October 16, 2011

Blog Action Day - Food - A community farm project at Oporto

I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011 www.blogactionday.org




This project came to my knowledge in the Summer. It's a biodynamic and organic community sustained agriculture project in the middle of Oporto city. It shows us a new way to organize food production. As today is Blog Action Day and we're all discussing FOOD, it seemed the right day to show this video. Francisco Flórido is explaining all about this project. I am sorry but there's no subtitles in english. But you can just take a look at it and read about it bellow to get the idea.

The Fontinha Muses Farm is a space provided by Space Muses-section cultural, civic and recreational Sport Muses and Benfica institution. The project (or the idea to use the outer space) has existed since 2004. Several sessions of cleaning involving the removal of large amounts of waste and "monsters" on the ground were performed. In January 2009 |finally reached the end of the ground after removing tons of trash. They had to deal with uncontrolled growth of vegetation and subsequent weed infestation. In 2010, decided to clean up this new area and make a common space for people to grow tomatoes, radishes, cabbage and lettuce, cucumbers, beets, carrots,onions, among others. In 2011, the continued interest of members in this project led to extend it to a greater number of partners. This is happening in the centre of Oporto's city. 

This is a project runned by the people. Institutions are out. No politics, no interests, no fuss. No markets. Just a couple of simple rules.

1. The common proposals and / or actions that relate to "Fontinha Muses Farm"on the whole, must be discussed and decided by the Assembly by consensus.
2 - The agricultural techniques that members use must respect the concepts of organic agriculture and permaculture or biodynamic agriculture;
3 - Each member must feed the composter with organic waste brought from home;
4 - Each member has to cooperate with the cleanliness of their lot, and common spaces;
5 - They promote regular trainings, workshops, concerts, festivals, fairs and other events in order to broaden the dissemination, sharing knowledge, creating fellowship and raise funds for expenditure;
6 - The tools left for common use by the participants must be maintained and kept in good repair by users;
7 - In community work sessions the tools have to be abandoned at the meeting pointset, and in the end always saved in the defined location;
8 - The interior space of the Fontinha Muses Farm must be kept clean by the participants.


More than a hundred volunteers work at the farm. The soil has owners. The project mentors talked to the owners and tried to get their permission. Many owners found it interesting and useful that abandoned land could be alive again. Teachers and students, people from all kinds of social background and education, joined this project. Finally people that dreamed about having a little land to grow some vegetables got the chance to do it. Anyone can create a workshop about something they know, for example, how to deal with a bonsai, and share the knowledge. The group also help people who undergo dificulties, example, a person that lives in a poor house. They all rebuilding it together. This action happened almost spontaneously but that does not mean that the project is not planned.They are trying to obtain water from the rain and old wells that are buried  in the ground because the city water is expensive. They are also making an effort to promote cooperative and biological  agriculture because this can improve the quality of life of the city were people live.

I would like very much to grow my own food. I am not vegetarian but I eat lots of green things and fruit. If I could I would trade my house in the city for a small house with a little land somewhere. What do you think about this idea? Do you know any project like this in your city?

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