Somewhere in Portugal, deep in the forested mountains, is a piece of land.
Many years ago a group of friends came together to whisper stories about this new place in each other’s ears; news had spread that six souls visited a piece of fertile land on top of the greenest mountain in the Algarve and were going to turn this into a place where people could come and enjoy the Portuguese countryside. They whispered about how nice they would make the little house on top of that mountain. Soon after talks started about a festival and not many weeks later shouts were fired about setting up a full-blown permaculture farm called Toca do Coelho!
The summer after we worked; no less than seventy participants gathered on the sun drenched mountain slope. We worked weeks on end to clear the land from a meters thick layer of bramble, to dig out a collapsed well and to make the land ready for the festival. When the visitors started flowing through the gates this labour did not cease. Together with all the good people walking on the festival, grounds were cleared, furniture was built and seeds were sown to give birth to a place harbouring wide terraces surrounded by tall trees and a small stream trickling down the hill slope
Once upon a time…
Way back in 2014, a magical young wizard named Joey visited his inherited land with a small group of friends; inspired by its beauty and potential they headed back to their homeland of Amsterdam. There they summoned the mighty powers of the KONIJN (meaning Rabbit) collective.
These wise folk christened the land Toca do Coelho, which is Portuguese for ‘the Rabbit Hole’.
Based in Amsterdam, the Konijn have been working, playing and creating together for many years. With an ever growing number of about 150 people there are many talents between them, including biologists, geologists, neuroscientist, artists of all forms, event planning masters, carpenters, musicians, lovers, flyers, the list goes on.
So as the land filled with all this talent, they began the rebirth of Toca with a small festival, seeing about 300 people over the course of a few months. Bramble battles were fought left, right and centre, the house transformed from near ruins and the land set free to start seeding.
With so much love put into this project each were wondering what would come of Toca once they all went back to life as they knew it in Amsterdam. Then one sunny day a young wanderer called Rabbit from Israel came hopping up the hill; Rabbit had dreamt of running an open-community and agro-forestry project and so the missing piece of the puzzle was found. From that day the Konijn handed Toca do Coelho into the capable hands of Rabbit.
As time went on many magical people from all over the world came and went from Toca, some staying for months, others just passing through, all calling Toca home. Each bringing seeds of creativity to help the project grow. One fair maiden who came had her heart captured by Toca, Sofee now lives and helps run this project along with Rabbit.
And so the story will continue to be written with you and many more who’s hearts will be whisked away by the wonders of Toca do Coelho…
Here is an extract from the Konijn diaries chronicling their first experiences of Toca in 2012
The world has forgotten how it used to be, when the first rays of sunlight slowly woke the country and you could walk into the garden to pick juicy oranges, mulberries and figs for your breakfast. Forgotten how the same sun worked hard all day to shine on the blue silver solar panels, to ensure that the people who lived there had just enough light to see the amount of the fresh herbs they put into their wood fire oven dish. Forgotten how the water flowed from a source deep in a cave 20 meters above the house.
Time has worn the house down. The cave is overgrown with plants and the ceiling of the cave has collapsed. A large wildfire has devoured the fruit trees and the solar panels are taken by people without faces.
Then, last summer, the piece of land was saved of oblivion. The cave was rediscovered and excavated, a pergola has arisen and a part of the land is cleared from the dominant scrubs. New memories are being made and old brambles cut away. An ideal place to build our own paradise!