By Blanca Casares, Dehesas and Montados in the Iberian Peninsula project
Asociación Trashumancia y Naturaleza collaborated with the city council of Madrid to organise the annual Fiesta de la Trashumancia Madrid 2019 (Transhumance Festival)—which saw 1800 sheep and 200 goats pass through the centre of Spain’s capital city. Madrid sits on an ancient migration route (drover road) where shepherds would move their livestock south for the winter. The event, now in its 26th year, was successful in creating awareness on the importance of maintaining this ancestral practice of which Spain is a global example and that is a very valuable tool in the fight against climate change and rural depopulation, among other benefits. The herd crossing in Madrid, which took place on 20 October 2019, was complemented with a weekend of workshops, debates, food tastings, music performances for children and adults, and a market showcasing over 30 producers. More than 4600 people visited the gallery where these activities were held.
Photo credit: Pedro Alvera @pedroalvera
32 exhibitors offered “products with value” related to grazing, transhumance and the rural ecosystems and economies that it supports. Items from dehesas and other natural pastures included 100% Iberian Torbiscal pork from Paraje de la Morra farm in Los Pedroches (Córdoba), meat products and sausages from Mundos Nuevos dehesa in Extremadura, De Yerba grass meat and products from the herd of the Casa de Campo de Apisquillos. Other products on display include natural cosmetics by Vivencia Dehesa, artisan and unique cheeses (with products from 10 cheese makers and more than 30 varieties of selected cheese), wool products made from our national Merino wool sheep (black and white merino blankets, 100% wool fleece, felt figures, wool socks, skeins and more), and other organic and locally produced items, such as olive oil from grazed olive trees, eggs, honey, bread, natural wines and pottery.
Additionally, exhibition stands were also set up, among others by Spanish Pasture Society to feature publications related to pastures and the society’s work, and by the Spanish coalition PorOtraPAC, in line with the Good Food Good Farming Campaign, led by WWF Spain and SEO Birdlife.
Photo credit: Blanca Casares
What did we discuss?
Over the weekend, interactive and exciting sessions were held to bring to the public the importance of pastoralism, transhumance for society as a whole, the rural environment, ecosystems and the landscape. Eco La Osa delivered a presentation on their cooperative supermarket project, the first ecological cooperative market in Madrid, and the Observatory for a Culture of the Territory moderated a debate on other consumption models. In another debate, a panel of 8 women presented experiences in the rural world and inspired us to find solutions together for the challenges that women in rural areas face: depopulation, lack of services, generational change, pollution, climate and environmental crisis, etc.
Photo credit: Susana Cabañero @scabanero
Photo credit: Susana Cabañero @scabanero
As follows is the list of workshops and demonstrations held over the weekend:
- Wool workshops with Almudena Sánchez (of Laneras de Extremadura) on how to work the felt, create circular looms and design mini sheep figures;
- Ceramic workshop by Carmen Novez;
- Workshop on the construction of traditional pastoral musical instruments by Luis Paíno;
- Traditional music workshop with Entresierras;
- Workshop of traditional dances and jotas from La Mancha with Paula Rodriguez;
- Childrens workshop on “Birds and transhumance”;
- Storytelling with Elia Tralará;
Weaving by the association of weavers, IAIA.
In addition, tastings and other activities related to quality food offered visitors a chance to learn about the large variety of local products:
- Workshop on pastoral dishes was run by chef Eva López, who delighted visitors with migas, and demonstrated how to make traditional pastoral gazpacho. In addition, pastoral recipes were shared for attendees to try their hands at making the dishes at home;
- Natural wine tasting with Rural Essence;
- Workshop on artisan bread by Amasa;
- Learn and taste workshop on artisan cheeses by QueRed (Spanish Network for Field Cheese and Crafts).
Additionally, visitors were entertained at a music concert by Entresierras, showcasing renowned singer and songwriter Clara Montes, and Jose Luís Montón on guitar. The weekend ended with the symbolic payment of the Maravedis, as inscribed in an institutional act, to the mayor by herders for going through Madrid.
Photo credit: Susana Cabañero @scabanero
ATyN is a leading partner of the Dehesas & Montados in the Iberian Peninsula pilot site project that aims to to consolidate examples of integrated sustainable management in dehesas and montados as cultural landscapes, based on their capacity to provide ecosystem services and enhance biodiversity.
Some sources in English:
In September last year, we set out to observe and learn about migratory birds and their flight paths. Joined by local and international bird experts, we worked alongside the Hima Hammana community to observe the birds that flew overhead, while learning from the experts about bird monitoring processes.
Mobile pastoralism is a major traditional cultural practice in the Mediterranean and a unique example of the constant interaction between humans and nature. Being entirely different in essence to intensive livestock production systems, this practice offers the most sustainable way to make the most of the Mediterranean’s rangelands.
The intangible heritage of our communities and societies contributes a great deal to our culture and identity. The melipasto or melichloro cheese has been an important element of the economy of the island, its gastronomic heritage and the cultural identity of the locals.
Sophia Sifaki from Greece is the winner of the first Mediterranean environmental-themed short story prize with her story The Treasure. Sifaki’s story The Treasure spins an enchanting conservation tale in which a young doctor arrives on the small Greek island of...
Find out who the 2019 Shortlisted Authors are of Rooted Everyday's Mediterranean Short Story Prize. The prize is the first environment-themed Mediterranean writing competition. Its aim is to celebrate and protect the rich culture and biodiversity found in Mediterranean eco-regions.
The story is a collection of fanciful impressions made on the mind of Eliza, the narrator, of
the rustic and simple way of living on the island of Lemnos.
The story begins with the birth of princess Hypsipile and the ancient Greek gods endowing her with grace and gifts of beauty. Aphrodite is the only goddess that shuns her and departs as Hypsipile grows up on the island of Lemnos...
“It was with great joy that I took up the role of the judge on the students’ writing competition. I was caught up in pleasant surprise when I received and read their works, only to discover their true writing potential! All of the young participants, and especially the ones who won, produced exceptional stories, with flowing language and full of imaginative ideas. I felt like I was instantly carried over to Lemnos island, looked upon its landscape, smelled its fragrance and saw its inhabitants."
The Missing Message is a story about a group of animal friends living in a beautiful forest. However, the forest trees are losing their green colour and the river that was once flowing through the forest has completely dried up. The animals are worried to die of thirst. One morning, they all gather to discuss how they are going to survive and if people will be able to help them...
The garbage monster tells the story of two young girls who time-travelled to the future and found planet Earth deserted and in a terrible state: a sea full of oil and garbage everywhere. While they look around at the state of the Earth they meet a monster who is made of all kinds of garbage. He is very angry with humans and the girls quickly learn why...