This time we visited different farms and greenhouses in the area of Tejina and Valleguerra, in North Tenerife. This visit was possible thanks to Ataretaco Foundation and to our guide this day: Manolo. Ataretaco is a big organization specialized in integral formation, social and labor integration of disadvantaged groups and the environmental protection.
We began our visit in the greenhouses of Cuplamol, a company that prepares seedbeds, especially bananas and papayas’ for their later commercialization. The facility uses water from rain falling on the greenhouse, it is collected for later use in irrigation. We have observed different varieties of banana in a plantation with constant 60% humidity and a temperature between 20 and 35 °C. Then we visited a papayas‘ greenhouse where we can see and taste the different varieties of papayas that are planted in the Canaries. In this two facilities there are young inmigrants learning and working thanks to the social commitment of these companies.
The mayority of these ecological bananas and papayas are exported to european countries, thanks to the facilities of the European common market stablished in the Treaty of Rome. Moreover, the internal market also benefits imports; for example, papayas production uses peat and humus to nourish the soil and it is brought from Lithuania.
Then we visited Tomás at his farm, who showed us how the banana crop, with its foliage, feed cabbage, onions and other vegetables planted around it, using water and soil nutrients. This alternative technique of cultivating various vegetables at the same time in the same land contributes to maintain the soil healthy, saves wather and makes a better use of the space. This ecological vegetables are bought by a five-starts-hotel; do their clients know that they eat ecological and healthy vegetables?.
Later Manolo introduced us to Carlos, who also owns a greenhouse and showed it to us just at the time of collection. He explained us the process of cultivation of bananas in the traditional way and how to collect them. The dry foliage is used to feed Ana’s goats and they nourish the land with their excrements, closing the circle in a process where everybody wins.
We visited Ana, a stockbreeder and cheese maker of the area. She uses the banana leafs to feed their goats, nor artificial fodder. She produces one of the best local fresh and smoked cheeses, a natural product made of goat milk and just a little of rennet and salt.
We finished our visit and we move into Manolo’s place, a neighbour farmer. He surprisingly offered hospitably his house to us. In a room we taste cheese made by Ana, fruits of the area, good wine and gofio. A perfect ending for the tour.
With those visits we had learnt about ecological agriculture, but also we met an Ataretaco project to integrate young inmigrants into their new society, giving them the chance to work here or in back in their country. At the moment they are working with 6 youngsters who are learning how to cultivate ecologically, as a way to have a future working for companies here or return to their countries and contribute to develope their national economy through traditional agriculture. That project is funded by the European Social Fund. In addition, two of the spanish participants are part of this project.
Thanks to all participants and those who have opened their doors to complete this tour, giving us the opportunity to see different projects of local organic farming, local trade and integration of young immigrants. A working example of a more sustainable way of doing things.