Miles is the source of permaculture knowledge in the team. His intense respect for whatever is alive in the land, sometimes makes him want to leave everything as it is, so as not to disturb the life already there. Yet planting and nurturing trees is one positive hopeful action against climate change, and Miles feels very lucky to have this chance.
Javier brings business awareness to this initiative, focusing on planning, legal or administrative matters or accounts. This cautiousness is not incompatible with an impatience to see the land covered with tall trees. He is the first one of us who will spot a dying tree and prepare us for the news.
The second sibling, with Javier, Olga is the reliable partner, always available when an emergency arises. Even when, following her questioning the suitability of a pump we had bought, irrigation finally faulted in the first scorching summer, she was still doing what was needed, in spite of her doubts and misgivings.
The third sibling, Maria oversees the different strands of the project, holding on to a vision of regeneration and sustainability. She loves the land, the area and finding out about its people.
Pablo is the person who has been most deeply involved with the daily tasks in the farm. At times, he has been quite sceptical about some of the permaculture ideas we propose, yet he knows more about native plants, insects, soil, local weather, olive farming or even the underground system of roman water galleries peppered around the area, than any of us together.
Maria Luisa owns the land. Without her enthusiasm and support for the project, we could not have carried this out. In her 80s, you will always see her carrying stones for a water damn, checking whether the plants are surviving the drought or discovering new wild plants or animals.
Alex makes things happen, whether it's organising a team of eight young people from England to get seaweed from Tarifa to Mairena, kickstarting this website, or ensuring that the activities organised for the school visit run smoothly.
Curro has nourished our bodies and spirit many a time. In his restaurant, la venta de los conejos, 500 metres from the land, we have found always a generous welcome, colourful humour, kindness and great food. He does not understand what we are doing but he is fully behind us.
Cesareo is the original founder of an online organic vegetable and fruit business based in the local area, called Dieta Ecologica. When we told him that we wished to commercialise dry figs from the area, he offered to give us 200 cuttings of local varieties, which we have planted. He has a generous spirit and a natural talent for teaching about anything related to sustainable farming.
The faith of this friend in the project is unshakable. She is the witness, recorder and determined participant.