Stepping Back, Moving Forward

Pipirimosca makes bread twice a week, which he then sells in organic market cooperatives and weekly food markets.
A recipe is hanging on the announcement board. He has recovered some older wheat types which are not in industry use anymore but which can be tolerated by celiacs.
A large kneader does the work, while Pere prepares the bread molds.
Bringing the spelt to the workshop from the warehouse where he stores the organic wheat. He gets this old type of wheat from a farmer in the area who grows it, Spelt is not used in the main bakery industry anymore because it is a less productive type, although celiacs tolerate it.
The ovens
Pere has been collecting bread making machinery from bakeries that have been going out of business or the owners have just retired.
The kneader is mixing the flour and sourdough.
Bread dough.
Pere observes the dough's quality and consistency.
The dough is weighed and put in a wooden closet to rise for a good 40 minutes before it is put in the molds. Pere is part of the WWOOFER network and gets some help from some of the members who stay with him for a few days or weeks.
Ruben (in the background) and Edu (foreground) are partners in the shepherding project.
Every morning the mother goats and kids need to be put together so the kids can feed.
Edu spends 8 months of the year in Sant Boi del Llobregat separated from his partner who lives in a small town 150 Km away.
Edu and Cristina (right) are placing some fresh cork-oak branches in the feeders. Cristina is doing her agricultural engineering internship with Edu and Ruben.
The herd is let out and will spend 7 hours grazing freely. In the winter they graze for less hours than in the summer.
Dogs are important. They help keep the herd together and prevent goats from getting lost. Normally the mother teaches her kid what it needs to know.
The herd grazes along the outskirts of Sant Boi.
Goats are agile and can access difficult spots. Sheep are not as agile but do a better grazing job on flat land.
The two shepherds guide the herd to close to the city. Sant Boi is in the background, Barcelona is only 15 km away.
The herd crosses a suburban road as Cristina watches for cars. .Sant Boi is a city where many high voltage lines cross to their way to the capital Barcelona.
Edu has developed a close relationship with some neighborhood people.
Edu speaks in his cellphone. Smartphones have made a huge difference to shepherding, and Edu usually updates his Facebook page wile working. Communication through Whatsapp has also made a huge impact nation-wide in the shepherding community.



As the western economic and social paradigm falls apart, many people are seeking new sustainable economic formulas.  Climate change, depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, overpopulation and hunger are putting humanity on the edge of collapse.  It’s tough times.  The economy has been in recession for the last 6 years and the younger generations are the most effected by unemployment and lack of opportunity.  But, something is stirring in the countryside as a new generation in their late twenties/mid thirties are looking the recession in the eye.  They are being creative, forming cooperatives, looking into the past for examples of sustainable living that had been all but lost on the road to “modernity”.  They are rescuing human values and beliefs in a social economy, questioning what was taken for granted and what led us to where we are today.   These are people with firm values who are trying to create a new social economy.  One which takes into account personal health and the environment and that benefits not just themselves, but also their immediate community.

 Stepping Back, Moving Forward is an long-term project documenting this quiet, slow revolution being made by thousands of activists around the world and which is steadily gaining more followers.

The Baker

It’s a chilly October night in Valls, a small town in the Catalan region of Tarragona.  Pere who everybody knows as Pipirimosca is carrying his last sack of spelt, an old type of wheat he uses to bake his bread, into the bakery.  In about 7 hours he will have baked over 60 loafs of smoking fresh organic spelt bread. Spelt is a cereal that has mostly been unused for the last 50 years, exchanged for a more productive variety which gives more grains per ear but also is worse for celiacs.  Pipirimosca bakes his bread twice a week at his old family rural house.   He also lives there and hosts woofers (Working on an Organic Farm - an international organic agricultural volunteering network) for a certain period of time in exchange for work in the bakery and on his permaculture plantation.  Like most organic producers in the area, he belongs to a local organic produce organization called “Gent del Camp” (Countryside People) Gent del Camp helps promote products and also offers consultancy aswell as seed banking for it’s affiliates.

The Shepherd

Looking down the hill you can see Sant Boi del Llobregat, part of the  Barcelona Metropolitan Area. The jingle of bells lead us to Edu Balsells, a former social worker who has been tending goats for the last 5 years.  He began as an apprentice with older shepherds, learning the dying trade.  He squats an old village house along with with his girlfriend in Querol, 150 km from Sant Boi.   For the past year,  he has been renting a room from an old couple in Sant Boi, ever since the town hired him and his goats to clean the surrounding forest undergrowth as summer fire prevention.   The goats do an effective job and are environmental "friendly" .   Low CO2 emissions combined with traditional grazing gets preserved, it’s an all win situation.  His goats then provide organic meat, as no antibiotics are used to keep the them healthy.


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