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Showing posts from July, 2022

On to number two

Thrilled with our first empty village visit we went on to number two. It was about two hours drive and as we had some spare time we stopped at a small nearby village, Poza de la Sal. A small but nice middle aged village. With a tiny square with one bar and a tourist office. I went there and asked Maaike to join so we could ask about the place in Spanish. Luckily the nice guy spoke very well English. So we told him we wanted to build a food forest. He looked really happy and told us he was setti a festival Artim. Which was about regenerative farming and community building around new ways of growing food and taking care of the land. Besides that he gave us about five phone numbers of Dutch people living in the area which were also living in empty villages and or working with land.  After that amazing coincidence we drove on to village nr 2.    An older man came by car and started to talk to me, I redirected him to Maaike as I could not speak Spanish, and she could. He said the price was

First of two

After two Corona years we finally could go to Spain. From our online search we had two empty villages on our list. Both about 10 ruïnes big, at least so I thought. As Vitoria Gasteiz is in the middle we rented a b&b there. Of course an empty village does not have public transport so we first needed to pick up our rented car. And that is easier said than done. It was half an hour walking to get there, luckily our little ones had a step with them. Although I had my creditcard, drivers license and ID with me, we could not get the car; I also needed my creditcard pin code which I had never used before. I pay with my watch or online without it. The creditcard company could give me my pin code, within a day by post to my home address. So that did not work. We went to another company which on the phone sounded more relaxed. While walking, Maaike discovered a rental app for private renting. As I had all my cards with me Maaike could fill in the application within minutes. While waiting we

Pueblos abandados

Ardbol started on 14 March with a first meeting with Liselotte after a week there was an other woman, Matricia, joining but within day's both already left. Leaving Maaike and me alone, back to finding new help. In June I noticed that a woman in the meeting of climate cleanup had a foreign last name, so I asked her if she could speak Spanish. Although her parents are German and Italian and she lives in Holland she also had room in her head for speaking Spanish, amazing! Besides that she studied biomimicry and had a lot of drive and energy. So with the new miniteam we started to have general meetings and Yasmin gathered a lot of information. She brought us into contact with a couple of people and we worked on getting the idea behind Ardbol more concrete. A first aim was to find about 10ha of land with some ruins on it. Because of the Corona time we could not got to Spain so we mostly did work online. Doing courses, following webinars and searching land to buy. Yasmin came across an a

Aardbol + Arbol = Ardbol

As we were getting used to the idea of going to Spain, our normal life was going on. Maaike had the opportunity to create a food forest in a land owned by the ProRail company. As a rail company they have a lot of land and a portion of it is not in use. During this project she connected local inhabitants to food forest builders.  At the end of 2020 Maaike asked me to join her on working on our plans for the food forest in Spain. She was learning Spanish and helping realizing the food forest project within her company, while I was focused on my programming work. I replied that because of our kids we could not go to Spain until 2025, at that time five years away. If I would start now it would go too fast, I'm not good at going slow. But she was right that working together was nicer. So we did. Screenshot of first website made by Maaike So I too started to read more on food forests and joined online groups, like climate cleanup. Although Maaike progressed fast with her Spanish, in orde

Poco a poco

After we decided to go to Spain we realised that we could not start packing yet. I had the shared custody of two kids, so we needed to stay in Amsterdam for about 8 more years. Hence we first focused on tasks we could do while living in Holland.  We followed a house building course, read books about food forests and of course! On our holidays we went to Spain. First we went to Catalonia, where we visited many places and looked around. There, our interest to buy something was already awake. This area was really beautiful and had a lot of green areas. But we were looking for the drier part of Spain. Later in 2018 we went to Olite where we found more of what we were looking for. Land which was dry and where there was not much life left after all the ploughing. The land seemed not to be in use any more and the only thing which was green was this sole tree.  We were on the right track... Maaike started to learn Spanish and we were focused on getting financial independence. I was working for