One family’s attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way
The catastrophic wildfires which swept through a vast area of Central and Northern Portugal on October 15-16 2017 cut off these valleys and burnt everything in sight, including the quinta. In these valleys alone, 22 families and individuals lost their homes. We were lucky enough not to lose the main building and yurt, but the wee house, greenhouse and the volunteer accommodation and facilities were destroyed.
This moving video was generously made for the entire community by a passing Belgian filmmaker to help us raise funds to rise from the ashes. Quinta do Vale features. I'm the one with the cats in front of what was the wee house.
But we were very lucky in so many ways ...
Nothing was insured, as I'd been told when I made enquiries that it wasn't possible to insure buildings that weren't finished. Neither of the buildings were finished. Although I've recently discovered that information was incorrect, it's a bit too late now ...
(Images can be found on the quinta's Facebook page.)
My daughters set up a small crowdfunding campaign in the immediate wake of the fires to get the quinta back on its feet. This will cover the replacement of burned cables and water pipes, new solar panels, a new chute for the microhydro system and some of the IBC tanks we need to reconstruct the rainwater catchment and vermicomposting sanitation.
If you'd like to contribute to this, the campaign can be found here -
If you prefer to avoid the 5% fees deducted by crowdfunding platforms, you can donate any amount you want directly via PayPal using this button.
If you'd like to support the entire community rather than just Quinta do Vale, go here -
If you'd like to support us with more practical hands-on help, then come and work with us!
All our volunteer accommodation and facilities were destroyed in the fire and housing in nearby villages is mostly occupied by people who've lost their homes. Because of this, we can really only accommodate people who are travelling in camper vans and who are willing to be self-sufficient in food.
The local community here has really pulled together since the fires and we regularly help each other with workgroups. We're also setting up a community tool bank. So you'll get the opportunity to help many others as well as Quinta do Vale. If you have a trade or you're a skilled DIYer, you will be especially appreciated.
At the moment, we're still in the clean-up phase alongside getting essential services like water, power and sanitation back online.
Once the clean-up is done, we'll be looking at constructing the kitchen in the main communal building. We'll also be crowdfunding to replace the greenhouse cover and aquaponics system so we can get the greenhouse and bathroom functioning in time for Spring planting.