The move from being a young urban professional to an organic gardener is a profound change. The security of the office environment and the regular salary can bind people for decades (or generations). To many the idea of giving up a job which represents the culmination of years of training or study to go and 'play with soil is daunting, and crazy even to their close family and friends.
And it’s a lot of time. Although authors, such as Masonobu Fukuoka, write that in traditional agriculture people were able to enjoy oodles and oodles of leisure time, Kico and Eloisa, both trained architects, have yet to experience this. They estimate average work weeks of more than 70 hours, and Eloisa laments that she has little time to watch the movies from east Asia that she so enjoys, but that it's worth it. Organic farming is not without it's challenges, and surprises, some good and some bad: while a whole crop might be lost to a pest, an extended tomato season might raise spirits! And after all, gardening is one of very few activities in which over time marginal utility rises (it gets more and more enjoyable).
In early 2012, they decided to start a small gardening project in the far corner of their one hectare plot on the outskirts of Denia, a seaside town of 40,000 in between Alicante and Valencia, planting tomatoes, cabbage, onions, lettuce and celery. At fiirst Kico worked full-time and Eloisa in her spare time. Then, as the economic crises gripped the country, Eloisa was made redundant and was able to devote all her time to the project. Unbeknownst to her at the time, it was a huge blessing: 'everything is so open now, and the future is full of possibilities,' she says. The project grew steadily, organically, and they amassed a wealth of knowledge as they went - as Mollison wrote ‘soil science concentrates very much on what is there (classifications), but not how to evolve soil. Often it is left to amateurs - gardeners and farmers - to create good soil…’ And good soil they have created - now they have large areas of untilled soil, teeming with micro-organisms and producing extremely good quality produce - including cabbage, artichokes, dandelion, mustard, pak choi, four varieties of chard, five varieties of tomatoes (their tomatoes are amazing), radish, basil, fennel, kale… The list goes on and on and on.