Pastoralism: The Life that does not cease
In Aras de los Olmos, in the interior of the Serranía Valenciana, the “Calceta” are the only family saga that preserves the traditional shepherd’s office. They have been doing it, generation after generation, with all that this way of living, of understanding life, of walking through today’s world entails.
Currently and with a flock of about 750 heads, Uncle Miguel (88 years old), his son Antonio Miguel (61 years old) and three more shepherds (two Moroccan brothers who come from Beni Mellal, Morocco, and an Areño) exercise as such.
The office of pastor is getting closer and closer to its end. The balance between human-trade-way of life-closeness-nature will be truncated and the battle to maintain this model of sustainable life will be lost. But, for now, passion, pride and self-sufficiency are present in the daily lives of these pastors.
The project La Vida que no cesa by Jordi Hidalgo began at the end of 2018 with the intention of documenting through photography, in a tone of tribute, the hard job of shepherd. In a descriptive way, but also capturing the spirit, self-love and dignity latent in these people, where life and death, in short, survival, are present in their day to day.
The collection of photographs is the basis of the exhibition of the same name that, for the sake of the collaboration between the El Olmo Foundation and the Diputación de Valencia, is exhibited at the Valencian Museum of Ethnology, l’ETNO, from October 24 to January 6, 2023.
Grazing, compared to intensive livestock, guarantees animal welfare, generates quality meat contributing to a healthier human diet.
In addition, this activity is essential for the territory, stimulates the growth of plants improving the filtration capacity of the soil and the maintenance of our aquifers. Likewise, it increases plant diversity (pest control), stimulates pollination, helps control forest fires and erosive phenomena, helping to enhance biodiversity and conserve cultural heritage and territorial identity.
In today’s Spain, with an interior increasingly abandoned and depopulated, the values provided by the shepherd are priceless: The life that does not cease.