Episode 5: Spanish Sunseed

The community at Sunseed Desert Technology work on appropriate technology for arid areas.

Sunseed Desert Technology was set up in 1986 in a previously abandoned village in the Almeria drylands of southern Spain. The project now has four houses in the village and can cater for up to thirty-five staff and volunteers. They have a quarter of a hectare of irrigated terraces and use many hectares of land for dry-land regeneration trials, organic growing and reclamation of eroded slopes.

Demonstrating a sustainable lifestyle and dryland management are two of their key aims. They try to use low-tech methods that have the least detrimental environmental impact.

Limited resources, the near-desert environment and the need to find sustainable solutions determine living conditions here. Their electricity, generated by solar panels, is used sparingly in winter when they have less daylight.

They said 'We also use the sun's energy to heat water for showers, and make use of solar cookers and solar food dryers whenever possible. Water is pumped up from our local river by means of a water powered ram pump. We re-use or recycle most of our rubbish, and all of our organic waste goes back into the ground as compost or into composting toilets.'