The story

This beekeeper from Velez produced 100% ecological honey, taking care that every detail of production is done traditionally.

José Andrés Martínez is a young beekeeper who produces 100% ecological honey. As the son and grandson of farmers, he joined the agricultural sector in 2017, and decided to start beekeeping because you can make a distinctive product. José recognises that “producing “ecological” goods can limit you in many things, but the advantage is that the honey is of higher quality, there is almost no comparison”.

In his beehives, José recycles and reuses combs by making them from the wax of his own hives once thesehave finished their life cycle. And as “A natural honey”, 80% of the pollination happens in the heart of the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park. The whole process is based on artisanal practices and José hopes that in the future he will be able to market directly to consumers.

José found out about AlVelAl through the courses on Incorporation into Agriculture for Young Farmers, and after seeing several reports and reading about the project he was encouraged to become a member. “I think that AlVelAl is on a better path than super-intensive agriculture, because in the Altiplano there is no capacity for such practices and in our region the ground is very uneven and, if you are constantly ploughing, you lose all the soil and the almond trees become unearthed, many already have their roots exposed. I like the idea of returning to how our ancestors farmed. They were more intelligent than we are.”

He finds other AlVelAl projects interesting, such as the restoration of natural areas in La Muela, AlVelAl 8000 or the construction of swales for harvesting water. “What we are missing is for people to become aware, there are many people who are obsessed with making the ground look clean, but pollinators cannot live in such places”. Another thing that attracts his attention is the pistachio, which he would like to work on in a regenerative way if he has his own farm tomorrow.

For José Andrés, AlVelAl’s approach “should be the future of the territory, with almost everything focused on that philosophy. Because at the end of the day you are making a long-term investment, you invest in taking care of the soil, the landscape, the fact that there are trees, habitat… and you begin forming an ecosystem which has been lost. And if you start with the younger generations, tomorrow there will be more awareness”.

In 20 years’ time, José would like AlVelAl’d approach to be better known and he would like to see more farms like there used to be. “Regarding pollination, our ancestors were smarter than us because they planted many varieties of almond trees. It would be great to transfer that idea to today’s agriculture”. The good thing, he continues, “would be for people and especially the youth to become more aware”, “This is quality of life”.

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In the past, people in the altiplano planted many varieties of almonds, which supported and enhanced pollination

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José recycles the wax from old hives in order to make new ones

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In the future, José plans on marketing his ecological honey directly with consumers

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