Producer Spotlight: Terra Viva Ibiza
Terra Viva: Revitalizing Farmlands Across the Island of Ibiza
Terra Viva, in sunny Ibiza Spain, works hard to revitalize abandoned farmlands on the island where only 4% of the food is produced locally. Of the local foods, only 14% have some kind of organic or ecological certifications or processes. Terra Viva is an exception, using regenerative methods for their revitalization initiatives and their food cultivation.
The farm offers organic produce and the only organic pasture-raised chickens on the island of Ibiza. Customers can sign up annually to receive weekly boxers of produce and chickens. Terra Viva is proud to offer organic produce right to the doorsteps of the people of Ibiza and together support the transformation of agriculture to a system that responds to climate change.
Like many regenerative initiatives, Terra Viva does more than just create organic products and sequester carbon. Most of us who care about solving problems soon realize how interrelated they all are, and it becomes hard to do just one thing. Terra Viva sees themselves also as a hub for education and a model for positive change in Ibiza. By collaborating with other experts, they intend to help inform the next generation of regenerative farmers in Ibiza.
We recently had the honor of connecting with Andrea from Terra Viva Ibiza to learn more about their work. Their vision for the island is big–it’s holistic and inclusive. It is bigger than just soil health; it involves all the land and people of the island of Ibiza.
“And this is the beauty of regenerative,” Andrea shared with us. “It’s good for all of us.”
Terra Viva began just one year ago with a group of 4 equal part owners who bring different skills to the project. They now have a fifth partner as well. The idea is to create a working regenerative farm on their 20 hectares and empower other farmers around the island and the world to transition to regenerative as well.
Right now in Ibiza, 86% of the land has been abandoned. Most locals were farmers, the island became very popular through tourism, and they all shifted their priority to tourism and left the land. The Terra Viva vision is to provide the support it takes to revitalize all the abandoned farmland into regenerative projects.
Terra Viva & the Push Towards A Regenerative Island
“When we started talking about it, we decided it’s not just about regenerating soil, not just about soil health, but regenerating human practices, businesses, how we work, looking into regenerative in a holistic way.”
Andrea says that their reason for existence is to educate and empower farmers to move into regenerative. The idea is to make a showroom on other farms to train and show them how regenerative can really work here on the island and how it can be truly sustainable as a business. Farmers need to see the financial benefit as well. Terra Viva also provides one-on-one support for branding strategy and in seeking subsidies.
“I believe that farmers are more like artists. They are great at creating art, and beauty, but many have less interest in the selling and the excels and the numbers. So we are kind of like the manager of the artists–we make the space for them to be able to truly create.”
To expand their education programs, Terra Viva is collaborating with The University of Baleares, the National Institute of Research, and the Union of Small Farmers of Spain which connects 80,000 farmers. They have applied for a grant for one million euros from the European Union, that if accepted, would mean that Terra Viva would become the certifiers for regenerative farms in Europe.
They are also connecting with farms in Italy, Germany, and Greece, and with entrepreneurial consultancy firms. The concept is to offer free local courses for farmers. Terra Viva will then turn the onsite workshops into online content that then any farmers can access and use towards getting their certification as a regenerative farmer.
Collaboration Over Competition: We All Win
The consumer demand for local and organic products definitely exists on Ibiza, and because it is such a tourist destination, many consumers are eating in restaurants. Unfortunately, some restaurants on the island are capitalizing on the demand without truly supporting the practices. In fact, some restaurants have even claimed to sell products from Terra Viva when really they only purchased a couple of chickens and Andrea had to ask them to stop advertising.
“Many people don’t want to do the traceability work, to find out if the words are attached to something. Just seeing the right words makes them feel better. Also, because we want to believe, right? You believe that what they’re telling you is the truth. Maybe I‘m naive, but if I look at a product, and it says organic, I want to believe that.”
I certainly don’t feel that Andrea is naive, but after our conversation, I do feel that her optimism is contagious. The spirit of collaboration over competition that Terra Viva is cultivating is refreshing. And this is what it takes, more people all over the world and in all parts of our supply chains to bring in these kinds of holistic and collaborative mindsets over individualized and competitive ones.
“If we really go into what regenerative is, and it is so much, it really is the answer–and not just for agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is just one branch, and it’s just going back to what used to be, back to our core. That we can take something that could be perceived as dead and turn it into abundance–means there is hope for us all.”
Connecting with farms like Terra Viva and with people like Andrea reminds us why we are doing this work. There are so many small parts that make up the whole. We have to start where we are. Terra Viva is starting in Ibiza, and here at Producers Trust, we are starting our work behind the scenes. By supporting farmers on the ground, we are transforming supply chains, building transparency and traceability, and working to end deceptive practices like greenwashing.
I asked Andrea what is one message she would like to share with the world.
“Meet your farmer. Know your farmer,” she told us. And we couldn’t agree more.