Markets go from Strength to Strength!

Recently there have been several really successful local markets! How to we deem success? It is not just in terms of products sold (though that is a wonderful avenue for us to generate income for ourselves) but in terms of great connections, conversations and chances to meet new people!

Here are some photos from the Alpedrinha market (15th July) taken by BioEco member Ricardo. They transmit something of the beautiful dynamic.

BioEco are branching out to have monthly knowledge exchange meetings. The next is 17th August – more details to follow, but it will be a chance for a member of the assocation, a producer or consumer to share some of their lived knowledge of the organic movement.

Next local organic markets are as follows:

Saturday 28th July (evening) in Castelo Novo

Sunday 29th July (morning) in Castelo Novo

Saturday 4th August (morning) in Covilha

Sunday 12th August (morning) in Alpedrinha

For details or to register your interest – check the link to the BioEco page.



Economic Democracy

We took part in a two day conference on the topics of local, sustainable, innovative economy at the University in Covilha – organised by our dear and inspiring friends from the Ananda movement.

We listened to a such a range of speakers – practitioners, professors, activists, members of huge cooperatives/small cooperatives, public and private business, new models for cooperating, where the environment and social care were at the center – ……all very inspiring and lots of food for thought.

Several of us from the BioEco association went along to take part and offer our ideas and to learn what we could from other places. And that was one of the clear benefits of the gathering – to bring together many of us who are working away on little projects into one public space to imagine a future to work towards.

The action element on the second day divided us up into 3 groups to design a plan for alternative finances, developing cooperatives and encouraging more participation. Marcia went to the group focusing on the potential of setting up a co-op – and I went to the developing participation folks. More of the outcome from this in further posts!!

One of the examples given was the pilot programme in Fundao – part of the Agri-urban movement, where a primary school in our district is including organic, locally sourced produce in its school meals!

Even the more theoretical panels were super interesting – like that from Andre Barata also from UBI. When we use the word ‘strategic’ in relation to economics or life, he says, we exclude the logic of feelings from our understanding of the benefits of cooperation. In the work context care for the other must be essential, not just a model of efficiency. In his development of an economic philosophy he critiques the growth ideal – arguing that balance is missing and political action is limited. He proposes a ‘degrowth economy‘.  A ‘monoculture of time’ was the expression he used to depict our lost relation with time – living ever in the now, but with superficial, artificial consequences. Restoring our actions in time and space is best served with our mutual cooperation and collaboration he argued.

Roar Bjonnes was broadcast on the screen via skype. His theoretical approach was an explanation of the PROUT model. This interesting model is well developed and radical! The vision of cooperative economy and coordinated cooperation has the common goal of transforming the current capitalist ideals. The new economic policies that were proposed included a three tiered economy where small businesses and cooperatives are the norm. The cooperatives he gave examples of were successful in terms of return and had the balanced view that Andre had referred to previously. In Europe alone Roar shared that between 4-7million people are employed in cooperatives. Caring about working conditions, the environment and the long term personal and social development of people and place was also a strand of the PROUT model. Again another really interesting presentation.

Ana L Santos’ presentation was compelling and uplifting. She moved between different disciplines, from neuroscience, the philosophy of Kant and Spinoza, to social and evolutional psychology in order to address her three questions, namely: Why do we enter into competition in the first place? What are the advantages of cooperation? What are the conditions required for a new vision of society where cooperation is central? She explained that as a species on a personal and social level ‘competition is killing us’. When we care about the well being of others, our own well-being is effected in a positive sense. Creating social conditions where cooperation is the norm and not the exception is the vision she was proposing.

The conference was really inspiring and we were honoured to be part of it! The current examples given were extremely helpful to lay out a vision of what is possible if we want to transform the current economic and social practices into something more human and practical for the times we live and the future we want to inhabit.

Well done team from Ananda Kalayni, Master Unit and all those who helped to organise.


Homegrown Local Markets

The development of a local sustainable economy has been a focus of the Mount of Oaks community since inception. We have the priviledge of living in a area where farmers still farm and produce fruit and vegetables. We have local farmers markets twice a week in Fundao – and there we can buy from a few producers who consciously do not use chemicals to fertilise their crops.

However, we have been meeting with folks interested in promoting the cultivation and consumption of organic produce for a long period of time – and some of the results of these connections can be seen in the projects that have been emerging over the last months.

(photos from Castelo Novo 2.0)

SO far there have been 4 very successful local markets on farms in our area and 3 markets in the historic village of Castelo Novo, just up the road from where we live.

The markets in Castelo Novo are promoted and organised by a local association called ‘Castelo Novo 2.0’ whose aim is to bring life back into the historic village. Ines and Hugo have been working very hard to promote the village and the local economy.

Markets Movement springing up from the Land!

Alongside the monthly markets in Castelo Novo we have been involved in promoting the little ‘Land Markets’. These have been happening on the 3rd Saturday every month since the first in April. The main person to thank in this movement is the kind, wise and beautiful Fransisco from the organisation, Ananda Marga.

The markets have been opportunities for real social interaction between the ‘new communities’ and the local Portuguese population. Alongside the selling of fruit, veggies, herbal teas, nuts, fermented drinks there has been a part of promoting well being. Keri comes and sells her chemical-free cosmetics, Laura and Joy have given massage, Kimberly and Dalia have instructed yoga practice.

We have really been enjoying transforming our herbs into beautiful tea mixes, selling our cured olives, tangerine cordial, soaps and other produce! We are learning by doing and coming up with some good recipes.

The next ‘Land Market’ is here, Mount of Oaks on 19th August, from 9am-12noon.

There will be at least 15 stalls, a kids area and also the opportunity to practice yoga (starts at 9am, bring your own mat and be prepared to leave a donation for laura)

The invite and more info in Portuguese and English about the market can be found here 

Coming next!

In the next blog about the local markets we will share more about the possibility of an association emerging to promote the markets, education and growth of sustainable local farming.

So far 4 different types of markets!

Bi-weekly Farmers Market in Fundao on Mondays and Saturdays

1st Saturday of the month – ‘Eco Mercado’ in the village of Castelo Novo

3rd Saturday of the month – ‘Mercadinho da Terra’ which happen in different farms in the Fundao district.

Quarterly Local Ecomony Fair – using alternative currency in Covilha