day#23 workshop @ iaac

the materials for this roftop farm are reclaimed materials. some of them came from the iaac’s warehouse, other from the streets and others from the workshop participans. this constrain of materials makes this chalenge even bigger and delicious. enjoy this process of building together iaac’s roftop farm and if you ave any spare materials please bring to us ;)

check here all iaac posts.

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day#18,19 workshop @ iaac and fab10

apart from materials to make the farm structures we also need some more “tech” parts. today we went to solidança to get pressure switches, flow meters, water valves, water pumps, tubes and surprises that always come with the trash :)

next weekend we were invited to give a small workshop at so we are also colecting extra materials.

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during fab10 Sophie Thomas and Nat Hunter from RSA are also giving a workshop about e-waste and design so we brought some e-waste for them ;)

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we are trying to use 30 wood frames that were used on some iaac exhibition. they are a bit fragile so we designed some blocks to hold them.

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for the fab10 we had to built a seed bank/business cards and a small farm so we went to ateneu de les corts were coda was working in a piece also to fab10.

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using the leftovers of coda we made the farm structure.

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to hold the seed tubes we got a pallet and made the 288 holes with the CNC2014-07-04 at 14-09-45 2014-07-04 at 13-58-01

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after we settle our things in the dhub we went to give a hand to coda team ;)

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on sunday we had the mini workshop in the morning, tks guys for coming ;)

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and in the afternoon we were dangling arround fab10. in the midle we made a small stop and recorded the voice of vicky for the crowdfunding movie. tks vicky and ferran that carefully produced a great sound file ;)
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First week

I just arrived in Barcelona and I will start soon work in the watering system with arduino. Hernani already showed me many things and sent me materials to study and improve my knowledge, so I was “recycling” what I know about electronics and programming, now I’m doing the possible to update and get the system even better. Also, I’m excited for the project’s presentation at FAB10, on the weekend, will be a good opportunity to show the great work that Refarmthecity is doing and to gain more recognition.

day#13, 14 workshop @ iaac

busy day today :)

iaac rooftop

we have defined the form and start taking the materials to the roof.

during the last weeks we started collecting materials that are around us. here are some picture of what we found in and out iaac’s building

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day#12 workshop @ iaac

ok. after 11 days of drinking knowledge and catch some potatoes ;) today we went hands on building the IaaC’s rooftop farm. first we went there and took some measures, look for sum exposition, orientation and imagine the space.


then we went to the street, see what could we find arround the corner. we didn’t had to walk 10 meters. 4 10x10cm pine wood with no treatment just right in front of us :)

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also some wood pallets. we went to a chocolate milk factory tha’s arround he corner to see if they have one of thouse big food grade containers of 1000L. no luck it was closed like.. closed forever :(

then we went again to IaaC materials store. we knew there were many materials what we didn’t knew was how much!!

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after caring some materials and plan how to move everything up we went lunch with a friend of Xavi, Rosa Rull in Palo Alto. what was an old factory of flour and wool is now a huge forrest were the climbers have covered the buildings and there are bushes and trees all over the place. you see bees, people, birds and business all dialoging and their farm is exuberant!!

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what a great lunch (paella nham nham) we had together under the vines, the caper and complemented by indian cress flowers. tks Rosa ;)

1st Bokashi Batch

Hey guys, my bokashi system is more or less operational by now. After two weeks fermenting the papers in plastic bags, I laid them in the sun to dry. There were some air pockets in the plastic bags, which resulted in a few colorful fungi at some spots of the paper (I think Nestor had the same situation).


For the composting tank I found this 8L bucket (including airtight lid), a strainer with a slightly smaller diameter, and plastic drain valve.IMG_1447 As you can see in the picture I already cut off the handle from the strainer, and dented the grid so it fits in a stable manner at the bottom of the the tank.2014-06-01_13-05-26_515Subsequently I made a whole at the bottom and screwed in the valve (optionally you can use some Teflon tape on the thread to make sure there are no leaks).2014-06-07_12-19-57_849So this what my ‘final product’ looks like. Time to start filling it up!

day#11 workshop @ iaac

Today we went to Guilad and Roger’s farm. Uau a organic farm with a view to the sea!!

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Aurora del Camp (farm’s name)”periurban” farmr about 15km from Barcelona El Masnou. They farm about 40 different crops and arround 200 different varieties on 4 hectares of land on the edge of this town. They serve about 200 families directly mostly through consumer groups in Barcelona.

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Their current research revolves around a drastic change in the way most farmers work the land in order to minimize their impact through the use of no-till and reduced tillage systems. The idea is to sequester carbon while lowering their overall ecological footprint. yes, even organic farmers have quite a large ecologic impact. They are currently running an experiment on about 2000m2 with the IRTA

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We arrived and Guilad gave us a lecture about their work, local conditions, their calendar crops and the problems theiy have been trough. you know, bugs, bureaucracy and this constantly improve that means how can agriculture become a sustainable human activity.2014-06-05 at 13-59-40

After we went harvest some potatoes :)

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you know has always we eat great at our workshops and today was no exception ;) Gilad socked some chickpeas, Amina and Nestor prepared the onions, added tomatoes some spicies and voila, let you eyes enjoy this next picture :)

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there was more, home made bread, carob cake.. ok I’l stop here. we then when to visit the upfarm crops and where the boxes are prepeared for customers.

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we catch the train to barcelona with a full day for our bellys, muscules and minds. Thanks Gilad and Roger for welcomed us so great, and congratulations! you guys have a beautiful and carefully treated corner of the planet . We’ll definitely visit you soon ;)

day#10 workshop @ iaac

today we went again on a tour for materials. in our workshops it’s always this exercise: find materials around you that are suitable to make urban farms. we have our expectations very high :) we are going to visit 2 big recycling plants. one of electronics and televisions and another of cooling devices.

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first stop was all the electronic trash from cataluña ends here. well, not all, someone said only 20% it’s recycled, the other 80% you know were it ends don’t you? link1 link2 even 25 years after the basel convection as been signed.. sad human history, recent history we should say..

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judith received us and presented a video of the factory plant and what do they recycle. they separate all the e-waste in 10 different categories. they separate by hand what they can: plastic, metal, batteries, toner, electronic boards, capacitors, motors, glass, cry tubes and smoke detectors!! they have Americium.

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after all the trash go trough workers that try to disassembled as much as they can, goes to rolling belt were CRT, batteries and toners are removed. after everything is crushed and goes to the second flour were magnets catch ferrous metals and strainers separate by size. another 4 people separate aluminum and plastics and what’s left is further crashed. all the powder is sucked by a big vacuum machine and is threated as a toxic waste that need further treatment on another plant, strangely no one uses APM (Atmospheric Particulate Matter) protection!

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the crt tubes (tv, computer monitors,… ) have so many hazardous and different materials that they go to a different machine. after taking the plastic case (200 different screws on 200 different brands and models. we should improve design for disassembly ASAP!!) they separate the electron bomb and the copper coil. the gently (on industrial speech) break the cone from the flat part of the screen. here they vacuum the fosforos powder. 150g per screen. the cone part has lead. apparently protecting us from radiation generated on the beamer. this is a common argument, the safety of some materials is justified in a small part of the object livecycle, that after is useful live becomes a major environmental problem. in electrorecycling this lead glass is crushed and selled as a raw material for tiles. just encapsulating this contaminant :)

this always have been a main concert for us in refarmthecity. we have said no to many sensors just cause they don’t comply the RoHS standards. even the RoHS, we should say, are not very ambicious. we must design and produce electronics for the farms that even if forgotten or left abandon do not cause any future environmental problem.

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back to the trash :) we then turn the corner and went to the cooling plant. over the last weeks the fridges have been a regular visitor on our crazy plans for the iaac urban  farm. but today all those drawings just freeze :) we were thinking on using the fridges as containers. we knew that there is a “problem” with the gas contained but we though after it’s been treated is no longer a dangerous residue. wrong! 20% to the CFC gas (or hidrocarburant gas) is on the freezing circuit, 80% is on the foam!!
so were they make a hole on the motor and extract oil and gas. them they crush the hole fridge and separate (try!) the metal from the isolation foam. then they squeeze the foam and extract the gas. except the metal everything is burned to archive chemical seems that older fridges used cork has a isolation material but they had also a very low energy efficiency.

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we need to go back again to the materials list. wood and fruit pallets are already common design solutions but maybe in solidança we can use other materials like washing machine metallic cylinders and clothes. that’s our job for the next 5 weeks ;)

then we made a tour to the beautiful rural landscape, visiting rocafort and mura. we continue to draw and think about iaac’s rooftop farm and went lunch on a nice vegan restaurant in terraza.

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reward of the day was listening wen on the piano ;) amazing!! thank you wen hehe

day#9 workshop @ iaac

today we started our two days tour over barcelona city trash. first stop: Solidança 2014-05-22 at 13-42-24 on our workshops we always have this idea of building with what’s available and every city has their own trash dinamics and trash resources. and barcelona would not be different. Talking with Isabel Gimeno from Solidança we both aggre that after joining EU there was a big efford on regulate the trash and since then we have a strong environmental protection policy and a cultural conscience started to grip. I’m a caver since 14 and I’ve saw many weels and deep caves filled with all sort of trash: cars, medicines, sick cattle, cloth, batteries, electronics, house and industrial sewage, just to name the ones you can quikly identify.. me and caves al over the world have spend incontless hours cleaning this mess many times preventing or at least reduce the inevitable water contamination that occours with this human behaviors. lucky in recent years we don’t see has many trash on the caves and generaly dumped next to a river flow. we have became cleaner in europe but we still have many unresolved problems: stuff that is impossible to reuse or recycle, lack of design for disassembling or designed to be imposible to repair, over consumering etc 2014-05-22 at 13-34-10 Solidança, apart of managing 4 big collection centers, brings new value and meaning to coth, electronics and house appliances. Solidança also has a strong social commitment. giving workshops of waste managment, electronics and electrical appliances reparation, gender equalty, new tecnologies, social competences, etc. 2014-05-22 at 16-29-21 Solidança also reseaches new protocols and systems with this idea in mind: work to reduce poverty and protect the environment. 2014-05-22 at 14-40-27 we were warmly recived by Miquel Caballé and Isabel Gimeno who gave us a quick tour and a long chat :) 2014-05-22 at 14-01-38 2014-05-22 at 15-02-00 2014-05-22 at 15-06-28 we then went strait to what was waiting for us: 60 washing machines. 2014-05-22 at 14-44-45 2014-05-22 at 14-52-38 2014-05-22 at 14-58-52 2014-05-22 at 14-58-57 2014-05-22 at 15-47-04 2014-05-22 at 16-07-12 and this is the final result: 6 pressure switches, 2 water pumps, 6 electro-valves, 1 flowmeter!! and several other things to you know.. hack :) we ended the day with Merce Jara (tks for all ;) with a suprising tour to l’Hort Fort Pienc. 2014-05-22 at 18-46-10 2014-05-22 at 18-46-56 2014-05-22 at 18-47-00

day#8 workshop @ iaac

the day started at la boqueria market. since is a market I already know I quickly walk through all the fuzzy first stores full of tropical and expensive food and go strait to the end of the market where I find season food and the lowest prices downtown. (uff sorry my english today :)

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today we are reviewing this diagram.

RFTC watering diagram

study every component cause next week we go scavenging :)

has always, today we had some recepies to share and feed our selfs. straberry living pie and bread.

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paper Bokashi

Again I missed another gathering (a bit busy these days). However, my bacteria are still up and running!! I didn’t take a picture of the serum with milk after two weeks, but basically it was a slightly cloudy liquid with big white cheese floating on top. Yesterday I separated the serum and added some molasses. As a carrier, I found some brown wrapping paper, which I drowned in the serum. Subsequently I put these wet papers (about 6 layers) in a plastic bag, sealed it, and now it should ferment another two weeks.2014-05-13_09-08-34_273

Since ‘tortilla’ is made in our kitchen on a weekly basis, I though the remaining egg shells could serve as a good calcium source (also mentioned by Mathew some weeks ago). To speed-up the degradation rate, I dry and grind them by using a (very) basic pepper mill, which works pretty well.2014-04-14_15-21-37_348

After a while I realised it’s quite labour intensive, so I’m wondering how many egg shells you need before you see a significant calcium increase in your compost.

day#7 workshop @ iaac

strange day today :) we started with a power faillure at IaaC from a unknown source and was until 12:30 that the energy mysteriously appeard. lucky the lactobacillus preparation does not require external energy ;)

so today we finish the bokashi process.

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we filtered the serum with coffee filters

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we prepared the molasses 1 part of brown sugar and 3 parts of mineral water

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then we added  one part of molasses, 6 parts of mineral water and one part of serum

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then we soaked kraft paper with the mixture and let it rest for 10 min.

we finish the process by putting the soked paper in frezzer bags and let it rest for 2 more weeks on a dark and fresh place. the bokashi paper is now ready. after this 2 weeks we will leave it dry and it’s ready :)

day#6 workshop @ iaac

today we had 3D day.

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we made some small adapters for the bokashi bucket. next week better pictures and the stl files ;)

we also talked about the roof structure. It was a nice brainstorming let’s see if we can get the materials needed ;)

day#5 workshop @ iaac

today we continued the bokashi system. we clear the rice serrum with a coffe paper filter


add 10 parts of milk and let it rest for more 2 weeks.


then we started the construction of the hardware: we got 2 17L butter buckets carefully washed.


laser cuted a circle with holes to let the “liquids” leachate drain to the bottom of the container. 


and then we started to make the stand that will go to IaaC’s kitchen.


we found some woods that were already cutted. a perfect fit


nestor and xavi made it more stable


to finish with glory and happy bellies, wen and amina made us an amazing rice with mushrooms, potatoes, onions and “herbs”


it was delicious!!


1st step towards a lactobacillus culture

After 12 days in a cool and dark place, my first serum ever made looks like this: 2014-04-22_23-05-28_66 Basically at the bottom some sediment, the serum (dissolved starch) in the middle, and on top a layer of some scum. So this is the result of washing one part of rice with one part of water, and leaving about one part of head-space (with air). After some shaking I drained the (kind of milky) water, kept it in these two jars, and made some nice ‘nasi campur’ of the rice :)

day#4 workshop @ iaac

today some of IaaC students went for some short vacations so we went to visit a place they already know. valldaura.


we went walking from mundet metro station. ~1h climbing collserola park

valldaura walking path

we were welcomed with open harms and dirty hands by nuria ;)

after a short visit to the main building, green fab lab, woodshop, the kitchen and the property we started the preparation of one of the most important tools for a urban farmer. well for every urban , I would say, since you can include here cats and gods :p the bokashi system.

first we need to make a starch base. we used rice and shake it with water. 1 clean jam glass + ⅓ of rice +⅓ of water + ⅓ of air. shake it, take the rice. leave the jam glass lousy closed (must breath) for 15 days in a dark, ventilated and fresh place.

bokashi step1

we were supposed to cook the rice, but since silvia was already cooking for some workers we were invited to join the same table :) a great pasta with ginger!! we here also eating an omolette so we gave our rice to the chicken :p

next week we have holidays. the right time to let the rice milk work for us ;)


day#3 workshop @ iaac

under intensive rain we went visit a old friend, juan carullas.
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juan is probably the oldest urban farmer guru in barcelona. he has been digging his terrace for the last 30 years!! his farm is beautiful, super dense, full of mini-water reservoirs (5000L in 5L water bottles!! + 7000L on bigger tanks) with trees and season crops.
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he collects organic material from neighbors and supermarkets, compost everything and doesn’t add anything else. no fertilizers, no poisons, no moon nor biodynamic alignments. old school farming were every season he adapts and transforms to learn and experiment. you don’t tell him about companion planting he found it by doing. amazing how 80m2 can be enough to learn about, your hole life..
tks juan for keep this work without stoping all this years. we know now that this make sense but 30 years ago you were sailing alone. tks juan tks for sharing ;)

after this visit to the oldest urban farm of barcelona we went cooking :) that’s right!! for now on we’ll cook our meals in IaaC :D why? cause it makes sense, cause is expensive to eat good food in barcelona, cause cooking is a tool and has a lot of technology involved, cause we like to eat and share knowledge, cause friends always share the same table.
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me and nia opened the menu today. we made pizza from the beginning. 400g of flour, 2 soup spoons of olive oil, water and salt. mix everything until you have a smooth ball that doesn’t stick in your hands. cut onions, tomatoes and garlic and slowly cook everything until you make a dense sauce. if needed improvise a shredder :)
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cover with leftovers and cheese. 15mins of oven and you are ready to hear hungry mouths saying it’s the best pizza they have ever tasted :p

pizza pictures not found.. I wunder why..

more on day#2

Indeed a super interesting talk by Mathew! A few things I found regarding the ‘farms’ he mentioned: The rooftop greenhouse in Montreal: pretty impressive! And this self sustaining place in Chicago making veggies, beer, fish, and tea:
Having seen the “back yard” of the IAAC, I’d like to brainstorm a bit about some vertical systems mounted to (one of) these walls. However, I guess the rooftop should have the first priority. (something to discuss with Hernani and the group). This weekend I tried the “wood tie”: Restricting the flow works very well!

Opening the “valve” again takes much longer. So I was wondering how to calibrate it.

day#2 workshop @ iaac

ops! sorry about the pic ;) does anyone have a better one?

photo 1

today we had mathew in the workshop. mathew is not a normal agronomist, he practice organic urban agriculture but he is not fundamentalist, he travels a lot, he’s friend of rats and cats albeit everyone has his place in the ecosystem :p mathew has great experience, hands on, urban farming. he saw many different types of farms, structures, systems and he just gave us a amazing lecture!! tks mat ;)
them we prepare the material to start our first watering system.
next week we’ll start cooking for ourselves!! we have a nice kitchen here in IaaC and everyone is from a different part of the planet. what a great opportunity to mix season vegetables, gastronomy, cooking technology and team building. everyone is invited to cook and eat with us. just send me a email and we squeeze you in ;)

day#1 workshop @ iaac

suncalc iaac 2014-03-18

first day of the workshop here in iaac. after a short presentation about me and the refarmthecity project everyone introduce themselfs and we went to the roof top to start feeling the place.


here we will built together a big table than can sustain plant growth 365d/y. there are still many questions unanswered, who is going the use this farm? what use will it have? what maintenance will it need? what materials? where we get them? we are just at the beginning :p then we took a walk and visit some urban farms in barcelona.

first stop: l’hort del furat


there we meet mathew and he told us the big story behind this small farm.

then we went to the public urban farm


of raval (every district has one) where a kind man told us about the rules, the soil, the bugs, the litter and the robberies (tools not vegetables!!) l’hort del chino (was closed) and we went eating together in a classic small restaurant were season food comes from the local market. cheap also, a plus ;)

next week same time same place different talk different gastronomy.

we leave can roger

I’m sad to say we give up can roger ;(differences on how we see the project, its objectives, where the money should be applied and how the production of vegetables blend with the social cantina lead us to give up. after one year of work it’s difficult not to feel sad but different views on how we see and transform this world in a more sustainable one don’t let us share the same project.
one last word for everyone that worked on this. olga, juan, pere tks for your work, tks for all the unpaid hours that you dedicated to this project, tks for the illusion and energy. better opportunities will come and we have learned a lot with this experience ;)

The young trees are here!

Can Roger_2014.01.8_03Today (at last!) the municipality of Barcelona delivered the trees that we had requested more than a month ago from Tres Pins municipal tree nursery. We have now two small olive trees, five laurel trees and a tiny magnolia. We got some more plastic crates as well!

We’ve been working on the prototype for the terraces, made with pallets, crates and gravel.Can Roger_2014.01.8_02Also, we carried some tests with pallets to get a better grasp of how much space will the urban farm take when it’s finished.Can Roger_2014.01.8_01

First construction workday at Can Roger

Can Roger_13.12.17_01Yesterday we finally broke ground in Can Roger, after months of delays and bureaucratic permits.

Olga, Pere and Hernani came down from Tarragona armed with shovels and hoes, and we started redistributing more than 10 m3 of soil that the municipality of Barcelona had left us in the lot as a (backbreaking) present.Can Roger_13.12.17_02Can Roger_13.12.17_03We used some of the soil to level the area where the first phase of the urban farm will go, and we started laying the pallets properly spaced on the ground.Can Roger_13.12.17_04Just before lunch, we received a shipment of flower bulbs plastic crates, which will become the base of our growing containers.Can Roger_13.12.17_05The urban farm in Can Roger is starting to take shape!Can Roger_13.12.17_06

Can Roger + Juan’s Introduction

logo can roger RGB alta horiz


Hello everybody!

My name is Juan, I’m a young architect with knowledge and interests on sustainability, energy efficiency and other ways of practicing and understanding Architecture: light, temporary, community involved and environmentally responsible. I’m currently working on a bunch of different projects around Barcelona, related to Urban Farming, Permaculture and City Resilience, and I’ve been involved with the Can Roger project and ReFarm BCN for a few months already.

Can Roger is an association and a physical space located in Barcelona, at Carrer Roger de Flor 217, three city blocks away from Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Right now, we have an empty urban lot of 1776 square meters leased for three years by the municipality of Barcelona, via the Urban Voids program. ReFarm BCN (alongside six other entities from the neighborhood) is going to transform this empty lot into a blooming, dynamic, participatory and open space, with a social diner, an urban farm and art walls. (represented in the wonderful logo designed by Hernani)

Tomorrow we have a meeting and next week we’re going to start bringing materials to the site, we’ll keep you posted.