At the end of a small unpaved road in central Portugal lies a 150 year old stone olive mill, and a 200yr old olive grove. Sprawling farm houses and a plentiful abundance of fruit trees complete the postcard perfect landscape. And yes, of cousre we are building an organic vineyard.
Its a brain spa, living learning lab and destination for creative change-makers.
This beautiful property is located on top of a valley in a small river-side town of Serra, Tomar. The Quinta (small farm, in Portuguese), has an 2 old farmhouses and a mill that we are lovingly renovating and many different creative spaces.
In total, the farm has over 130 olive, fig, orange, lemon and quince trees. All manner of fruits and a growing organic vegetable garden, where most of the fresh vegetarian food that appears on the farm house table comes from.
The Quinta was abandoned for over a decade before being taken on by the UnSchool as a living laboratory for exploring positive change through creative interventions. We are building a place for our UnSchool programs and a unique off-site facility to share with linkminded organisations for collaborative learning around sustainability, design and systems change.
The idea behind this project is to explore natural systems design, and create a space for global change-makers to connect, regenerate and collaborate on enacting positive impact through creative interventions.
The goal is to facilitate a constantly emerging living laboratory that hosts creative minds from around the world, with curated programming to complement a multitude of collaborative uses.
It's co-creating in the country! With nature as the key educator, and collaberation the fuel for creativity.
We invite contributions from all fields of experimental inquiry and welcome a broad spectrum of people to the new home for the UnSchool of Disruptive Design for activating creative change making.
Nature is a magical mystery to me. I have spent years becoming an expert in social systems and the industrial approaches to meeting human needs, all in the name of helping to solve the impacts that they collectively have on the planet.
I really like this planet. I'm a extremely grateful for all its quirky diversity and abundance. Plants puzzle me, and animals amuse. But the missing piece in my research has been: how do natural systems sustain themselves, evolve, and produce so efficiently and beautifully?
On my quest to figure out how the magic is made, I decided to find a laboratory big enough to experiment with the natural principles that make life.
The quest resulted in taking on an abandoned farm in Portugal, a precious olive and fruit grove that for over 100 years sustained a family with an abundance, but had been left for over a decade and now in need of some TLC.
Trees are resilient, but cultivated trees need support. Some of the olive trees on the farm are over 200 years old, and they possess the character of a wise old grandparents.
Experimenting with nature in the context of this living lab is not about dissecting the parts of what makes a plant grow. It's about understanding the whole, how it all fits together to sustain and regenerate itself.
Humans make linear systems that have negative externalities, but nature makes regenerative systems that adapt to sustain the entire system. As designer and creatives we have the opportunity to discover how to meet human needs in ways that contribuet back to the planet.
I'm excited to share this farm with you, on our collective quest for creative world changing.
As part of this project, we have taken on the old olive mill that for many years pressed and produced the rich olive oil for the region. For the last 50 years, it has been weathered against the elements.
We are working on the restoration plans to sustainably restore and build a unique accommodation and collaborative retreat space in the mill.
The mill restoration project will launch a Kickstarter in late 2017, and we hope to start the build (with the support of our community) in 2018.
Once the mill is ready to host gusts, it will be the UnSchool programs, host curated cultural and creative programs and be available for like-minded organisation to hire for offsites and events.