Foraging joy! by Laura

After a long, hot and dry summer finally some welcome rain finally came in September. We were away for the first rainfall but there was more and after a couple of days of sun following the showers we headed up to some silver birch and chestnut forest further up the mountain.

Foraging is one of mine and Marko's favourite activites. It connects us body and soul to the earth and her generosity in a very profund and immediate way. To forage well we must become intimate with the forest and become sensitive to changes in air temparature and humidity. We must learn the colour, form and habit of the foods we seek. As we increase this felt-sense 'knowledge' we simultaneously cultivate our relationship with the individual species and the forest as a whole, until it is not only the physical signs that direct us but also more sublte signs that are just beyond our physical perception. We come a little closer to the natural world and experience our earthy roots.

Foraging is also a queit, privileged time to be in the forest. It is time savour the sights, smells and sounds which are always new and changing and always welcoming.

Finding our own food also connect us to our ancestors and the ways they found food and the different rythm they lived their lives by; the rythm of the seasons and the rythm of the time and effort it takes to find and prepare wild food. I am very aware that foraging for mushrooms and collecting chestnuts and eating wild greens - however regularly - does not really give me an insight into the hardships that my ancestors endured finding and cultivating enough food for them to survive on. I am daily grateful for my ability to buy food that I do not have to struggle to produce myself.

But I am also grateful for becoming more aware of what it takes to be supported by my immediate surrounding - the forest. Whether that is in firewood, mushrooms, wild greens or building materials I increasingly feel nourished by this place. It is not only a physical feeding and protection but also a one of the spirit and the soul. The forest nourishes me in all dimensions of my being and for that I am truly grateful and why I want to bring people here to experience the same.




Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Helping Nature to get back on her feet after years of monoculture and wildfires.
Practical Ecosystem Restoration
Would you like to come and help plant some native forest, learn about ecosystem regeneration and reconnect with Nature and yourself? Then join us on an Awakened Forest Project work weekend.
Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Sunday December 1st 10.30 - 4pm

Another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - June 2020

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.


It has been a long time since I have written a blog post because so much has been ongoingly changing in the last year. I wanted to wait until the dust and ash had settled and I knew where I would be before I wrote.

Many of the plants and trees the bees and other insects thrive on have burnt in the October fires and will not be flowering this year and some not next year either if they recover at all. Here are my suggestions on how to help the pollinators through these lean times.

God these are heartbreaking times. Rain that was so longed for in the summer is now pouring off these hills taking soil and stone and track with it onto the terraces and into rivers.


Many people have asked us how they can help in the wake of the fires and all we have lost. We are very touched and grateful for these offers of support. Here are some ways you can help:

We have started building the second floor of the workshop!! This will be our last major build here and will provide a dormitory and meditation/workshop room which will increase our capacities for events and hosting people, especially outside of the summer months.