Lalaland Learning Community Farm

Welcome to Lalaland Aljezur, Portugal

Help us to make a meaningful impact on society! We need to take action now to help our children with the upcoming challenges of climate change and social issues. To us, the best way of participating in change is to 1. improve our behavior and 2. to show our children the right values, skills and toolset to cope with future issues. Thus, we aim to become a more conscious and connected society that treats or resources carefully, respects the older generations and offers meaningful future perspectives to the next generations.

This is our contribution towards a better future in all aspects. This is our life project:

A non-profit learning community farm that consists of three main elements:

1. Education & Culture Centre
2. Community Permaculture Garden
3. Community Food Forest Park

The vision is to create a holistically designed pedagogical farm, where essential knowledge and skills are shared not only with kids but with the community as a whole.

Following the main goal of guiding through meaning- and joyful learning processes while having a positive impact on environment and society. For our's and many generations to come. Enjoy watching our little movie and see for yourself, in which beautiful and important direction this project is going...



This is our Story


Hello everyone, we are Manuela from Venezuela and Joe from Germany. As a couple we have come to realize that we need to create something with a true meaning and a positive impact on the future - beyond our own individual lives…

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How come?

There is no denial: there’s a challenging future ahead for everybody. What if we could participate in helping our world to become more healthy, fair, safe and happy? Despite the fact that our influence zone seems limited, we deeply believe that combining certain energies such as time, knowledge, money or straight muscle power in a smart way can have substantial positive effects on both our environment and our community. This is why we deeply re-evaluated what’s really important to us, the environment and the community we find ourselves within. The Lalaland vision consists of principles that embrace these intentions and aims to improve:

1. the eco-system in this area
2. ecological-, social-, economical- and self-awareness
3. future perspectives for the community and this place as a whole

Is this really necessary?

Yes, it is highly necessary - especially here in the national park of „Costa Vicentina“ in Portugal’s southwest - to counteract all the negative external effects of non-conscious consumption, tourism, farming, and, and, and.… Why? Because the damages are totally present: droughts, heat waves and wild fires, littered beaches and dunes; lack of ground water thanks to profit-oriented farming or other forms of abusing this most valuable resource are not even all the problems that have been evolving from our behavior as a society. And it’s getting worse and worse.  

Why us?

„What can we do - within our influence zone - to take responsibility and create something that especially in the long run would bring along real ecological, social and economical benefits in a balanced way?“ This has been our core question ever-since we decided to begin this undertaking. For one main reason: we are aware of the challenges ahead and we feel the need to contribute at our best at creating a future for our children, grandchildren and beyond. Together, we are equipped with the experiences and capabilities to make this project happen: Manuela has been practicing as an experienced educator for more than 10 years, traveling the world for taking care of kids and teaching them their first essential learnings in life. She comes from a highly troubled country (Venezuela) and knows exactly what it means, when social structures break apart - eventually often due to lack of education and empathy. Manu sees this project not only as a life-project, but also as her contribution to make this world at least a bit better than it is.

Joe throws in his passion and knowledge about sustainability- and project management, which were his favorite focuses at university. Alongside many of his concerns for the future of our planet. He has been running his own Multimedia agency in Austria successfully for 7 years, making a living mainly from tourism. Yet, he became more and more conscious about the negative effects that unbalanced tourism (and ALL associated) markets cause on eco-systems and whole societies. Therefore he felt the need and the duty to give something back and become part of the solution.

Our mindset behind this?

To us, regenerative (>sustainable), innovative and child-friendly livelihoods (communities) are the essence of cultures that tackle today’s ecological, social and economic challenges by pursuing strategies that follow certain principles.

What brought us here?

Several years back we both fell in love with this place individually. Before we fell in love with each other. Manu had to leave her country and found a new home here. Joe made the final step of moving to Portugal to live with Manu. Throughout the years we (once again) became more and more aware of the challenges this wonderful area is opposed to. Primarily, yet not only due to a rather individualistic and hence unbalanced tourism market that fails to take responsibility for social structures as well as environment protection. These facts are our motivators to make a change towards the good and inspire as many as much as possible to do so too. Because together we are strong.

This non-profit project takes place on 4,3 hectares on a piece of land in the beautiful, yet challenged area of Aljezur - Portugal. We bought it one year ago with the help of our savings and a substantial support from Joe’s family. (THANK YOU!)

The land has been abandoned for over 20 years after it had been cleared of nearly all vegetation to give space for something that obviously never happened. Therefore the soil hasn’t been „fed“ with nutritions all this time, making it hard for plants to root. This is why up until now there had been only few shrubs and trees that could prevent erosion and evaporation as well as the decline of the soil’s ability to absorb the atmosphere’s carbon through the plants it’s home to for eventually turning it into the another most valuable resource: oxygen. We already started making a change, for example by planting about 150 trees and plants around that will provide wind- and sun protection above the ground. At the same time, below the surface, the roots will break up the soil, providing space for microorganisms that break up carbon (e.g. dead roots) and provide for exactly those plant’s nutrients, that provide us with oxygen. Amazing side-effects: the soil is able to hold more water, since a loose soil acts like a sponge in contrast to compressed soils. Also, plant’s roots prevent soil from eroding. They act like a net of anchors that gives the soil stability during heavy winds and rainfalls.

Now you want to know why we chose such a challenged land, right? Because we are fully convinced that with the help of permaculture design, thinking and acting we will succeed in regenerating this land. We’ve seen projects in the Sahara desert thriving thanks to the consequent application of permaculture methodology, so yes we can do this!

What are our principles?

Before creating the overall-concept behind this project we re-evaluated our very essential values and beliefs that soon were to become the Lalaland’s value base. The most important ones are the  the following:

- Peace
- Autonomy
- Responsibility
- Tolerance
- Integrity
- Authenticity
- Balance
- Teamwork
- Holism
- Beyond sustainability: We need to regenerate our planet

What’s it going to be?

Along the way we came up with a concrete vision and a plan that shall have a real and positive impact on various levels, especially to nature and the local community.

Lalaland consists of 3 individual yet combined activity fields, of which all are non-profit oriented:

1. Education & Culture Centre
2. Community Permaculture Garden
3. Community Food Forest Park

The integrative combination of these three units is going to upgrade the area of Aljezur essentially. Ecologically, socially and eventually economically as well. But first things first:

So, what’s the plan?


1. THE LEARNING COMMUNITY

Our project’s first milestone is the creation of a learning community that orients its actions according to our essential principles. First of all, in order to become more independent for example, especially from large-scale corporations (and their decisions), we need to teach children how to grow food, how to make things, how to repair on a practical level. Generally speaking, we have to provide them with the capabilities and tools within a suitable learning-environment in order for them to develop their own qualified, individual, confident and happy self.

And this is what we stand for: support and guide children in their self-construction processes in the physical, mental, emotional, social, ecological, economical and spiritual spheres, with the core intention that each being can manifest their existence in an integral way. For being truly happy and contributing to a peaceful society. At our learning community we offer teaching-learning experiences that allow the development of knowledge, autonomy, responsibility and harmonic interdependence, so that each child has the skills to create their life project.

Of course, we could not have done this on our own. We are blessed and extremely grateful for having met Bia and Guga along the way. After a couple of veeeery loooong yet highly interesting meetings we realized that our visions for the future are not only similar but also perfectly complementary. We all agree on the necessity of a new path of our society with value-based education, permanent dialogue, eye-level communication, focus on practical knowledge, cooperation, etc..

Guga and Bia have been working as educators in similar projects (e.g. Escola Inkiri - Brazil) and both are qualified through numerous educational degrees and trainings. As 4 partners, we founded an educational association that, as a non-profit organization, transmits essentials to the next generations. Manuela is head educator of course 1 where, together with Gala and Lau she’s taking care of the youngest ones from 1-3 years. Course 2 head educator Bia together with Paulina prepares the 3-5 year old kids for course 3 with Guga as head educator, supported by Rita for kids up until 8 - for now…

With the help of our personal savings (yes, all of it), some micro-loans within the family and a big support of friends, parents and community members, we created a wonderful place, dedicated to this activity. At „Alecrim“ the community children are highly connected with the natural environment during their early learning process. They grow and learn within a highly international group, which supports lingual advantages as well as tolerance. Our mission at Alecrim: creating future perspectives while guiding kids to choose their own destiny.

The Alecrim team (Manuela, Bia, Guga, Joe plus all the helping angels) achieved the construction of the first structures to provide for a safe and harmonic place, big enough for 36 multicultural and multi-aged children from 1 to 7 years.

Yet, we are not where we need to be…

During summer Portugal is known for it’s dryness. That’s why it’s highly important to collect as much water as we can during the winter (= rain season). Our lake and other water collectors will  provide enough water to feed a proper sustainable off-grid sanitary system to our learning community as well as for irrigating our permaculture garden during summer.

During winter conditions are more challenging. In order to make it through as well as to become more and more independent of the municipal electricity and water networks, we need to make the following important upgrades at „Alecrim“:

- Solar and wind energy systems
- Heating systems and isolations
- Wind-, rain-, sun- and fire protection
- Rain-water collection structures
- Playground development
- Essential Kitchen improvements

Before asking YOU for supporting this project with this crowdfunding call, we wanted to prove - to you and to ourselves - that a) we taking off into the right direction and b) we are ready to give this all we got. Now, we are blessed with a complete learning community (even a waiting list for spots); happy families, lots of kind feedback from all around this world, and, and,… So we guess, we have succeeded, do you agree?

If you do, feel free to make a donation for this project so we can make the necessary upgrades.

And these are our projected costs, we really need some support with:

-> Our solar and wind energy systems will cost a total of € 12.500,-
-> Heating systems and isolations will cost € 5.350,-
-> Wind-, rain-, sun- and fire protections  come with a total of € 4.500,-
-> Rain-water collection structures (5 Tanks, rain gutters on all roofs, pipes, etc.) will cost around € 3.000,-
-> Playground developments (making climbing wall, swings, water-games, etc.) will cost 2.300,-
-> Essential structural kitchen improvements (sidewalls, isolation, etc.) still needs more € 1.700,-

Hence, we  carefully calculated a total investment sum still needed for this unit of € 29.350,-.

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2. THE COMMUNITY PERMACULTURE GARDEN

Lalaland’s “lung” is our agricultural project. It is divided into horticulture and orchards following the permaculture principles. Besides supplying our community with fruits and veggies, we aim to regenerate our land towards a fertile carbon absorber and oxygen producer.

The local community will be integrated into its development as members of our non-profit association „Horta fantastica“.

The idea is to join forces and create a holistic and fully organic community garden from which nature around us as well as the local community as a whole benefits in numerous ways:

- Recreation by gardening
- Social interaction and teamwork
- Useful and practical education
- Independence by growing own food
- Sustainable living
- Fight negative climate change effects


Our vision behind this project is to strengthen conscience for the circle of life: we go from preparing the soil for planting (e.g. by enriching it with our dry toilet compost;), until preparing and eating together, for eventually restarting the cycle again that proactively regenerates this land substantially. Like this, we want to change our own consumption behavior plus invite and inspire others to walk a similar path. The more and more humans overthink and change their consumption behavior in similar ways, the higher are our chances for tackling the macro-ecological, economical and social challenges ahead.

Concretely, we first need to supply for water. So the first step that has to be taken is creating diverse water sources. One of the strategies we use for irrigating the community garden in a most sustainable way, consists of two lakes that will collect and store enough water during the rain season so that we can water the garden through the whole dry season. We combine this technique with well positioned water tanks (uphill) so that gravity makes water flow on its own to where it’s needed. After having irrigated our beds and fields and having reached the final stage, a solar pump brings the water back up to re-enter the water cycle. On top of that we will be collecting rainwater from every tiny little structure’s roof and harvest the night’s dew.

All south-west Europe is already struggling with drought and desertification. Also here we feel the change of available water strongly. Therefore it is essential to use this most valuable resource with great care and in most efficient manner. Of course, we will not use groundwater for our irrigation - this would be just totally irresponsible. (* source for groundwater problem) Needless to say that, from now on we see and treat water in a way more responsible way in everyday life.

By now, we have started by preparing a designated area on Lalaland with a few water collection structures, raised beds, a compost, etc. We have begun to enrich the soil with bio fertilizers such as horse- and chicken manure (we got donated from the community) so that now, at the beginning of the rain season, we are ready to plant the first veggies and fruit trees… subsequently, after having learned more ourselves, we will share our knowledge about  permaculture design and gardening with everyone who wants to increase his conscience and connection. 

Of course animals play a crucial role, too - which is why we will create a farm sanctuary with barns and spaces for various animals such as rabbits, pigs, chicken and  goats. They will not to be eaten. On the contrary, they will grow along with our community so we all  become closer connected to animal life in general.

If you also believe that it is highly important to strengthen our society’s awareness for probably the most essential theme of life - food - please feel free to support this project by making a donation to buy the materials needed for our educational community garden.

And these are our projected costs, we really need some support with:

-> Creation of 2 lakes (excavator hours mainly) will cost € 4.500,-
-> The biggest part here: Roadworks, swales and ridges so that rainwater flows towards the lake will cost € 14.000,-
-> Purchasing water tanks and irrigation pipes will cost € 900,-
-> 2 solar water pumps cost € 1.400,-
-> Materials for building 2 (or 3) animal barns will cost € 1.700,-

In total, we carefully calculated the budget needed for this unit: € 22.500,-.

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3. THE FOOD FOREST WOODLAND PARK

Our community Agro-Forestry is a regenerative area where we grow trees and shrubs that will not only give sun-, wind-, evaporation and erosion protection, but also provide us with healthy and nutritious food and compost.

Our soil faces various problems for which there are solutions. They inspire and drive us to focus on the regeneration of the land, to rehabilitate and enhance it’s entire ecosystem. We simply want to help reverse climate change by rebuilding biodiversity.

Our vision is to build a beautiful park, full of indigenous trees and plants where the community can spend family time, relax, get together with friends and take part in one of the various educational activities we offer within this environment. Conservation and regeneration of nature, recreation, interaction, education and healthy activity are the central values we pursue with this project.

And this is our action plan for the Food Forest Park:

- Plant 400 trees (variety of species) 
- Construction of tables, benches and tree nurseries
- Creation of a Community Culture Centre Area (space for workshops, small events and educational activities in the Cultural Area at the center of the park)
- Build a Natural Playground: focus on the interaction of kids with nature while they develop their motor skills. (climbing, logical games, etc.)

And these are our projected costs:

-> creating the tree nursery and purchase good quality baby-tree species and some few more tools we need, will cost:  € 1.200,-
-> Materials, use of tools and workforce to make our own tables and benches for the park plus preparing the respective areas will cost: € 10.000
-> To cover the cost of building Community Culture Centre Area, we need: € 12.800,-
-> To build a natural playground we just need € 1.500,-, mostly for screws, wood connectors and tool's wear-offs.

In total, we carefully calculated the budget needed for this unit: € 25.500,-.

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Wrap-up

If you would like to support our vision and you cannot be here to help yourself, we invite you to help in a different, yet essential way: financing what’s needed for bringing it to reality. Every cent counts and we are many - so we got this!

All the ideas we are combining in this concept neither fell from the sky nor did we reinvent the tire… the development of our vision is the result from countless other’s people genius projects of all sorts of nature that came before us and for which we are so incredibly grateful. Their work has inspired and motivated us immensely. For example, certain documentaries are worth sharing, so we listed a few of those we highly recommend below. 

We already received incredible support from so many wonderful people to get this far. Without each of you, this would simply be impossible. Thank you, volunteers, parents, donators, families - you’re amazing!

With your funding contribution you are supporting a holistic project that is dedicated to the long term development of our environment and society towards a future with promising perspectives, based on real and positive values. On top of that, your support will inspire others to start or support similar projects all around this world. And this is exactly what we’re trying to achieve here. And we can. Because:

Those who act alone add, but those who act together multiply!

Your support will be added to Lalaland’s Book of Honor. This is how your contribution will be documented as part of the Lalaland history and it is how we show gratefulness to everyone who sent their energies in whatever form to this beautiful project.

All in all, we couldn’t be more grateful!

Help us, too, for making a difference today. Donate now!

Thank you so much!


Keep track of the developments and the correct use of your funds at Lalaland through:
Instagram: @lalaland_aljezur https://www.instagram.com/lalaland_aljezur/?hl=de
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lalalandcraveira
Homepage (coming soon): www.lalalandportugal.com

If you have any questions - especially regarding the concrete use of your donation, don't hesitate sending us a message.




Some great documentaries, we really recommend to check. They truly helped us finding our way:


Documentaries:

- David Attenborough - A life on our planet
- David Attenborough - Our Planet
- Leonardo di Caprio - Before the flood
- Al Gore - An inconvenient truth
- Zac Afron - Down to Earth
- Woody Harrelson - Kiss the Ground
- A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity
- Cowspiracy
- The 4th revolution
- YouTube Channel: Happen Films

and many more out there...

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • €50 
    • 15 hrs
  • ROPAC Services 
    • €300 
    • 1 d
  • Hans.Joachim Jonaczyk 
    • €100 
    • 2 d
  • Odila Gaertner 
    • €200 
    • 2 d
  • Jonas Neulinger 
    • €30 
    • 4 d
See all

Fundraising team: Team Lalaland (2)

Lala Land 
Organizer
Raised €2,670 from 21 donations
Eduteam Lalaland 
Team member
Raised €900 from 5 donations
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