THE FARM: HISTORY & APPROACH
We bought the land with the aim of creating a biodynamic eco-effective farm and tourism project back in 2005. Rudolf Steiner and William McDonough were both big influences.
It was McDonough, the US-based green architect and philosopher, who coined the term eco-effective to describe a state in which a profitable economy, the fair treatment of people and respect for the natural world can all co-exist. In simple terms, it means giving back to the environment at least as much as we take. Cities, buildings and people can all be eco-efficient, and so, of course, can farms. Rudolf Steiner was the Austrian anthroposopher who first defined an advanced concept of organic farming known as biodynamics.
But our approach is open and experimental, and we actually use a variety of permaculture and regenerative agriculture techniques.
Our first task was to regenerate the soil which we did by establishing a polyculture system based on rotation grazing, water harvesting and no-till agriculture. Our cattle, sheep, goats and horses kindly provide plenty of manure for soil fertility.
“Insist on the rights of humanity and nature to co-exist in a
healthy, supportive, diverse, and sustainable condition.”
LA DONAIRA´S CATTLE: PAJUNA
La Donaira’s cattle are Pajuna, direct descendants of the wild Aurochs (Uro) and the oldest known domesticated breed of cow. Indigenous to Andalucia, they are an endangered species despite being hardy and easy to keep, and protected under the government’s biodiversity protection programme. We breed them because, while not ideal for meat or milk production, they do play an important role in our soil fertility management by producing lots of the king of bioactive fertilisers – manure!