La Orotava, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Project Duration and Start
1 Year, 2011
What does Tenerife taste like? There are many associations and even more fans of the special island culture and the local delicacies of Tenerife. However, island nutritionists worry about the preservation of the rare agricultural treasures of Tenerife and are committed to implementing a plan designed to preserve 24 endangered local species of grains and vegetables in a first phase project with the support of Futouris member TUI Austria.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. The island encompasses an area of approximately 2,000 km2 with natural, diverse geography including many different agricultural areas with a large diversity of crops. The Orotava Valley is considered the most widely used agricultural area of the island and supports a unique cultural and biological diversity. Since the 1950s the valley is a popular destination for nature lovers and tourists. Unfortunately the natural character of this landscape is threatened by the increase in planting of monoculture crops. Over the past 10 years many of the specialty crops have not only been forgotten, but are now threatened with extinction. Previously, the island was very popular with tourists and naturalists attracted to the many agricultural “treasures.” Many small farmers are now refusing to plant monoculture crops and prefer to cultivate smaller areas with traditional methods and crops; unfortunately they are no longer supported by the island’s official government subsidies.
The nonprofit organization La Trilladora has begun in recent years to support the growth of local crop varieties in order to preserve them from extinction. In addition, encouragement and support is given to the small local farmers who prefer to emphasize ecologically sensitive practices and sustainable farming. Coinciding with the recent support of small farmers has been an increase in popularity in local culinary creations by domestic consumers and a number of Spanish chefs, resulting in the discovery of and interest in new “treasures.” These special “treasures” are also becoming popular for tourists, who return from a vacation with ingredients as souvenirs and enjoy experiencing the tastes of Tenerife in their home kitchen.
The main goal of the project "Tastes of Tenerife" is to rebuild the seed stores of 24 different bean, grain and vegetable varieties unique to the island into a local "seed capital," and provide local farmers the opportunity to sustainably cultivate traditional varieties. Local social and informational networks are supported by accompanying seminars, which provide the opportunity to farmers and experts to share their expertise on local seeds and their use in practice. At the Finca Visitors Garden, visitors can see behind the scenes of organic farming and meet for agro-ecological excursions.
- Cultivation and propagation of seed capital (summer species)
- Signage and creation of an itinerary
- Opening of the Visitor Garden
- Marketing of varieties to the local farmers (after health department tests).
- Sustainable development of typical regional products, such as various dry beans and gofio (a special type of flour) packaged for consumer use with regional organic certification and marked with a souvenir recipe for tourists
- Establishment of a communications platform and building a social network
- Implementation of the summer seminar "Organic cultivation of crop diversity"
- Cultivation and propagation of the species (winter types)
- Creation of a brochure with samples, recipes and information on each type of seed
Project Partner / Coordinator
Project Organization: La Trilladora
Project Coordinator: Sandra-José Kober