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The Barceló Foundation, following its commitment to solidarity, has spent a year working to provide quality food to vulnerable families.
On December 29th, the newspaper El Mundo published an extensive report on the Agrosol and Alisol projects carried out by the Barceló Foundation. Relaying their story to the whole Spanish community, they wrote:
2013 has been a year of turning in the Barceló Foundation. After more than two decades focusing their work on the neediest countries of Africa and Latin America, earlier this year the entity decided to launch in Mallorca the Alisol and Agrosol projects, two projects united by a common purpose: to provide food assistance to people on the island who are going through difficult times.
“Although the primary objective of the Foundation was to work in countries below the 100th position in the poverty rating, given the growing social needs identified on the Island, the Barceló Foundation decided to take action also in Mallorca” says Bernat Bauzà, agricultural engineer and agro-environment manager of this entity.
Thus, in February 2013 the Alisol project was born — Alimentos Solidarios—, an initiative through which about 2,000 kg of food is distributed weekly to various social institutions serving people in most need.
“From the beginning we saw the need to provide high quality perishable products to complement other donations received by charities, such as canned food or other products expiring soon”, explains Bauzà.
After signing cooperation agreements with agricultural production companies such as Asaja, Agroilla and Esplet, the Barceló Foundation decided to go a step further and implement Agrosol, a joint project of sustainable agriculture with which supply Alisol and contribute, at the same time, to improving the environment and revive the Balearic agriculture.
Vegetables and Meat
Son Barceló and Formentor, two emblematic farms of the Barceló family are the basis of Agrosol. In Son Barceló, a farm donated by Francisca Barceló in Felanitx vegetables and tubers are cultivated, while Formentor is destined for the production of meat from Mallorquian cattle and sheep.
“In Felanitx, some investments were necessary before we could start planting, so we did not start planting until July. Despite losing the most productive months, we have harvested for 22 weeks and have produced a total of 23,000 kg of food”, explains Bernat Bauzà.
Besides generating products for Alisol, valued at over 15,000 Euros, Son Barceló’s farm has helped create one permanent job, and two part-time jobs during season of increased production.
Formentor hosts 240 sheep, 10 cows and one Mallorquian bull, that not only provide meat for the Alisol project, but also contribute to controlling fires in such a precious area as the Formentor peninsula.
“We decided to go for the conservation of indigenous breeds. In February, we were given 10 cows and one bull, and the sheep flock arrived in June, so this year we have been able to donate only 300 kg of meat”, notes Bauza, who pointed out that the expected annual meat donation from 2014 onwards will be between 1,500 and 2,000 kg.
Agrosol, through farms of Son Barceló and Formentor, along with acquisitions and donations received by the Barceló Foundation, nourishes the Alisol project, which in this first year of activity has distributed over 90,000 kg of fruit, vegetables, tubers and seasonal vegetables.
The distribution of these 90,000 kg of food to the 16 entities that collaborate with the institution —12 in Palma and four in the rest of the island— allow us to help more than 2,300 people per week, a figure which rises to 5,100 monthly, since some deliveries are made fortnightly.
“With these two projects we intend to generate a stable production of quality products and distribute them among people who truly need it. We believe it is important that everyone has access to a healthy and balanced diet, whatever their economic situation. Our goal is to grow year after year to help as many people as possible”, concludes Bauzà.
Although at present the Alisol and Agrosol projects focus only on food aid, the Barceló Foundation is expecting to use the farm of Son Barceló in the future to host other activities of solidarity.
Chain of solidarity
“The fact that a person has no financial resources, should not mean that he/she cannot access quality products.” On this premise, the Barceló Foundation has created a chain of solidarity that starts at the farms of Son Barceló and Formentor and goes right down to the table of families with few resources. So every week food is distributed to over 2,300 people, with the help of two volunteers. “For us this has been very important. So far we only had nonperishable products far apart of the Mediterranean diet. Alisol has given us life, and we now have high quality seasonal foods, which our beneficiaries could not access otherwise “, states Patronato Obrero, an organization working with the Barceló Foundation.