Spain

Landscape partner

AlVelAl

Landscape

Southern Spain

Total area (ha)

1,000,000

Stakeholders

1,000+ (136 farmers, almost 300 association members, businesses and other stakeholders)

Business cases identified or set up

4 cases: Regenerative Oil business cases (Habitat), food processing center (in process), consolidation of Almendrehesa, on hold/tested: compost

9+ business cases supported by AlVelAl

Fundación Paisaje, Agrolabia, Reverdecer, Zuque project, I love you green, Mycorrhizae project, Natural pollination project, Islamic garden project, Traditional Vegetable Garden project, Los Carriles Foundation, etc.

Active since

2014 (monitoring since 2016)

Mission in the landscape

 

In 2014, Commonland mobilised farmers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the Altiplano Estepario in Southern Spain, leading to the establishment of the member association AlVelAl. In collaboration, we aim to support the transition to regenerative agriculture at scale, to create the demand for regenerative produce and to restore natural zones on farms and public land.

In 2016, we facilitated the establishment of the company La Almendrehesa, to market regenerative produce – almonds at first – both in Spain and internationally creating higher margins for the farmers, thereby allowing the farmers to roll out regenerative practices both in the productive and natural zones of their farms. AlVelAl supports farmers to implement regenerative practices through workshops, the provision of co-funding for pilots and research activities. During 2017 and 2018 AlVelAl, in collaboration with Ecosystem Restoration Camps-Spain, developed its first pilot to restore a publicly owned natural zone by replanting 50,000 trees.

Stories of change

 

In 2019, the project AlVelAl 8000: Sculptures with Life focused on planting local aromatic plants on the slopes of “La Muela”, just below where AlVelAl reforested the higher slopes the year before. The aromatic plants form a living land, biodiversity-rich art sculpture that changes colour with the seasons and will reproduce 8000-year-old local cave  art in living form. The historic cave art that is the source of inspiration can be found in the Cueva Los Letreros of Almería, Spain. To carry out this project, AlVelAl has worked a local organisation which focuses on providing employment to persons with disabilities, to conduct the planting, harvesting, and processing of plants into soaps and oils and to bring those to the local market.

 

 AlVelAL began with its first Agro-Experience open day for partners to share and explain their regenerative techniques to interested visitors 

Failing forward

 

In 2019, the difficulty of business case implementation was a learning moment. AlVelAl realised that the process of establishing a business with farmer partners requires dedicated time and effort – let alone finding the right business development (wo)man in a rural area. For 2020, AlVelAl is hoping to add a new person to their team to work full-time on this implementation, and focus on profitability.

What happened in 2019?

AlVelAl opened the year with the AlVelAl 4 returns awards (for promoting regenerative innovative ideas and projects), kicking off a series of local food gastronomic workshops, and the AlVelAl 8000 project. The members of the association elected a new board member, and 3 new people joined the AlVelAl team: one in communication, one In monitoring and evaluation, while one new team member will provide agricultural support to farmers. Also, La Almendrehesa hired a new team member. By mid-2019 AlVelAl organised a day for its members to contribute to the strategy and direction of the association in the hot days of July.

Manual harvesting of regenerative olives.

Highlights

  • AlVelAL natural areas plan to seed 15,650 trees & plants in farm natural zones (will be planted during 2019 (4,750 trees) and 2020)
  • Agroexperiencia farm visit days to share and teach regenerative practices
  • Regenerative olive oil “Habitat” project piloted with 3,500 litres for market testing
  • The focus on various types of workshops, including on Regenerative Agriculture, gastronomy, key-line swales, beekeeping
  • 21 soil samples were taken on 21 farms as part of the operative group “4 returns”. The analysis focused on microbiology, nutritional analysis and biomass produced by the vegetation Also, humidity and temperature were measured at different depths on 3 farms
  • AlVelAl organised its IVth Colloquio in September. The 2019 edition centred on Landscape, Agriculture and Identity
  • In 2019, 12 farmers started rolling out regenerative practices on their entire farm (out of a total of 80+ farmers that have started experimenting with regenerative measures)
  • In 2019: we had 10 farmers collaborators next to the 21 shareholders farmers of La Almendrehesa, bringing in over 5287 ha of farmland, of which 1628 ha with almond orchards
  • In 2019: 8 regenerative olive farmers joined efforts to pilot the business case for regenerative olive oil

“AlVelAl is an opportunity to improve and maintain the quality of life of soils.”

– Farmer Remedios Arres

AlVelAl farmer Fran Martinez Raya digging in regenerated soil (in an olive orchard with green cover).

Rural Pride Festival

 

Organised by AlVelAl & Savia Foundation, the Rural Pride festival was celebrated on 6 and 7 April in Serón, Almería. Countryside values and agriculture were celebrated, while different roundtables highlighted the role of women, entrepreneurship, stewardship & more supporting the local economy. Over 2,000 joined the celebrations.

Multimedia to inspire

AlVelAl collaborated with Sound Matters who mixed the sounds of the land, the farmers and landscape restoration with traditional music and instruments from the region.

In 2019, a documentary crew finished its documentary which followed several AlVelAl farmers for 4 years capturing their journey as part of the AlVelAl movement. The documentary portrays AlVelAl as a lighthouse initiative for the eco-social restoration of the Mediterranean Basin.

This is the first trailer.

The first trailer of the new documentary about AlVelAl is now online.

Basin in the AlVelAl territory.

Olive orchards in the landscape of AlVelAl.

“Necesitábamos AlVelAl esto sí que es agua de mayo”

“We needed AlVelAl – this is really «the rain in May»”

Belén Sánchez

Environmentalist Belén Sánchez told El País in an article on how AlVelAl’s farmers are stopping the desert. The expression ‘like the rain in May’ is a campesino (country-side) one referring to the fundamental need of water in the Spring, particularly April and May, to water the growing crops and allow them to flourish. It means something is needed, is highly appreciated, and has come just in time.

Click here for the article.

2019 Milestones

+1M
people exposed to AlVelAl’s work
14
direct and indirect jobs created or supported
10,000
hectares under improved regenerative management
+11
business cases supported by AlVelal
  • 2019
  • Altiplano Estepario
  • 1 : 70

5-year ambition:

10,000+ people exposed to the opportunity of 4 returns landscape restoration, including 400+ community members & 200+ farmers & 10+ inspired initiatives.

Year 4:

In 2019, 1 million+ people were exposed to AlVelAl’s work with over 2,000 people (incl. 260 community members and 100+ farmers) participating in events and becoming aware of the opportunity of 4 returns landscape restoration and
3 AlVelAl-inspired projects sprouted.

5-year ambition:

10,000 ha under regenerative management farming and 20,000 ha positively influenced; 8,000 ha of corridors between 3 parks established reforested successful.

Year 4:

In 2019, around 10,000 ha are under improved
regenerative management and 20,000 hectares are positively influenced. Over 5,000 holm oaks were planted, 47,000 seeds were collected, germinated and planted in 2019, over 80+ hectares have all year green cover, 1,500 hectares of winter cover. In total 75km
of swales, 92 ponds and 45 farmers are applying hydric corrections to capture water in the landscape.
These on-farm regenerative actions have increased partly through the AlVelAl seed fund.

5-year ambition:

500+ AlVelAl members and 100+ farmers participate
in restoration through regenerative agriculture & natural land managements, 5+ partnerships and 30+ jobs supported or created.

Year 4:

In 2019, almost 300 AlVelAl members of which 80+ farmers participate in landscape restoration through regenerative agriculture practices and natural land management. Three new people have been hired in AlVelAl and 1 In Almendrehesa, at least 20 new businesses identified and sprouted from or inspired by AlVelAl, which
in turn have brought jobs for 10 people in setting up
business cases (via AlVelAl 4 Returns Awards).

5-year ambition:

Increased flow of funds (> 1,000,000 EUR) toward
4 returns initiatives and 5 investors committed.

Year 4:

Over 600,000 euros of increased funding flow toward holistic landscape vision and 3 new investors committed. Two new business cases in process (regenerative oil & food processing) and over 9 business cases supported by AlVelAl.

Spain

  • Altiplano Estepario
  • 1 : 70

+1M
people exposed to AlVelAl’s work
  • 2019
5-year ambition:

10,000+ people exposed to the opportunity of 4 returns landscape restoration, including 400+ community members & 200+ farmers & 10+ inspired initiatives.

Year 4:

In 2019, 1 million+ people were exposed to AlVelAl’s work with over 2,000 people (incl. 260 community members and 100+ farmers) participating in events and becoming aware of the opportunity of 4 returns landscape restoration and
3 AlVelAl-inspired projects sprouted.

14
direct and indirect jobs created or supported
  • 2019
5-year ambition:

10,000 ha under regenerative management farming and 20,000 ha positively influenced; 8,000 ha of corridors between 3 parks established reforested successful.

Year 4:

In 2019, around 10,000 ha are under improved
regenerative management and 20,000 hectares are positively influenced. Over 5,000 holm oaks were planted, 47,000 seeds were collected, germinated and planted in 2019, over 80+ hectares have all year green cover, 1,500 hectares of winter cover. In total 75km
of swales, 92 ponds and 45 farmers are applying hydric corrections to capture water in the landscape.
These on-farm regenerative actions have increased partly through the AlVelAl seed fund.

10,000
hectares under improved regenerative management
  • 2019
5-year ambition:

500+ AlVelAl members and 100+ farmers participate
in restoration through regenerative agriculture & natural land managements, 5+ partnerships and 30+ jobs supported or created.

Year 4:

In 2019, almost 300 AlVelAl members of which 80+ farmers participate in landscape restoration through regenerative agriculture practices and natural land management. Three new people have been hired in AlVelAl and 1 In Almendrehesa, at least 20 new businesses identified and sprouted from or inspired by AlVelAl, which
in turn have brought jobs for 10 people in setting up
business cases (via AlVelAl 4 Returns Awards).

+11
business cases supported by AlVelal
  • 2019
5-year ambition:

Increased flow of funds (> 1,000,000 EUR) toward
4 returns initiatives and 5 investors committed.

Year 4:

Over 600,000 euros of increased funding flow toward holistic landscape vision and 3 new investors committed. Two new business cases in process (regenerative oil & food processing) and over 9 business cases supported by AlVelAl.