Traditional small scale agriculture
When we were on holiday in Mallorca last month we visited a small scale farm via AirBnB experiences. I love these experiences which allow local people to put together a taster of their lives, to connect to people and allow holidaymakers to actually meet people and learn about their lives. It changes the way you experience a country.
Miquela and Moises are restoring a traditional finca - attempting to find a way of using the small plot of land that Miquela inherited from an aunt to provide an income so that they can bring up their children on the island.
Mallorca is mainly a tourist island - its income comes from sun seekers like me, crammed into a few months of the year - 30 million tourists visited the island last year.
This has meant that there is a pressure on natural resources like water - all those showers and swimming pools - and that there has also been a move from working on the land to working in the bars and restaurants.
Both Miquela and Moises had worked on charitable agricultural projects in the developing world - they met on a project in Nicaragua over a decade ago and worked there until their eldest child was born 4 years ago - but now find many of the problems facing small scale agriculture in Majorca are just as intractable.
I know from speaking to friends with crofts and smallholdings in the UK and US, that these issues - scarce labour, high production costs and the problems in getting produce to market in a way that can compete with larger scale production - threaten small scale production everywhere.
We harvested carob pods and figs from the trees which have grown on the finca for decades, we helped to prepare the field for winter crops, and we sampled traditional varieties of fruit and vegetables. It was idyllic - one of the highlights of our trip - but you could see the hard work.
I would really recommend checking out Air BnB experiences if you are visiting anywhere (I loved it so much and it was such an interesting and valuable experience, that we will be offering tours of our plot next year) and if you are going to be in Mallorca do go and visit Miquela and Moises and say I said 'Hola!'
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