The Alpujarra is an ideal place for the development of organic farming, with its geographical location and the quality of the land and water from Sierra Nevada.
In this region, the people had to emigrate away in order to earn a living, because agriculture and keeping livestock did not provide enough economic returns to keep them there. In recent years, however, this has changed, and, largely thanks to the popularity of rural tourism and new settlers from Spain and the rest of Europe, bringing economic improvement and supporting the local community.
Awareness of and respect for the environment and an interest in healthy eating have become very popular in the Alpujarra, and we can highlight the work of a small organic farmers’ cooperative based in Orgiva to illustrate this movement. Las Torcas SCA is involved in the production and distribution of organic products round the Alpujarra and the coastal areas nearby. For the last five years they have been working with farmers in the Alpujarra and as far as Velez Malaga, improving distribution networks and working to increase awareness of the benefits to buying organic produce.
The production base of Las Torcas is primarily fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on almonds, figs and oranges. Commercially they work locally and provincially through small shops and especially from their stall at Orgiva market. They also have an organic box scheme taking fresh produce from Motril to Málaga.
One important part of their work is taking part in the programme to supply schools in the province with organic food and to send produce to other cooperatives for them to distribute in their areas. Working to raise awareness of environmental issues and the importance of buying organic as well as organic agriculture, they have spent the last four years organising workshops and courses in colleges and running fairs for producers and consumers. The next chance to experience one of these gatherings will be the Organic Farming and Artisan fair in Pampaneira from the 9 to 12 of October, where 10 organic producers and 10 artisans will be offering the very best of local produce and crafts. There will be children’s activities, shows, displays and a competition to judge the best local tapa by the town’s bars and restaurants, awarded by the public from score cards they can get from the organisers.
With this and other activities, Las Torcas cooperative is trying to change people’s perspective in their care of the environment, their health and the development of organic agriculture which creates the best opportunity for sustainable development in the Alpujarra.
This post is also available in: Spanish