Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

“We started with a small edible forest, but we wanted more chaos.”

  • Aner Garitaonandia and Oihane Lekunberri have been living and working for years in Atxondo's Biezko farmhouse. “We were street people, I studied business and tourism, but I didn’t like that world…”, explains the producer. Lekunberri, however, carried out studies of environmental sciences and agroecology and political ecology in Catalonia, and returned eager to start this activity. Production of baskets with organic vegetables produced in the orchard began in 2007. At present they combine production with the activity of agrotourism and stress that they do so with humility and that they still have much to learn.

20 May 2024 - 04:00

Since its inception, Biezko’s members have worked the land with animal traction and the donkey accompanies them. In addition to the vegetables for cesteria, during these years fruit trees have been planted: apples, nuts, plums… “We have all put together the returnee”, the producer stressed. In addition, Lekunberri works with medicinal plants such as creams, cosmetics, phytic gynecology, etc.

For many years they have also produced eggs, but they have denounced that the government’s obstacles have constantly hampered the activity: “We have been the smallest egg producer in the state in the last fifteen years, but last year we were discharged for problems with the administration”. They say that small productions like yours have more obstacles than aids. “It is sad that the Administration is constantly blocking.”

Syntropic agriculture

Over the years, new systems and agricultural elements have been progressively implemented in Biezko in favour of a more biodiverse model. “About 15 years ago we started with the edible forest, according to the technique of Martin Crawford,” explains Garitaonandia. Later, after a few small floods, the vegetable garden hydrology began to work with a keyline design so that the water would flow more slowly in the grounds. “There we started to design rows and canals, to work the vegetable garden with curves, and in those curves we planted bushes and trees…”, explains the producer. They began experimentally and almost unconsciously flooded the area with trees, shrubs and vegetation.

“Three or four years ago, we met the syntropic agriculture and realized that what we were doing was quite similar,” he said. Syntropic agriculture shares many elements with permaculture. “Large densities of trees and plants are introduced but in rows. Fast-growing trees are also used for subsequent felling and grounding, for pruning in the soil, for attracting fungi and microorganisms…”. They stress that, in any case, their system is very deteriorated; as they have learned from the mistakes made, they still have much to improve. As with permaculture and biodynamics, the challenge and intention is to continue learning and deepening. “Agroecology for us is a utopia of Galeano, a path for what we will never reach.”

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