Dio Pigadia was created in 2018 with the aim to put in practice and experiment a sustainable way of living.
Facing the ecologic and energetic crises, it is necessary to find an eco-alternatives and to prepare for the changes to come.
We need to rethink our way of producing and consuming food, energy and materials, and create a space for people to live together in a meaningful way.
At Dio Pigadia we begin by rebuilding the soil.
A different way to consider the soil
As humans, we are now underestimating what might be the most important thing for us: food.
Food production/consumption is today the major cause of ecological problems/health issues.
It is necessary to create a sustainable farming model respectful of the environment.
Organic agriculture might be a step, but in many ways it is similar to conventional agriculture and doesn´t provide structural solutions.
It is a monoculture system where biodiversity is low.
You can´t tell the difference: fields where the ground is processed mechanically, minerals or strongly concentrated naturally extracted products are used as an input to replace the more traditional chemical fertilizers /pesticides, fungicides, herbicides.
Both these methods, traditional and organic, rely on massive inputs of petrol to work the ground and make/import these products.
This is not sustainable.
The mechanical turning of the ground destroys the life in the soil (worms, bacteria, mushrooms…) which are necessary to keep it healthy.
The fertility and productivity of agricultural land has diminished largely in the past 50 years, needing more and more inputs to compensate for it.
When the mechanical work stops, the ground compacts like stone, it is literally dead soil. If you look at the ground in the forest or under a bush in any place that hasn’t been exploited by agriculture, the soil will be much richer and have a proper structure, with air, naturally maintained by the life in the soil.
At Dio Pigadia we focus on regenerating the dead soil. We start by adding organic matter that we use as mulch to cover the ground. This ground cover reproduces a forest´s soil by feeding the micro life and regulating humidity.
It is a compost system on a bigger scale, aiming at bringing back life in the soil – the base of the ecosystem.
Rich soil provides biodiversity. It prevents invasive pests by providing their natural predators just like it happens in nature.
Most of the invasive pests that traditional agriculture fights by pesticides are just a consequence of an unbalanced ecosystem where monoculture and weak biodiversity prevails.
It is therefore necessary to treat the problem at the source by providing a balanced ecosystem where the priority is not short term vision but long term sustainability.
An other way to regenerate the soil is by rotational grazing. The animals (donkeys, sheep, chickens…) are being moved in a mobile system. This replicates nature where animals live in symbiosis with plants.
Modern breeding is source of pollution because the concentration of animals in one place unbalances the system. On the other hand rotational grazing is a source of fertility. It is amazing to see that where the animals passed everything grows better. The animals have “produced” heat, meat, energy and yet there is more fertility after they passed. This is related to the qualitative input of animal manure that re-enrich the soil with bacteria and other elements. There is clearly a relation between the micro flora in the animal´s digestive system and the micro flora of the soil.
Food is the link between living organisms and the soil.
A different way to consider food
Bringing back biodiversity and fertility in the soil assures a rich and complex substrate where plants can find what they need to be healthier and stronger.
When we in turn eat the products of these plants we not only enjoy the delicious taste but also become healthier and stronger by providing our body with qualitative food.
Recent studies have shown how the biodiversity of our intestinal flora is weakening drastically in the last 50 years. This is related to the poor quality of our food as well as the consumption of antibiotics, preservatives or pesticides. This low intestinal flora explains many health problems since our body is not able to breakdown essential vital elements from food.
It also relates to our mental health since there is no heathy mind without a healthy body.
Food is not only a source of good health, it is also quite pleasurable!
We built an extensive outdoor kitchen since an important part of the project is the processing of our production.
We consider food production and food processing as two sides of the same coin.
The diversity of cultures that meet in Dio Pigadia reflects in a variety of recipes inspired by local products and the variety of our production.
Come discover the food here, it is world´s cuisine at it´s best!
We are also encouraging the revival of traditional food preservation such as drying, canning, and salting. We produce a variety of transformed food, from our world famous homemade spicy ketchup to marmalades, dried fruits, ratatouille… The list is long and evolves over the seasons!
A different way to manage energies and resources
When starting the project in 2018, it was aimed to build all facilities by ourselves using mostly upcycled materials.
The first step was to establish a fully equipped workshop (80 m2 building available on site), enabling the construction of the necessary infrastructures.
It was observed that the workshop encouraged creative approaches and design innovations from outside helpers. Learning how to use tools, how to design and how to build with available materials is an essential part of the project. People need to know how to use their hands to repair and build things.
Solar energy, rainwater harvesting, and gravity systems have been installed on the site. The facilities themselves are intended to be part of a resilient and ecological approach.
For example, a plant nursery that is built out of recycled windows is combined with a shower, as these two functions are mutually beneficial (humidity, warmth, and water control).
Dry toilets contribute to soil fertilization.
Natural building techniques are used for construction such as a wood oven or the greenhouse. Cob (mix of hay and clay) is a natural material available on site. We use it extensively and enjoy working a magic material that is fun, easy and healthy to work with!
Building with cob makes for great moments of fun work where everybody participates, older and younger, bringing people together!
A place for people to find themselves around a common dream
The project is evolving on a more social level with the participation of so many volunteers. There are on average 10 people on the site. People get to know and understand each other by sharing so much. We are open minded and don´t discriminate. It is a place of exchange.
Organizing the living and working together has become a fun and exciting challenge. Community living involves an exchange of knowledge, practices, and general life experiences. This sharing has now taken a central place in the project.
As this is a pioneer project, the role of education is central. We see it above all as a process of learning together, encouraging everyone to find their place, according to their interests and skills. We try to give great autonomy to the volunteers participating so that they are fully involved in the project and can take responsibility.
It is inspiring to see so many people interested in the project. Many leave with the will to establish similar projects in the future.
People often come with a need to find meaning, they have felt loneliness and are burnt out or just disillusioned by the standard urban lifestyle and modern values. They need a place to share, a place for bonding, for dreaming.
They come here tired and leave full of good energies, thankful for the experience. This might be the main function of a project like this, to heal and give hope.
Dio Pigadia is a public and open space that encourages bonds with the local community. Local villagers or tourists often come to visit, discover the project and meet the volunteers to share a rich moment of exchange.
We organize social events (Open Day every friday) and want to be sharing as much as possible to inspire similar projects and practices.
In the future, we imagine many possibilities and dreams: opening even more to the public, inviting specialists of different fields to make seminars and workshops or even rebuilding an old traditional olive oil mill for people to visit.
After 3 years it is hard to believe what has been achieved here. It has become a place of hope for the future where people get inspired and believe in an alternative for the future.
We aims to rebuild the soil in an ecological approach but also the human substrate, the bonding between people.
This can happen if people get together, work together, dream together. Come to Dio Pigadia and help us make it reality!