66 Meeting Madeira Consorcio 13.11.2014

Nov 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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66 Meeting Madeira Consorcio 13.11.2014


We had another inspiring meeting, and although we touch on some difficult thruths, I think we all came away with some good insights.

In regards to the Association for the promotion of Madeiran Culture and Nature, U. told the group about S.P., He is a retired owner of a shipping business . He created a socio-cultural foundation for Madeira in a renovated building  with an art gallery, housing his own permanent collection and offering the space to artists (this would be good for Ri`s photos and S`s paintings) The Uniao Budista da Madeira had a meditation workshop in there recently. Mr. P.give the space for free. He seems eager to fill the house with other social and cultural events. U. will set up a meeting with him, to introduce Ri, who could have an exposition of this wonderful photos – he showed us some –and maybe get his support for his planed book and movie. Mr. P. might also be interested to support such initiatives with funds.

The idea of the Association in itself is to promote such events which preserve the history and nature of the island. However, the group is not keen to undergo the process of creating an association – too bureaucratic – and keep it simple as an informal group.

U. said that the “Clube de Praticantes”, also a legal entity in Portuguese law, has a much easier set up but is only allowed for sports organizations. It would be filling a gap for small groups to establish an identity by opening this array to other non-sportive groups, something to be suggested to the Simplex initiative.

We talked about Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) to obtain funds for the film Ri. has in mind. Kickstarter is a platform to get funds from individuals for individual projects which don`t have to be repaid. Usually the applicants pledge to give their donors a small token of appreciation, e.g. a Pottery company may send them a coffee cup after the projects is up and running. It is important for this to have a good exposé on the website to explain the project with a few words and good photos and to get the donor community excited.

We spoke about the upcoming tax on plastic bags in the supermarkets. This may be to educate people to avoid using the bags, it may be to get money for green projects (probably not true). In U`s view, this might be an opportunity to boycott the state: by not buying the bags, this way the state would not obtain any extra income from it.

U. is looking for the point on which the Portuguese will really start a revolution; she sees much discontent and anger.

The (mostly illegally built) houses on several islands in front of Faro may turn into such a powder keg soon; there the poor people are supposed to have their illegal housing destroyed, and the well-off are going to keep theirs.

An.is of the opinion that the majority of people are content and that such a revolution will not come along, and that the population should not be compelled to think into this direction. The motivation isn’t there.

D. said that people who are annoyed with the situation in Portugal and the lack of social mobility, and can leave, leave the country. Only the poor and more or less ignorant stay behind, and they are easily manageable.

S. said that we live in a feudal society, like hundreds of years ago. E. knows of an important person in Valor Ambiente who successfully sabotages an OmegaEco (http://www.omegaeco.com/) Project for Funchal because he is afraid to lose his comfortable spot and salary.

We spoke of the EcoVillage idea. U. said that these villages have to have rules, An. is against it, he says such communities can work on a organic self-organized level. One example is Scoraig (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoraig and www.scoraig.com). An.visited the place and lived there for some weeks.

Such places are self-organized, technically they are anarchy but not a chaos (Wikipedia: “Anarchy refers to a society without a publicly enforced government”)

This is an interconnected and informal society where all members pitch in together, for instance to fund a boat ferry to the mainland, to pay the postman, the school teacher etc. All members are responsible for the whole community. A person’s good name is important, if a person doesn’t return a borrowed tool, the others will stop borrowing to him/her

Note from U: Daniel Quinn is the author of several philosophical books (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_%28novel%29). He describes the life of the “Leavers” who do not interfere and abuse nature, such as in Scoraig (and in my view, also the Amish), and the lifestyle of the “Takers” who dominate our so-called “civilization”. She strongly recommends to click on the Wikipedia and read the excerpt: She thinks this summons up what Scoraig and the Amish communities are about.

E. has Daniel Quinn`s book “My Ishmael” at the moment; it may be freely borrowed by others in the group!

E. introduced M.the Potter, and showed his replicas of the “Römertopf” which can be used to bake bread. M.needs a 15 m2 space to work (the kiln is somewhere else); An. will see if he can give him a space in the Quinta.



64 joint Meeting Madeira Consorcio with Andrew`s group

Sep 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.











Madeira Consorcio meeting 26.8.2012

Aug 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Posted in Posts | Leave a comment
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English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage

English: Stevia rebaudiana foliage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Madeira Consorcio meeting 26.8.2012 English version below

Tivemos uma troca interessante, também com alguns novos membros.

Nós provamos um azeite espanhol, misturado com limão. Este é um exemplo de um produto, vem em garrafas pequenas, uma boa lembrança, e é vendido, junto com muitos outros óleos, no internet.
Esmeralda nos trouxe folhas de estévia, a substituição de açúcar entrar em moda no momento.

Ursula informou sobre os contatos com duas empresas alemãs que são de interesse em plantas aromáticas secas e fibras para produtos de plástico.

Um membro destacou que a maior vantagem que os espanhóis têm mais de Portugal é que eles sabem como distribuir bens. Eles podem ter frutos de baixa qualidade, mas são muito bons em vender tem toda a Europa.

Parte do grupo visitou o lugar estufa de Nelson no sábado. Foi uma troca muito interessante e um boa experiência! Nós aprendemos sobre a sua maneira de compostagem e como construir paredes de flores, e encontramos uma infinidade de sementes, frutos e plantas.

Negócio em Geral:

Devemos explorar os básicos dos projectos do Gonçalo: para ver os problemas e como podemos superá-los.

Temos de discutir o cambio tempo / crédito. Poderiamos testar esse intercâmbio dentro do grupo, e depois aumentá-la.

O grupo já atingiu um bom tamanho, temos uma lista de membros ativos do grupo e também alguns adeptos, que devido a uma série de viagens, não podem participar frequentemente nas reuniões, mas podem ser chamados a ajuda quando se trata de investimentos e impostos,

Portanto, falávamos sobre a necessidade de formar uma entidade, para ser capaz de ir a público com nossas idéias e apresentar um rosto adequado ao público.
A partir de outubro, vamos dividir os grupos em dois: O grupo Agricultura continuará nàs quintas-feiras, e o Negócio em Geral e grupo de Turismo vai reunir-se em outro momento. Desta forma, cada grupo pode se concentrar melhor em sua área

Madeira Consorcio Meeting Minutes 23.8.2012

We had an interesting exchange, also with some new members.

We tasted Spanish olive oil, pressed together with lemon. This is an example of a good product, it comes in small bottles, good as a souvenir, and is sold, together with many other oils, sold on the internet.

Esmeralda brought us Stevia leaves to taste, the sugar replacement coming into fashion at the moment.


Ursula reported on the contacts with two German companies who are interest in dried aromatic herbs and fibers for plastic products.

Dennis pointed out that the biggest advantage the Spaniards have over Portugal is that they know how to distribute goods. They may have low quality fruit but they are very good at selling all over Europe

Part of the group visited Nelson’s hothouse place on Saturday. It was a very interesting exchange and experience! We learned about his way of composting and how to build flower walls, and we encountered a multitude of seeds, fruits and plants.

Business In General:

We should explore the basics for Gonçalo`s projects to see where the problems lie and how we can overcome them.

We need to discuss the time/credit exchange. We could test such an exchange within the group, and then enlarge it.

Upcoming changes in the structure:

The group now has reached a good size, we have a list of active group members and also some adherents who due to a lot of travel, cannot participate often in the meetings but can be called upon to help when it comes to investment and taxes,

As of October, we shall split the groups in two: The Agriculture group will continue to meet on Thursdays, and the Business in General & Tourism group will meet at another time. This way, each group can focus better on its area.

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