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Local farmer and off grid expert, Zé Paulo

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

Zé Paulo is a farmer, builder, and barefoot engineer practicing low-impact living since 2009. His farm, Souto Verde (formerly Souto Queimado) was abandoned and left in ruins for more than 40 years before he began the work of rebuilding it and creating the structures necessary for self-sufficiency. The farm is a case study in off-grid, ancestral living and organic gardening.

All water for the houses and agriculture comes from a nearby natural spring. Power is supplied by photovoltaic systems. Wood-fired hot water heaters supply warm water for the bathrooms and wood ovens are used as often as possible for cooking and baking. Wood is sourced from the surrounding forest and building techniques rely on area resources such as stone, wood, and clay.

Every week one can find Zé Paulo at the municipal market in Portalegre selling his organic produce and visiting with a diverse group of patrons.

In addition to his abundant garden Zé Paulo also offers work exchange programs and is creating a practical school for off-grid living. As more and more people become interested in this way of life, he is able to teach them sharing his wealth of experience and potentially saving people years of trial and error. There is also a small cottage set within the garden where guests can stay and experience off-grid, ancestral living. To learn more about Zé Paulo and Souto Verde, click on the links below:

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