The Quinta Project aims to cultivate an experiment in creating queer* ecosystems. Through inclusive and shared experiences, we strive not only to go back to Nature but also to go forward with and for Nature. Along this poetic pathway we endeavour to build diverse places and celebrate both the fauna and flora of our environment. We are in continuous fluidity and bewilderment as we encounter the beauty and the fecundity of our place known as Quinta.
Minha alma é como um pastor, Conhece o vento e o sol E anda pela mão das Estações A seguir e a olhar. Toda a paz da Natureza sem gente Vem sentar-se a meu lado. Alberto Caeiro, O Guardador de Rebanhos
My soul is like a shepherd, It knows the wind and the sun And walks hand in hand with the Seasons, Following and looking. All the peace of peopleless Nature Comes to sit by my side. Alberto Caeiro, The Keeper of Sheep
1. We exist at a moment of possibility and danger for a planet that is both adaptable and vulnerable. At Quinta, we privilege KINDNESS and believe that ACTIVISM can produce POLITICAL CHANGE for a culture that is sickening. We envisage the world as it could be and can be and resist the logic that it will inevitably remain as it has been. Charged with hope, we look for ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF LIVING.
2. We CULTIVATE QUEER* ECOSYSTEMS in the world: inclusive and capacious. We celebrate the similarities between the many identities that exist under the two names Queer* and Nature – recognising their paralleled experiences of precariousness, vulnerability, symbiosis, solidarity, hope, loss, regeneration, passion, and love. We challenge the assumptions that destroy under the names of heteronormativity, cisnormativity, racism, anthropocentrism, and speciesism: assumptions that drive people to lives of quiet desperation. We build DIVERSE SPACES – both physical and online – in which fertile differences are embraced. We recognise the beauty of all bodies and the wisdom of all minds.
3. We share principles; this is an active sharing in which ideas are exchanged, debated, and developed. We disagree, and we use our disagreements to queer assumptions and to find new and better points of view. We grow our thought through experience, discussion, and reading; this study begins and ends in our varied and intimate experiences of the world around us, which transform all of us into students and observers again. We explore the world with all our senses – with our eyes, our ears, our shoulder blades – and use our voices to defend that world.
4. We commit to going back to nature, but also to going forwardwith and for nature. We both rediscover and innovate as we live lives in sympathy with the non-human. We embrace the infinite variety of the world, and see ourselves as part of that variety; we encounter other lives as specific and unique, and do not make reductive generalisations about a homogeneous Nature. We recognise and reject the ways in which a false cultural idea of ‘Nature’ has been – and sometimes still can be – used to condemn queer* lives as unnatural. We support the beauty and fecundity of the land we occupy; we regenerate and revive that land and ourselves together. We see the poetic value in building our own farm as a space without cruelty.
5. We LIVE ALONGSIDE OTHERS in a spirit of compassion and care. On this farm – peopled by badgers, dogs, Egyptian mongooses, foxes, fresh water turtles, frogs, human beings, rabbits, salamanders, wild boars, and wild cats – we EXPLOIT NO BODIES and cherish all the lives that equally share the stars, the sunrise, and the sunset. We eat and dress in a spirit of kindness.
6. Quinta DOES NOT CONSTRUCT HIERARCHIES. It works symbiotically to enrich all its parts and all its members. We coordinate the distinct parts of our community and VALUE ALL CONTRIBUTIONS. Our roots are deep in the beautiful landscape of the Alto Alentejo. Sustained and supported by these roots, the trunk of our online community grows. The branches of our ideas spread to the world beyond the community, inviting wider engagement. The fruits of those engagements fall, returning to the land project and the roots below, stimulating development, growth, and NEW CYCLES OF ACTIVISM.
7. In Portuguese idiom, to be joyful is not to be in seventh heaven but estar nas suas sete quintas, to be in one’s seven farms. We PRACTISE JOY on the quinta, delighting in each other’s company and in a shared sense of purpose and pleasure. We can never have enough of nature. We laugh. We live queer* lives in a space free from judgement and censorship. We cultivate a DETERMINED OPTIMISM, presuming nothing, doing much, and hoping everything. We question the insistence that progress must be slow and that lifestyle change must be painful. We declare that nothing is lost and everything might be gained through A RE-EVALUATION OF HOW, WHERE, AND WITH WHOM WE LIVE. We believe in the restorative potential of love. We try to extend – gently or boldly, softly or with abandon – what we learn and do at Quinta into ALL CORNERS OF OUR LIVES: rural and urban, leisured and professional, private and public.
Post Script. We make manifestos which are in MOTION and not static; we believe in learning and not knowing – in productive bewilderment – and as we learn we revise, adapt, expand, and improve our statements of intent. Because the land is indefinitely wild, unfathomed by us because unfathomable, this manifesto will be washed away in time and something new will grow in its place. We welcome all contributions to this constant re-writing. Our experience of queerness is that it is collaborative and collective and that it is in the coming together of disparate voices that change can happen.