64 joint Meeting Madeira Consorcio with Andrew`s group

September 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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64 joint Meeting Madeira Consorcio with Andrew`s group 18.9.2014

(no. 63 was the visit to the City Hall)

Hello Team,

This meeting could have been televised, that`s how good it was! We exchanged a great deal of experiences and I think we learned a lot.

I shall try to capture the essential points here.

First, A showed us a part of his Quinta in the middle of Funchal, with around 3.5 ha land. He planted several types of wine for Madeira wine; the harvest is going to B. , this company also takes care of the care and maintenance. The farm also grows herbs, vegetables and bananas.

A has a plan to create a Café and a shop for local products in one of the Quinta entrances. The street is a favorite walk down to town by tourists who take a toboggan ride to Livramento, and then walk down to Funchal. Around 180 people walk down there daily so there would be a good opportunity to have them come in for a coffee.

The visitors could also walk around the farm and visit the sheep (!). A has plans for an old storage facility: he wants to turn it into an art gallery and Ateliers. Important to him: the whole project must be holistic, made up of pieces of nature, art and culture which harmonize with each other. It has to have high quality and would set a good example for other projects.

In the Manor House, A installed Local Lodging for groups, five bedrooms are available. The guests have access to the beautiful garden, with pool, table tennis and tennis. There is not restaurant; the tourists do their own cooking. Ahad good bookings in July and August, with an interesting variety of visitors. With a visit to this one-of-a-kind Quinta, visitors who are sometimes unaware of what they are booking, receive a unique experience in a genuine Manor House with plenty of history and beauty.

Afterwards we sat down in a beautiful pavilion A has on the grounds and discussed our aims, ideas and disappointments with our various projects.

A`s group wants to create an association for the preservation of the natural treasures and culture of the island. Especially Ri, as photographer, has a large archive of photos and films that show how the island looked some decades ago and how it looks now. The degradation of the country side, due to man-made and natural causes and fires, is well visible. He said that that there is good documentation of old times but hat there was a break in the last century. As much of the knowledge and substance is lost, the younger generations do not understand how important it is to preserve this knowledge and the natural diversity and to build on it. The association would aim to plant a seed to educate the population about the treasure we have in this island.

Miis a business man, he told us about his experience with a village in Northern Portugal. He started to buy small ruins there, restored them for Turismo Rural and brought income to the community. He also had them plant flax to weave linen, to produce high quality products for sale to the tourists. He got a classification as National Treasure for the village, and then he ran into trouble. The Mayor did not want to publish the classification because he had plans to install wind farms around the village. Miis not working on this project anymore.

He also had a similar experience with a grape seed project, The machine to crush the seeds (the powder, an expensive product with high profit, has anti-cancer properties) constantly broke down, probably due to bad handling.

What they took away from this experience:

  • You cannot force or compel Portuguese people do to anything they do not want, not even if it is with the best of intentions. Madeira Consorcio members learned the same from (among others) the basket project.
  • We need to pick people up where they are. We need to listen and see what they need.
  • The market is ruled by supply and demand, if there is no demand – in this case, for a solution to a problem – the people will not take up suggestions.
  • On the other hand, demand can be created by creating and marketing a new product.
  • We have to be persistent if we want to achieve something.
  • We have to start new product ourselves, if they are good, the Portuguese will copy it.
  • Projects need luck but Eis convinced that we can make luck happen!

How we can co-operate:

Ehas found an able potter on Madeira who is copying his “Römertopf” pottery (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_pot_cooking). With these pots, everybody can bake healthy, leavened bread in a household oven. He is already teaching a group of kids how to bake bread; he can do that also for a group of children A is working with.

Sacan teach painting techniques to the children. All these activities will give working-class children unforgettable experiences which might move their lives into a different direction.

Although it was a lot about failure, this was a great meeting about new approaches for both Groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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