Biela y Tierra (in English crank and land) is an initiative started by Edurne Caballero and Ana Santidrián who aim to travel almost 3000 km of rural area by bike, and visit more than 80 other initiatives developed in rural areas, related to sustainable eating.
There are projects that are pure poetry: emanating passion all around, making you fall in love at first sight. Exactly what happened to me with Biela y Tierra. In these hectic times of cars invading our space and the media trying to convince us that there is no life beyond cities, Ana and Edurne have purposefully decided to hop on their bikes and show the world that our villages are full of life.Continue reading
Spring is in the air, and a seed is germinating and fighting to grow. On its own, it begins to make its way, breaking earth, little by little, following the rhythms of the sun, it will go on growing. But it needs water to sprout and grow. And if the water doesn’t reach it, it will fight to find it.
like seeds, we too are making our own way. They seem invisible at first, but they grow with the strength of our voices in a place full of life where we never stop forging community through our hands and our words.
We are also part of the life of our villages: the lullaby, the root, the heartbeat. And like seeds which hook onto the wool of transhumant animals and germinate thousands and thousands of miles from their place of origin, we resist and we fight. And we look at those who went before us and we realise why we cannot afford to remain silent.Continue reading
A one-week training course will be organised in the framework of the H2020 EU-funded project Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas (SIMRA) (www.simra-h2020.eu) at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ-CIHEAM) on 18-22 November 2019 to address the importance of social innovation in less-favoured rural areas. Continue reading
Molina de Aragón is located at the heart of the biggest European demographic desert. Re-named as ‘Serranía Celtibérica’, this desert unites rural territories from different Spanish provinces, such as Saragossa, Teruel, Cuenca, Soria or Guadalajara. Having an area double that of Belgium, this desert hosts only 487,417 inhabitants at a density of 7.72 hab/km2. Moreover, this area has the largest ageing index and the lowest birth rate of the European Union, with a population density lower than Lapland. Continue reading
Women, as innovators, participants or beneficiaries, are playing a very relevant role in most of the social innovations collected by SIMRA. From the development of productive cooperatives in Egypt or Turkey to pooling and sharing their knowledge and expertise in the UK or Bulgaria, or setting up schemes to tackle societal issues like waste management in Lebanon or unemployment in Spain and Estonia, women are developing projects that enhance the well-being in their local communities.
Here there is a small selection of examples from our database in which women are protagonists of the social innovations developed in marginalised rural areas across Europe and the Mediterranean:
This article is also available in Spanish here// Este artículo está disponible en castellano aquí.
A year ago this week, I adopted an olive tree. I called it Carmen, after my grandmother. Whenever I want to know about my tree I just need to open an app that I have installed on my mobile phone. I can see pictures of it and whether it has been pruned, or what the local weather’s like, etc.… Once a year I receive two bottles of delicious olive oil. But what I love most, is that for only 50€ per year I am helping to employ people at risk of exclusion, I am helping young people to have a future in their village so they don’t have to migrate to the city, and I am preventing the closure of a local school in a village that, like so many others in inner Spain, have had to face the monsters of depopulation, ageing and loneliness. All at the same time as I am helping to recover hundred-year old olive trees and local traditions and conserve landscapes, care for the land, and support environmental, social and economic sustainability.
This new SIMRA brochure aims at showcasing the diversity of social innovations in rural areas of Europe and the Mediterranean regions. A sneak peek of what you will find in this brochure includes revitalisation plans of a UNESCO site in Slovakia, a renewable energy community trust in the UK, sustainable fishers delivering boxes of seafood to your doorstep in Greece, or a public-private partnership to support dairy producers in Tunisia!
It’s 5 o’clock and the alarm goes off. She has breakfast and, with the radio in the background, she gets dressed for work. Milking starts at 6, but before that she needs to take the cows to the milking parlour. They aren’t many, but with the old facilities they find it hard to get in. Once she’s done, she goes back home, wakes up the children, gives them breakfast, gets them dressed, and takes them to school. Then she goes back to the farm… and resumes her work day. She does so until noon, when she cooks lunch, picks up her children, then takes them back to school, does the afternoon milking, and afterwards she brings the children back home and stays with them until they are tired and drop off to sleep. Sometimes she wishes she had a different life, a different job that didn’t enslave her and allowed her to be more in control.