Tuesday, 15 April 2014

BEE HAPPY!


Last week we achieved more than we hoped and the session culminated in a beautiful mind map of some of the things the Hive stands for (see picture).

We managed to create a new accounting system, meaning we will be better able to control budgets, and we agreed on a name for our cooperative: The Hive - Cultural Activities Cooperative, CRL , shortened to the Hive Cooperative.

Our mission statement is:

To promote cultural eco-friendly activities for the development of the local community.

We have started looking into crowd funding and are keen to get started, so please get in touch if you know anyone who has had success in this area.

We started our first talks with local bee experts on setting up bee courses. In the future we will take bee products from our hives, taking us to the very essence of what we believe: that the food found in nature is there for us to sustain and satisfy us.

Bee hives give us a perfect example of what aim to do: to use our local environment to provide us with food. In the future we will produce and distribute delicious products each month, including chestnuts, mushrooms, olive oil, fruit and vegetables.

Keep it local. We encourage people to sell their goods through the co-op, thereby supporting growers in the 100km radius of the Hive, and giving healthy, ethical choices to shoppers in the wider community.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

We are a few days in to the three month trial period and things are going well.

As mentioned last week, our main three aims for this period are:
• To set up the cooperative.
• To look into fundraising to cover the two year plan.
• To begin to put in place whatever structure necessary to make the land productive once again and to repopulate the village of Rossaio.

With the last aim in mind, we are busy drumming up recruits, new and old to come along and join us. Experience has taught us that word of mouth is the best way to get the right volunteers; people with initiative that can inspire and be inspired.

It’s a beautiful time in the mountains: spring is in the air and the last of the April showers should soon be behind us. There is already the excitement of fruit trees blossoming and edible treats cropping up in the garden, and there is lots of work that needs doing, from planting and tending the gardens to creative initiatives.

But what we need most is to start making better contact with experienced permaculturalists who would like to come along and get involved. Those with the ability to train others and maintain independence are most welcome at the Hive. We also welcome you highlighting other similar projects to us, as we would love to liaise with them.

We know that lots of permaculture people aren’t on facebook, so you can help us out by letting them know about what we are doing out here. Or introduce those of your friends who are on facebook to the Hive’s page.

So if you or anyone you know fancies a fresh air break, please get in touch and feel free to share the Hive’s contact details.

And don’t forget, we can always offer ethical investment opportunities!

Happy spring time everyone!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

At the Hive we’re really excited that our three month trial period begins on Wednesday! We are happy to announce that we also have all five signatories for the cooperative, and that three of them are Portuguese! This is particularly good news, as one of the objectives for this period is to engage more with Portuguese folk on all fronts. We are aware that this has been a shortcoming of ours, and we’d really like to make up for lost time. We are busy getting all of our information translated over to Portuguese language, and are glad to say that we already have several Portuguese volunteers booked in to stay with us!

We are aware that it takes time to re-jig a project, but all involved are putting in the energy to turn the Hive into the hub of creativity that it should be.

The main three objectives for this period are:
• To set up the cooperative.
• To raise funds to cover the two year plan.
• To put in place whatever structure necessary to make the land productive once again and to repopulate the village of Rossaio.

All five new signatories are taking part in the trial period, three of whom will be working together on a weekly basis in our newly built space. Thanks to our supporters and investors, we are getting a regular income for the first time in the Hive’s history! With the administration costs being covered too, we are open-minded as to where this trial period will take us.

Do you have experience of working on the land? Are you skilled in training volunteers? Do you have the initiative and drive to see projects through from start to finish? Are you community minded? We are looking for anyone with permaculture, sustainability or any other land-based or building skills to join us, either for shorter stays of one or two months, or for longer stays of a year or more. In return for two or three days work per week, we can offer food and accommodation as well as a small sum of money to the right people, budget provided. We are willing to be very flexible in this, so if you or anyone you know has the skills we need, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Hive was approached by another potential investor this week who was interested in learning more about the formal structure of the Hive, and it occurred to us that other people might also be interested in learning more.
The Hive as a concept was first formulated in 2008, inspired by ideas generated after Ray started Talamh Housing Cooperative in Scotland with four other people in 1993. Talamh is still thriving and we wanted to start something similar in Portugal.
We came across the abandoned village of Rossaio in 2008, and went on to buy eight ruins in the village and 21 articles of land in the surrounding area. It quickly became apparent which four houses would be more appropriate to communal living: the ones lying in very close proximity to each other.
After initial topography surveys were taken, it also became clear that certain woodlands should be set aside for communal ownership. The majority of the other articles, such as south facing terraces, are more suitable for food production and permaculture, and therefore would also be included in the communal package. We have taken the initial steps of setting up a legal framework; a cooperative. This will enable long-term security along the principles of communal ownership.
There are two options here for potential investors. The first option is to be one of ten individuals investing up to £10,000 to enable the Hive to secure its communal package. Several investors have taken this option, and some of them have already been partially paid back. The remaining investors have been incredibly supportive in promising amounts if and when needed. It is also possible to pay investments in instalments.
A second option is available to those who wish to invest more money. Larger sums can be used to purchase or rebuild one of the other ruins as a multifunctional space. Investors are free to visit, and utilise the space at given times. These spaces can be used for workshops, seminars and other activities.
So please feel free to get in touch if either of these ideas is of interest to you. The Hive is also happy for volunteers to come and get stuck in.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


The sun hasn’t stopped shining all week and the Hive is happy to announce that we have been given the green light by all investors. We would like to thank the three individuals who have invested the amount necessary for us to run a trial period for three months, beginning on 3rd April. This will enable us to test different ways of raising funds, such as crowd funding. If anyone out there has experience of such ventures, or knows someone who does, please don’t hesitate to get in contact and share your experiences. There are many areas we want to explore during the trial period, including looking at the people who have been involved in the past, and making it easier for people to be involved in the future.
Our biggest motivation is to make it easier for people to live here on a permanent basis. The best structure we have come up with is to have a cooperative which will create transparency and simplify things so that people are encouraged to take responsibility for certain projects within the Hive. By the end of the year we hope to have transferred the title of the communal buildings to the cooperative, creating long-term security and peace of mind for all involved.


We are always on the lookout for volunteers, but the Hive uses volunteers in direct response to its needs. Because of the structure of the trial period, we are currently looking for people with skills in organisation and much of our time will be spent on administration. Because of this, we are not able to teach at the moment, but we welcome permaculturalists and gardeners with initiative to come along with ideas and help improve the project.
Spring is a time of change and growth and here at the Hive we are on a real drive to change the structure of how things are done here.The ultimate objective is to get more people living on the land on a permanent basis.



Over the past five years, eight individuals have donated us money. People gave between £1000 and £8000 which proved really helpful in allowing us to procure property and get the project up and running. We are now looking at moving the Hive into the next chapter of its existance.
One of the main priorities here is re-building the ruins that exist already in the village, but in order to do this, we need more funding. So we are researching various legal structures which would entitle us to apply for bigger grants. We are considering a non profit-making legal structure such as a cooperative which would widen the net for future funding.
One of the main advantages of a cooperative would be to enable the Hive to register the most important land and buildings, giving them communal ownership and security for the future. This would give shared responsibility for the Hive to members of the cooperative.
To help us achieve these goals, we are running an initial three month trial period from April 3rd to July 3rd. This will act as a thinktank; a time to generate ideas and run feasibility studies. We will crowdfund in order to keep the flow of funding coming to enable all initiatives started to be realised in the following year. All of our ethical investors have shown their support of this initiative, and a big shout goes out to the two that have secured two thirds of the loan needed for the trial period. We just need a final investor to lend us £1000 to help us achieve our objectives and we are confident that we can achieve our goals.

Brainstorm

It's the beginning of 2014, and we are currently looking over our achievements of the past year. Despite having less money and less volunteers than in previous years, we sill managed to finish building the office floor and roof in 2013, meaning we now have a beautiful multi-purpose space in which to hold workshops and events. We have also started paying back the initial investors, and are happy to have the support of two new ones.

And now it's time to move on. The Hive is looking to employ like minded people to get involved in some of our projects. We can offer food and accommodation as well as a small salary to people with the relevant abilities and outlook. At the moment, we are looking for skilled workers in all areas of permaculture and building, although in the future there will also be provision for those with a desire to learn to work alongside us.

This year we would like to liaise with similar projects, and to help us do this, we are looking for a project manager/administrator. Another priority is fund raising. We would like to continue to pay back the original investors, and plan to look to crowd funding to do this. We are also considering creating a cooperative or something similar to assist us with the funding.




Ways in Which You Can Help
Make a contribution. (We are looking for both short and long term ethical investment)
Come out and get involved in the project.
Share this link with your friends on facebook or other social networking sites, or tell your friends about what we are doing.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Calling all permaculturalists!

The Hive may have the perfect opportunity for you. Settled along a scenic ridge in the Ceira valley in Portugal, this permaculture project is looking for enthusiastic and land loving folk to come spend some time looking after the place. The Hive enjoys a peaceful rural setting, though the area is a magnet for Northern Europeans looking for a simpler lifestyle.

The project has internet access, renewable energy (solar), multi-functional open plan space, large kitchen dining area, a couple of caravans and plenty of room for tents. These would all be made available for the duration of your stay.

What we would like from you is to water and tend to the various growing areas including a poly tunnel, greenhouse, various raised beds etc. But most importantly, Queen Bee - the Hive cat, recently brought 5 kittens into the world which would need some TLC. This would roughly consist of 1-2 hours of work per day.

Ray (project manager) will be in the UK to take care of the links back home, raise some funds, and get out and meet like minded people through his work with Greenpeace at Glastonbury. He will be away for 6 weeks, from the end of May until July. The length of time that you were able to commit to can be negotiated, but to be here for 6 weeks would be best.

If you would like to know more about The Hive, have a look at our website at www.thehiveportugal.org. If you are interested in the position, please email Ray as soon as possible, at info@thehiveportugal.org, leaving phone or Skype details so that Ray can give you a call.

Please pass this on to any like minded people you know, as this is a matter of some
urgency!

We look forward to hearing from you,
All at The Hive

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Birthday Bash

Thank to all who made it to the celebration of our 5th Birthday.

It was a great night made possible by all. Big thanks to Kate & Giles for the music and please continue to spread the word far and wide to ensure that the project continues moving forwards.

If you can think of any individuals that may be interested in joining the project we are very happy for you to forward our details, info@thehiveportugal.org

Thanks RAY

Monday, 1 April 2013

The Hive- update

Dear friends and supporters of The Hive,

Great news! On the winter solstice last year we secured the final payment of all the land and buildings. Legal fees and transfer costs are still outstanding but all the land & buildings previously under negotiation (and approximately 2 hectares more!) have all been signed over J

This is the end of one chapter and the exciting beginning of another. We are now able to confidently move forward with our projects: renovating the village, creating permaculture forest gardens, and becoming a local, sustainable eco-education hub. We want to establish a central point for the community to access resources, advice and support.

We’re open to new groups and individuals becoming involved – The Hive can nurture and facilitate your ideas to become reality.

Currently we are holding a month’s Volunteer Gardening Project. Do you want to help sow and grow? Can you facilitate and help coordinate others? We’ve got to propagate and plan, create new growing spaces and we need your help to do it. If you’ve got skills to offer we need to hear from you! In return we’ll give you a comfy place to sleep, good to food to eat and great company.

We’re still looking for new members to come and live here as part of The Hive Collective. If you’re interested in living a low impact, cooperative lifestyle then this might be the place for you. Get in touch to arrange a visit and we’ll take it from there.

We’re taking this opportunity to launch the Village Restoration Fund. We need resources to transform these old buildings into multi-use workshops and living spaces. Can you help? Or do you know someone who can? Investment is welcomed – get in touch to find out more.

The Hive cerebrates its 5th birthday on Saturday 6th of April. There will be a get together from 4pm onwards (please feel free to come earlier if you wish to help with the set up). We are hoping to fire up the bread oven for the usual pizzas or lasagna or whatever you wish to bring and bake!! Food to share, Chai, Musical instruments & games are all things that will help to make it a great night, bring what you’d like to find as it’s up to you. It would be helpful to have an idea of numbers in advance so if possible please phone or e-mail by Friday. Please note this will be a family event so come early.

Finally, keep an eye out on the website for changes to the get involved section. We are looking at new ways for people to either reconnect or make a new connection to the project. This can be simply forwarding information to your address book or talking to like minded people who may be interested in getting involved which in turn will raise awareness. The Hive needs your support to achieve its maximum potential so please take five minutes, have a think and get in touch with your thoughts and suggestions.   

Thanks for your continued support!

Ray Mundo and everyone @ The Hive