Laura Hynd - Guillermo Ferrer, Sa Torres D'es Xebbelins, Ibiza - Spain - #1
Guillermo Ferrer’s 17-hectare farm, Sa Torre D’es Xebellins, is situated in the south-east of Ibiza, just outside Ibiza town. Guillermo was born on the farm in 1956, at a time when they had no electricity, bathroom or cars. ‘We had candles, hot water from the wood fire, two horses, two mules and a chariot.’ Guillermo fondly recounts. ‘There were pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, ducks and bees and a pond teeming with frogs, fish and all kinds of life – a real paradise for a child. At any time of the day, there was a magic calm between humans and Nature.’
After some years of travelling, Guillermo returned to the farm. But what he met with was far from his childhood memories of abundance. Instead, the land had degraded into a desert-like panorama, with dying trees and almost devoid of life. Tourism had taken off in Ibiza and farm after farm had been abandoned in favour of hotels and infrastructure. Guillermo’s family farm had been completely abandoned. There were no animals, no gardens, no flowers, and no fruit trees. All that remained were the hardy, 1000- year old, olive trees, providing the last shade on the farm.
As Guillermo sat beneath the olive trees and the hours passed, a vision came to him that he must follow the tradition of his ancestors and create once more not just a farm, but an oasis of life. The early years were the hardest because the insects and wildlife had all but left, and so the land felt lifeless. But he distinctly recalls the day, four years after starting the regeneration, when a ladybird reappeared. This was a moment of celebration and signalled the change in fortune for the land.
Now, 35 years later, his farm is buzzing with the sound of bees, with over 40 healthy bee- hives. In turn the insects have attracted the birds, and with the birds come the birds of prey. He is proud that the island’s few eagles are regularly seen circling the skies above his rich land.
Today, Guillermo’s land boasts over 300 fruit trees and feeds over 250 local families who visit the farm directly to collect their fruit and vegetables, eggs and honey.
‘The deep vision is only to create life. The big old original trees create the habitat. The fruit trees and vegetable gardens give the food. The colourful flowers give joy and attract the bees. Around 300 chickens sleep in the trees, feeding the Earth with their shit. Ducks, turkeys, birds, bees, insects live in harmony with the wild animals. A healthy ecosystem expresses life and beauty through all the seasons, every day an abundance.’