Evolution of the farm

Ibiza may still be best known for beach tourism and wild parties, but among a subset of the small Balearic island’s farmers, chefs, foodies, and entrepreneurs, a revolution has been quietly taking place. Projects like Amorevore, a food and consciousness festival engaging with radical ideas around food production and consumption, and La Granja Ibiza, a 10-hectare farmstead reactivated as a trailblazing farm-to-table hospitality project, are helping to turn Ibiza into a hub for those rethinking our relationship with the food we eat.

This made it the ideal location for Further Ibiza: Evolution of the Farm, which addressed various questions around contemporary agriculture, the slow food movement, and sustainable modes of eating in a two-day gathering at La Granja in collaboration with the Ibiza Preservation Foundation and Sleeper Magazine. Residents included, among others, Greg Seider, a world-renowned mixologist known for his plant-based restorative elixirs infused with ingredients like CBD and ionic fulvic minerals, celebrated farmer and cookbook author Anne Sijmonsbergen, who turned her once-fallow Ibizan farm, Can Riero, into a lush agricultural plot that now supplies local organic produce to top restaurants and private chefs across Ibiza, Amorevore curator and influential environmental writer Rory Spowers, and Chris Sanderson, co-founder and CEO of the world-leading strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory, who presented some of the organization’s latest findings on the future of the health and wellness industries.

There were also workshops with La Granja’s master farmer, Andy Szymanowicz, an expert in biodynamic agriculture and lacto-fermentation, and the farmstead’s Patagonian kitchen master, José Catrimán. The two collaborate closely to bring La Granja’s crops to the plates of its guests. “If you have a restaurant, you need to print a menu, and then you have to have a lot of produce in your restaurant,” explained Catrimán. “So you end up throwing away a lot. Here, if people ask for tomato in May, we say, ‘No, we don’t have tomato.’ It’s super ecological. If you check our rubbish, it’s only compost to feed the chickens. We take the skin of the lemon, dehydrate it to make oils—we use everything.” La Granja’s menu, said Catrimán, is generated by the farm itself. “Our recipes all come from the garden,” he said. “We’ll take a walk, and we’ll see, ‘Wow, it’s like 100 leeks.’ So we’re going to roast it, steam it. The garden is where we start the imagination.”

And while Ibiza, with its abundant fertile land and 300 plus days of sunshine a year, may be particularly well disposed to a project like La Granja, the hope is that experiencing the farmstead will send ripples through the everyday lives of its visitors.

“I hope our gardens can be a kind of inspiration for the guests,” said farmer Szymanowicz, “not like we’re preaching, but more of an unexpected takeaway, from the hundreds of varieties we’re growing, the old heirloom varieties, the care and love that we’re putting into our plants, the connection between the chef and the farmer, how fresh the food that they are eating is, so that potentially when they go back home they might start asking questions about where and how their food is grown. They might start asking why food doesn’t taste so good when it comes from a supermarket. Why does it taste better when it comes from the farmer’s market? They might start searching out more farm-to-table restaurants. It’s about starting the conversation.”

Part creative residency, part cultural exchange, part immersive hospitality experiment, Further brings together artists, writers, scientists, artisans, farmers, designers and other place-makers.

Explore Further and read the full story here.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019