Folha Verde is a project initiated and carried out by the local community of around 150 like-minded adults and 50 children, most of whom have moved to the central region of Portugal to be closer to nature and to live a more sustainable life.
The project is situated in a central valley next to the river in Benfeita, which makes it easily accessible for all of those living in the surrounding villages of Luadas, Esculca, Pai das Dona, Pardieiros, Sardal, Monte Frio, Cerdeira, Dreia and those of us living in the wider region between Arganil, Coja and Oliveira do Hospital.
The community consists of people from various backgrounds, cultures and age, bringing an interesting and highly varied plate of skills, wisdom and talents to the table.
Within the community we have artists, musicians, eco-builders, carpenters, linguists, writers, teachers, nutritionists, renewable energy experts, wild food foragers, chefs and alternative health therapists and practitioners, all of whom will be welcome to come and host events and workshops at the Lagar – drawing on this incredible richness and diversity and creating a hub for our unique community.
We value getting together whenever we can to enjoy each other’s company and the wildness of the valleys and rivers – the beautiful natural environment we live in, to exchange skills or share stories. We organise workdays to help each other out on our land as well as working on projects to benefit the community.
The monthly arts, crafts and food market in Benfeita village (every first Saturday of the month) and nearby Barril (every third Saturday of the month) allows us to exchange local and homemade produce and meet to catch up. The monthly open mic night offers a space for our lively scene of musicians and music enthusiasts to come on stage. Many jams happen spontaneously as well as open-air concerts with local bands.
The Lagar building will provide a space for all of those within the community to exchange their skills and talents, which results in a diverse range of exciting community workshops and educational events.
Local foodies are able to share their delicious and healthy creations through pop-up ‘people’s kitchens’ with the larger community. Our local fibre artist, Steffi, hosts workshops in felting, knitting and weaving. There are workshops on foraging and edible plants with Raquel and Laura and creative writing and drama workshops with Roshnii. Yoga teachers Supriya, Fran, Allison and Janet will help keep the community grounded and supple with a varied programme of yoga classes and events.
Our usual monthly community get-togethers such as men’s and women’s groups and meetings about our collective efforts towards the sustainability of the local region in relation to forestry, ecosystem restoration and the water situation could also take place in the Lagar.
Many more gifted individuals reside in the wider region of the Serra de Estrela and the Pinhal Interior, as well as within the international community. We will be able to invite those interested in contributing to the well-being of the natural environment as well as our personal health for a visit to Folha Verde.
If you are interested in exploring the individual projects of some of our local community members who have created an online environment for their work and projects, have a look here:
Wendy // www.permaculturinginportugal.net
Laura // www.awakenedforestproject.org
Lynn // www.avidafausto.net
Roshnii & Supriya // www.confionoparto.pt
Pete & Cynthia // www.awakenedlifeproject.org
Haico // www.magicvalley.pt