The orchards, the olive groves, the water, the landscape: these are our heritage, our legacy, and we are duty bound to be their custodians and preserve them for future generations. The past 20 years have seen the valley of Sóller become an increasingly urban environment, and our lifestyles have inevitably changed. Even so, the agricultural way of life continues to anchor the identity of our valley: a culture with age-old links to the land and the water that many of us share and a culture that has shaped the unique landscape where we have the privilege of living and which is enjoyed by the millions of tourists who come to visit us.
Agriculture, and its roots in the landscape, sustains our economy – not only the tourism sector but also a thriving network of small businesses that have grown up around our renowned local products: oranges, olives, oil and almonds. If we neglect the land, we will effectively be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Meanwhile, forestry and livestock farming have a key role to play in the prevention of fires: we need to foster these endeavours now more than ever as we face increasingly hot, dry summers, and the consequent risk of ever more devastating fires. Indeed, encouraging forestry would have a double effect: it would enhance our environment and reduce fire hazards.
And of course, we must not forget the obvious: without agriculture or livestock there is no food. Surely, we all prefer to have fresh locally produced food, instead of food that has travelled thousands of kilometers, and changed hands up to 15 times to reach our tables?
We’re not proposing that we all become self-sufficient. But we do want to treat our agriculture with the respect it deserves. After all, it meets our most basic needs, influences our health, and determines our degree of dependence on the big companies that decide the quality and the price of our food.
Thus it is vital that we preserve the agricultural lands of the valley and ensure that new generations can take over the crucial task of tending our land. We need to appreciate, value and encourage the active revitalization of land in the Valley of Sóller. Let’s proudly reclaim our rural identity and protect our agricultural heritage.