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Towards a New Pastoralism Alliance: Open Country | Civic Europe
Social inclusion

Towards a New Pastoralism Alliance: Open Country

United rural communities for the values of landscapes new custodianship and local participation


Who is behind this?

Fernando Garcia-Dory

Asociacion Campo Adentro


Who is joining forces?

European Shepherds Network : ESN

Spanish Shepherds Federation - Federación Estatal de Pastores : FEP


National Park of Picos de Europa


Local citycouncils of Liebana (Ayuntamiento de Potes, Ayuntamiento de Vega de Liébana, Ayuntamiento de Cillorigo de Liébana, Ayuntamiento de Tresviso)


Idea pitch

Since we started the Shepherds Schools in 2004 at biodiversity-rich region of Picos de Europa newcomers from the city and abroad have joined, bringing a fresh understanding of pastoralism, taking from its inherent progressive values (hospitality, mutual aid, ecology, commons´ democracy). To mediate and bridge the risk of being excluded by vernacular communities, this project opens a common space for all to meet, to articulate discourses, for empowerment, and to influence and inspire the public

Where will your project idea take place?

Picos de Europa, a remote rural area between 3 provinces in Spain (Asturias, Cantabria, León)

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Picos de Europa is the epicentre of a rich pastoralist culture, manifested in a vast commons heritage, gastronomy, local breeds and landscapes. This form of life has been progressively dismissed by industrial farming. Increasing tourism and nature protection agencies also displaced it, leaving vernacular pastoralists opposing change. New pastoralists had difficulties for integration, despite their discourse can bind and boost innovative forms of reviving democratic governance at a local level. A cultural strategy through communication actions, capacity building and transversal dialogue can simultaneously solve the challenges of integration, disempowerment and cornered rural communities around the symbolic centrality of acclaimed pastoralist practices and legacies.

Who are you doing it for?

The context in which this initiative arises is characterized by a considerable depopulation process and by the decline of traditional farming activities, and policies favouring tourism and an idea of nature. We are working with the excluded (local mountain farmers) that end up excluding (the newcomer) because of a reaction to what they felt as failed promises of globalisation. Our main goal is to set conditions for public debate and raise awareness about the value of new pastoralism for local governance and communal tradition and agroecology. The project establishes channels of communication and synergy between this reuniting pastoralist network, composing a future vision with active local groups from other sectors, environmentalists and local authorities.

How do you plan to get there?

- Project team building
- Fieldwork and mapping of key actors and new pastoralists in the region
- Setting contributors board with identified pastoralist leaders
- Research on good practices of pastoralism involving key values of the network : local governance, commons, sustainability, inclusion etc
- Website launch+social networks outreach
- Journal/Bulletin design +calls for contributors
- Introductory meetings in main villages of the 3 provinces of the region
- Mobile radio station
- Training /sharing
- Shows and public discussions.
- Journal dissemination.

What are the expected results?

A space for mutual recognition between old and new shepherds is opened and developes a network . Empowered pastoralists, both vernacular and newcomers, getting to know what unites them , overcoming differences. They appropriate themselves of the channels the project open ( such as the gatherings, journal, radio etc ) and act as hosts to other stakeholders, to
create basis for a more pluralist and civic local public sphere.
A new local narrative and future vision is forged, pivoting around the symbol of new pastoralism, landscapes custodianship and agroecology

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The project creates a platform to gather, visualize and empower discourses and proposals for a new pastoralism with an agroecological focus, integrating the local and the newcomer/migrant. It builds a space for further exchange and interaction with other local stakeholders to channel, project and mobilise alliances towards forms of mutual support, democratic governance and problem-based innovative solutions already being tested, that could inspire and be potentially replicated at this common bioregion, despite its administrative borders and recent decline.

Why is this idea important to you?

This opportunity would allow our project as a civic association to rescale our approach in the area in a spatial term: including three different regions with a common background and situation; and also in the social scope: broadening the knowledge composition methodologies with the participants and the public in order to create not only a network of shepherds with common problems, but also establishing the basis for a more civic and participative local political sphere. It also solves the problem we discovered after training hundreds of new potential pastoralists that when settled faced exclusion, and we also suffered by the exclusion farmers had at local decision making level.

€ 54000,-

Total budget

€ 43000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- Project coordinator fees 1 yead = 7200
- Communications responsible person idem = 7200
- Community facillitator and gatherings producer idem = 7200
- Specific contributors fees 2 x month = 3600
- Website design and maintenance = 2000
- Journal/Bulletin design and printing , 6 issues = 2000
- Introductory meetings allowance x 3 = 150
Design and building Mobile radio station = 4500
- Other equipment for awareness workshops Training /sharing = 2500
- Extended parliament travel expens

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Everything is welcome!



David Prieto

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on June 15, 2020

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