cruda buddies!
Preparation and conditioning of produce
If the harvest of olives is a big project in December, the follow-up of different procedures of conservation keeps one busy during the other periods of the year as well. One option is drying them (in the dryer-pickup) for three to four weeks. Another option is to put them in jars so that a lacto-fermentation process takes place with no need to add salt. This phase has to last for at least one year, and it happens in big glass jars. The olives, inedible at the moment of picking, become supple and savoury. Delicious. This summer Nat’, Annie and Sylvie put in bags of 300 g olives that had been fermenting since 2016! At first, they had to be “degassed” by laying them in the dryer for 24 hours, then conditioned before going through the vacuum packing machine, lend to us by David, a friend of Nat’s. These bags are then put on sale.
Charlotte and Sylvie have prepared around twenty bags of 500 g of almonds picked last year. The bags are ready to serve as rewards during the crowdfunding campaign.
Annie, Charlotte and Sylvie prepared zucchini chips with the produce harvested at Javier’s (see the section “What Are We Eating?”). They sliced the zucchinis with a mandolin and spread them on dryer grids (picture below). The slices are left for at least two or three days in the dryer so that they become nice and crispy. They are then conserved in big glass jars in the cellar.
The new pump is being installed
The new pump has been installed and will be functional in a few days once the start-up of the system of technical control has been finalized. There will then be only one tap to close and another one to open for all water inlets of the higher part of Flores de Vida (taps, showers, irrigation taps) to be supplied by the borehole from now on. It remains to be financed however, which is the principal motivation for the crowdfunding campaign that is in the works.
From Day to Day…
In the Vegetable Garden
The garden requires daily work that Nat’ cannot carry out when he’s alone on the site. Which has been the case quite frequently thus far. For this reason, the garden hasn’t yet produced anything this summer.
In the Orchard
All the trees have been abundantly watered during summer and many are about to deliver their production: nectarines, peaches, plums, but above all figs and grapes.
Online Team Gets Together!
The month of August will be rich in visits thanks to Fiesta Cruda and “Séjour de Ressourcement” (Revitalization Experience) and it has already allowed most of the online team members to meet “for real”. Joëlle, Pascale, Patricia, Christelle and Greg have been terribly missed.
It’s quite moving, when you have actively participated in online meetings and in the elaboration of communication tools in distance, to suddenly find yourself on the ground, in the middle of olive and fig trees, under the blazing sun! It’s quite moving as well to meet in person the people you’ve so far seen only in video conferences. The beginning of August was thus highly charged with very positive emotions!
The body gets little by little accustomed to the intense heat and the team also gets used to living together and to learning to cooperate in the real life. The land and the installations require a multitude of maintaining activities: making sure the irrigation system for trees is functioning, improving the supply system of the shower, or putting up little installations like the canopy or a protection for the trampoline, conditioning the produce or checking that water filters are filled, toilet buckets emptied, and all toilets equipped with toilet paper! Several people will be arriving during August and there needs to be a good organization in place for the work to be distributed smoothly.
Beautiful challenges of community life coming up and a passage to reality that will highlight the different issues of living together. With joy and an unshakable good will!
What Are We Eating?
Javier, an Organic Farmer
For the moment, the land provides little to eat apart from some bunches of grapes and the few already ripe apples and figs, and Nat’ buys the essential from one of the rare organic farmers in the region, Javier. His farm is located on the outskirts of Caspe. On Friday 7th August, the team went there to collect zucchinis, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and above all, a good pile of melons Piel de Sapo and magnificent watermelons. A little something to fill the bellies of the participants at Fiesta Cruda!
Fiesta Cruda: from 10th to 12th August
Séjour Ressourcement: from 16th to 22nd August
Picture taken from the plateau where the team meets regularly in the evening and which overlooks the site.
A mini document from Nat’ ‘immerses us in the atmosphere of this spring in Flores:
In the orchard
Land of plenty!
Melons and zucchini make their first flowers.
The corn is starting to look pretty.
Nat made a few more tomato plantations.
Of course we had to weed a little bit and some maintenance work was required.
Appels, figs, peachesare beginning to take shape. The orchard also benefited from weeding and maintenance work.
Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t hang around in Flores de Vida. Food autonomy dictates!
What are we eating this month in Flores?
On Mother Nature’s menu:
a second batch of broad beans, sown in March, comes just at the right moment: from the first batch, sown with foresight in October, nothing is left.
the end of grass peas, the beginning of lamb’s-quarters, sprouted seeds, olives of course as well as almonds make up delicious and super nutritious salads.
And to the joy of these greens is added the infinite pleasure of the fruits picked from the trees:
Apricots in abundance for ten days, depending on the varieties, the first peaches, the last mulberries, loganberries (half-blackberries and half-raspberries) and strawberries.
The first plums have been harvested and more will ripen over the month of June.
We enjoyed a few very sweet and delicious little pears at the beginning of the month.
And with delight we can see the full season of medlars coming.
During this time…
We’re working hard on the pump
The second source of water supply in Flores is still missing. Who is guilty? The pump of the drilling system.
This water is essential for securing the drinking water supply of the place. The replacement of the defective part requires the intervention of an external company (crane). The cost has been estimated at 5,000 euros (ouch!)
As the nest egg of Flores was not enough to cover the cost, it was decided to call for donations via a crowdfunding campaign. A subgroup of the team has been working on the subject for a few weeks: which platform, which pitch, which design aid, etc
Of course you will be kept informed of the launch of the campaign. If however you decide in the meantime to make a donation to Flores de Vida, know that it is always possible!
The eco-places of the planet made the headlines of the web
The Summit of the Oases took place this month. In all twenty-two online conferences were broadcast for 10 days. There were dealing with a wide range of subjects related to the development of an eco-place.
During these 10 extraordinary days the speakers discussed agriculture and permaculture as well as ethical, economic, legal, financial and spiritual aspects. 18,000 people in search for another way of leaving and thinking followed the event with great interest.
Nat’, as the founder of Flores de Vida, intervened to share his vision of what should bring such a project: fear or love ?
Some Q&A videos and the closing party are in permanent access on the Summit Facebook page (Page title : « Sommet des Oasis, réussir votre projet d’éco-lieu »).
Il a beaucoup, beaucoup plu en mai sur Flores de Vida. Sur une semaine, il est tombé exceptionnellement plus de 100 litres au m2. Et la terre se régénérant d’année en année, elle est plus apte à stocker l’eau : elle devient comme une éponge.
Le départ de Simon
Après avoir beaucoup aidé Nat’ pendant trois mois, Simon est reparti en Belgique à la fin du mois de mai. Il a participé aux travaux agricoles mais aussi au désherbage et au nettoyage des fondations des futurs bâtiments. ainsi qu’aux aventures relatives à la pompe à eau. Il envisage de revenir !
Les treilles renforcées
Les treilles supportent des vignes pour la plupart.
Nat’ et Simon les ont renforcées.
Au fil des jours…
Les jeunes plants de melon, courgette et ail préparent la relève des fèves et des fraisiers.
Les oliviers ont été taillés, et les petits arbres soignés. Les pluies de mai vont permettre de ne pas arroser les arbres avant juillet ou plus.
L’équipe s’étoffe et s’organise
Six nouvelles personnes s’investissent dans le projet et se sont intégrées à la mesure de leur disponibilité aux différentes équipes récemment constituées : Equipe S.C.I. / Equipe Coeur / Equipe outils numériques.
Quatre nouvelles personnes ont ainsi rallié l’équipe de travail : Pascale, Patricia, Jean-Paul et Charlotte. Elles se sont groupées pour s’atteler au statut juridique du projet : sans doute une S.C.I. (Société Civile Immobilière) à adapter. Cette équipe s’appelle donc pour l’instant “Equipe S.C.I.”
Dans le même temps, Séverine nous a rejoint pour des interventions ponctuelles. Elle est artiste et a créé un dessin superbe pour lequel nous avons tous eu un coup de cœur. Il se trouve à côté du titre de cette newsletter ! Elle va travailler avec Stephan, graphiste de métier, à la réalisation d’un ou plusieurs visuels, dont une affiche, avec ce dessin pour support.
Ils vont compléter le travail fourni par l’équipe initiale qui se voit nommée “Equipe Cœur“. Promotion du site dans des revues, classement et partage de l’importante collection de photos du site, sont autant de chantiers qui s’ajoutent à ceux déjà en cours pour la rénovation du site et la newsletter “Echos de Flores de Vida“. A noter que sa traduction en espagnol a été assurée par Barbara – Ecos de Flores de Vida“- et celle en anglais – Echoes from Flores de Vida – par Annabelle !
S’affranchir des mastodontes du web
Un autre groupe va voir le jour pour réfléchir aux outils numériques utilisés par Flores de Vida afin de communiquer et collaborer à distance. L’idée est de s’affranchir des produits des mastodontes du web pour, chaque fois que cela sera possible, privilégier les offres du numérique “libre”. Ainsi, les rendez-vous sont-ils désormais programmés grâce à l’outil Framadate plutôt que sur doodle. L’autonomie passe aussi par là. C’est l'”Equipe Outils numériques“.
L’équipe coeur a créé un groupe WhatsApp dédié, à côté duquel existe le groupe WhatsApp “Grande équipe” qui rassemble tout le monde – ayant WhatsApp ! -pour les informations concernant … tout le monde. Ce second groupe permet également d’être tous ensemble, au moins virtuellement, et d’apprendre à se connaître.
Gouvernance organique et CNV
Cette structuration s’accompagne d’une importante réflexion sur le mode de gouvernance. Travailler ensemble, a fortiori à distance, ne peut être simple. Initiée et conduite par Myriam, qui a présenté au groupe les grands principes de la gouvernance organique, cette réflexion se poursuit par un cycle de trois visio-ateliers animés par Fafadji GNOFAME sur la CNV – Communication Non Violente.
Pendant que l’Equipe de Terrain s’occupe de l’écologie extérieure, et se décarcasse avec les caprices de la pompe à eau, les équipe à distance planchent donc déjà sur les enjeux de l’écologie intérieure !
Pour voir ça de plus près !
Qu’est-ce qu’on mange ?
Elles arrivent à maturité et viennent compléter les récoltes de cerises et de mûres (issues de l’arbre !) qui se font au verger.
Le vert à croquer
On peut encore profiter des dernières asperges et des dernières jeunes pousses de gesse dont on mangera ensuite les pois. On peut également consommer les fleurs aussi bien que les feuilles de la consoude. A Flores de Vida, elle est cultivée au potager.
C’est aussi la pleine saison des fèves que viennent compléter les premiers pois de gesse, autrement appelés “pois carrés”.
En raison des mesures liées au déplacement des personnes, il est à ce jour impossible de présenter l’agenda habituel des sessions et stages. Vous pouvez vous orienter vers l’offre de formation en ligne du site Etre en forme vraiment
Nat’ nous fait découvrir, dans cette courte vidéo, la vue haute du site de Flores de Vida et nous présente le superbe profil du “Gardien” des lieux.