ABOUT THE CO PROJECT

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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:

  • Sustainable Living

  • Creative Optimism

  • Regenerative Agriculture

  • Eco Tourism

  • Creative Change-Making

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

 
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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

Opening TIMES

We are open for the 2019 summer season from June 1st to October the 31st. 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. Openings after November 1st will be announced in our winter program, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter below to stay up to date. You can read blog on Visiting the Farm to find out what to expect and how to get here.