UNIQUE FARM EXPERIENCES IN CENTRAL PORTUGAL
Contemporary Sustainable Living
We look forward to welcoming new guests interested in exploring the following core concepts through hands-on farm experiences:
Practical and Contemporary Sustainable Living
Creative Optimism and Applied Creative Change Making
Regenerative Agriculture and Small Scale Sustainable Farming
Eco Tourism and Nature Based Adventures
Vegetarian and Vegan Cooking Classes
Beautiful rustic sustainability designed guesthouse and retreat facility
Down a winding unpaved road, in the mountain town of Serra, Tomar, Central Portugal lies a lovingly converted turn of the century olive farm. Dr. Leyla Acaroglu took on this once dilapidated and abandoned farm and founded the CO Project as an ambitious living and learning laboratory to apply her expertise in sustainable design and learn directly from being in relationship with nature
Since June 2017, the sustainable design and restoration has been underway with a team of skilled local craftspeople and a host of international volunteers. The CO Project Farm is now ready to host people interested in learning about systems regeneration, sustainable living and creative change-making.
Steeped in history, this once-abandoned corner of the world is now a unique creative and cultural experience: a Brain Spa for creative optimists
WHY LEYLA STARTed THE CO PROJECT
CO Project Farm Founder, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu, is an award-winning designer, TED speaker, UNEP Champion of the Earth and social entrepreneur. The CO Project is all about creating a space for experiential learning that demonstrates and activates creative optimism as a tool for addressing real-world problems, such as those addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN.
“Nature has long been a magical mystery to me. In the first part of my career, I spent years becoming an expert in social systems and the industrial solutions we have made to meet human needs, all in the name of helping to address the man-made impacts they’ve collectively had on the planet.
I really like this planet. I'm extremely grateful for all its quirky diversity and abundance. But the missing piece for me has always been this: how do natural systems sustain themselves, evolve, and produce so efficiently and beautifully? How does nature solve its own problems gracefully?
on my quest to figure out how all the magic is made, I decided to find a laboratory big enough to experiment with the natural principles that make life.
My quest resulted in taking on a disused farm in the center of Portugal, a precious old olive and fruit grove that for over 100 years sustained a family with abundance, but had been abandoned for over 15 years.
Experimenting with nature in the context of this living lab is not about dissecting the parts of what makes a plant grow, or a farm flourish. It's about understanding the whole, how it all fits together to sustain and regenerate itself. How we can also do the same individually and collectively.
Humans make linear systems that have negative externalities, but nature makes regenerative systems that adapt to sustain the entire system. As designers and creatives we have the opportunity to discover how to meet human needs in ways that contribute back to the planet. This is my goal with CO: to help foster more creative optimism.
I'm excited to share this farm with you, on our collective quest to design a sustainable and regenerative future that works better than today.”
VISITING THE CO PROJECT FARM
We are open from June 2019 offering pre-booked eco-tourism experiences and local accommodation. We have open days once a month, and all admission is with pre-reservation only. Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate visitors who have not registered for an on farm experience before arriving, so please choose a farm experience to join us on. Sign up to our newsletter below to stay up to date.