We are coming back from a cold and tiring journey. A plethora of personal and professional circumstances has given us such a capricious insomnia. We are looking for the sun of Lorca's poetry, the water of his fountain, the whitewashed walls, the stillness of 5 o'clock in the afternoon. We arrive at Finca La Gloria.
Finca La Gloria is a permaculture estate boasting an intimate boutique hotel within an intensive agricultural development where art, crops and inner wellness morph into a single philosophical statement. The estate is home to the secrets of Andalusian architecture, which help to trap cold air on hot summer nights thanks to wide stone walls. An Andalusian “patio" connects the different rooms. In the centre, the fountain whispers songs of the soul. The interior design speaks to us of Morocco, of the Alpujarras... and of honesty that only the simple, the authentic, can pour out.
"Soon the jasmine will be in bloom," Daniel Fábrega says as soon as we arrive. He is an architect and one of the dreamers who decided to bet on the creation of a permaculture farm as a business model. We can't wait to find out how they do it and what it means for the future of society. "Sit over there on the swing,” he says. (..............). Indescribable moments.
Between books on plants and architecture, night falls. How long has it been since we last saw the stars? There they are, all together. They seem to line up to look at us while we watch them. They tell us stories of childhood, of infinite tales that don’t imply parables or teachings but are those that we ask for just so we can listen to the whispering voice of the storyteller. Calm is infinite.
"It is about arranging the plants and animals in the earth so that they help each other, feed each other and protect each other from plagues and weeds. Then the magic happens, and the earth regenerates itself," Daniel explains to us in the morning as we walk through the garden they are building. Everyone talks about the concept of permaculture now, but not everyone knows how to apply it properly. Not everyone has the patience and the courage. "You have to be a bit crazy,” he says. "And tremendously generous," - we think. “You have to surrender to the whims of Mother Nature and strip yourself of the weapons that industrialisation has given you. It's not easy.”
This approach also has a positive impact on communities, preserving traditional knowledge, boosting local economies and providing people with better, more nutrient-dense food. Permaculture talks about respecting the land, not using it. Healthy soil is key to efficient food production and the provision of many ecosystem services, such as carbon and water storage. Regenerative agriculture focuses on improving the water cycle, regenerating topsoil and increasing biodiversity. The benefits of this approach are numerous, including the possibility of feeding more people using less land. But as Daniel says, it is not easy. Once again, it is about stripping man of his self-centredness and turning him into a simple gatherer of what nature has to offer.
Carmen is waiting for us at the table. The chef of the finca, Elena, has prepared a delicious menu in which we can taste the food we are watching grow in front of us. Flavours of Andalusia. Flavours of a healthy Earth.
We wonder, could the concept of permaculture be applied to humans? We ask Siri, “What is permahumanity?" Her voice answers, “Positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment plus optimism, physical activity, nutrition and sleep.” Impressive. A nice answer for our minds meanwhile we enjoy a glass of wine. We switch off our mobile phones. We want to listen to life.
It is a new day. We get up too early. Sometimes happiness wakes us up before we would like. We watch the chickens in the distance, their busy comings and goings. They are so funny! Suddenly, with a big, nice smile, Elena Medina enters the scene. She invites us to do yoga with her. She is Wellness Coach and we are in paradise. What a beautiful gift! Wearing completely the wrong attire, we let ourselves be carried away by her. Pure spirituality. Our stay couldn't end any better.
Words: Belvis Soler
Photography: Jens Wittwer