Stories from the Agrarian Post: “They should build a training center” at CEAT

Testimony of these workers is the 7th and last of a collection that the Citizens' movement for CEAT and Urban Gardens carried out


José Gomes and Maria de Fátima Marques, the last two field workers at the Centro de Experimentação Agrária de Tavira (CEAT), as well as Cristina, who lives there, are the protagonists of the seventh and final video testimony of the documentary project “Histórias do Posto Agrário”, promoted by the Citizens Movement by CEAT and Hortas Urbanas de Tavira.

The CEAT was «home to many families for decades», but it was, «above all, a place of learning and preservation of the agricultural heritage», emphasizes the movement.

Nearing the end of their working lives, the two CEAT employees recall the time when there were more than 30 employees, while regretting the dismantling of this agricultural post.

José Gomes, or Zeca as he is known, went to the Agrário Post to work in the workshops at the age of 15. There she already tells a life of 45 years, just 3 more than her colleague Fátima; who recalls: “We would go to the square to supply the people who sold there in the market. There was a little bit of everything here: lettuce, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes…». “Even flowers”, completes Zeca.

«This for me was an exploration, as we have the collections now, but with more varieties and more people working», defends Fátima.

“In the past, there were training courses, because there were engineers training. That's what they should do, a center like that, even if they did those things they want to do, they have a lot of space to do a little bit of everything. They could have more things like that, to let others know, to explain to others, because there are people who don't know what pruning is», he predicts.

Fátima is close to the renovation and so is Zeca. Cristina stopped working during the Mobility Law. Among the three, there are decades of history of a great house.

But if no one new has come in for 43 years to work and «in three years we will leave», Fátima fears for the future: «maybe it closes».

From the citizens' movement for CEAT, two associations were born, Ecotopia Activa and Associação Al-Bio, which, «in addition to being actively developing initiatives related to sustainability, also seek to recover and dynamize CEAT within the scope of the new Pole of Innovation and to integrate the working group of the Competence Center of the Mediterranean Diet, Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which has Tavira as its headquarters».

“Training, creating an agricultural warehouse and building a shared kitchen for the processing of typical Mediterranean food are objectives for which they continue to work and fight every day”, they conclude.