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  • Writer's picturetori Puig

Making Ocell Negre more ethical

I can't help but love my adopted country, Catalunya. The Pyrenees, the Delta de Ebra, Montseny, Montserrat, the Costa Brava, Cap de Creus and my beloved Parc de Montnegre i el Corredor. We live in such tremendous beauty that I have dedicated most of my years here to its conservation.

I started an NGO in Olzinelles de Valles Oriental called BlackElk. I looked at problems facing our community and I have wanted to help solve them. I have rescued abandoned and mistreated horses from Maresme and Valles Oriental. They were all headed to the slaughterhouse but we saved them. I let them live out their lives with dignity, happiness, and companionship and in return, they have helped control the biomass under the forest and prevent forest fires. They have helped expose plastic left in abandoned strawberry farms in which we have removed 4 tons.

The majority of this work, I have done on my own with the financial support of a few friends and my husband. We have had a handful of volunteers and I am so grateful for their support. I haven't had a wage in 6 years but I have worked 60, 70 and 100 hour weeks because I know that our world is changing and that if we don't work towards its conservation, our children will not have a future. The life on our planet will not have a future.

I think that I can help finance this NGO with a small ethical restaurant in my village of Sant Iscle de Vallalta. I want to create a business that assumes responsibility for its culture, social and environmental impact. I want to pay liveable wages to people at risk of social exclusion, serve local organic food, reduce waste and offer a place for local artists to share their talents. It is a big dream but those are the only kind I have and I believe those are the dreams we need at this point.

I don't have much faith in our government to solve the problems that face us but I have faith in you. I have faith in my community, in Catalunya. I have faith that when we work together we can move mountains and invoke change. I have faith that with a few people we can run a non-profit restaurant that helps conserve land in the Parc de Montnegre and the towns that surround it. I have faith that we can reduce social exclusion. I have faith that our impact will influence our government and our community to work harder to solve these problems that we face and the problems our children will inherit.

A non-profit cooperative means that we can work, earn an income and help our community. We can choose our labor hours, where and what we would like to do. There is enough space that we can offer courses, i.e. music, pilates, yoga, patchwork, English, knitting or meditation. We can provide needed space for the adolescents in our village that are getting out of school early and have no structure. A location where kids can form groups like Fridays for Future or a science club. We can invite biologists, astrophysicists, and ecological economists to give talks that will inspire us. We can farm the land of our NGO, offer tours to increase public understanding and care for the rescue animals.

If you would like to form part of a non-profit coop come to a meeting at 20h 10/10/2019 at Ocell Negre, Carrer Sant Jaume #3, Sant Iscle de Vallalta.

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