Pedro Ribeiro. Mountain Villages

Pastoralism is very important in the mountain territory of Serra da Estrela, and this project is a very innovative way to promote this activity that is the base of an important mountain ecosystem.

In the workshop of April 28th, ADIRAM presented the first draft of the analysis of the Portuguese reality regarding the training offer related to pastoralism. ADIRAM has been studying the portuguese reality of pastoralism training and the current panorama is still very inefective.

Despite having a large agrarian training school system with a good territory coverage, the current curricular offer is mainly dedicated to form livestock breeding technicians and engineers, and not extensive shepherds. Within the formal system, there is a lack of a specific offer to form who wants to work as an extensive shepherd.

The most related available options are the Master of Mediterranean Agro-Silvo-Pastoralism in a Polytechnic School and the Short Cycle course on Mediterranean Farming in a Polytechnic school.

The most interesting offers in Portugal are available only in the non-formal system, the recently created projects of “School of Shepherds”: one in the Central Portugal and the other in the North of Portugal. The first one has a more traditional approach of pastoralism, under the supervision of 2 polytechnic schools, and offer classes such as food management or how to drive a tractor. The second option of School of Shepherd has a much more modern approach, with innovative classes such as Rural tourism or Business Planing.

After the workshop, ADIRAM has been interviewing shepherds, local breeds associations, the leaders of the school of shepherds and academic experts on pastoralism. For instance, one of the most interesting experts we have talked to is Dr. Martinho, an university expert who has several works about pastoralism. In the 1970s he was responsible for the (only) survey about pastoralism in Serra da Estrela, gathering several and important data about their way of living, transhumance, pastures, etc, by interviewing 638 sheep and goats shepherds. This data is still nowadays the only trustworthy source of information about shepherds we have in Serra da Estrela.


Finally we give you details of ADIRAM latest project, known as “Queijeiras – Female Cheese makers in Serra da Estrela”.


Who are the females who make cheese in the Serra da Estrela territory in Portugal? They are women, mothers, rural entrepreneurs, family business managers, fighting and holding a unique ancestral knowledge – the secret of cheese production in this region of Portugal.

ADIRAM is very proud to announce that we want to empower the true ambassadors of the Serra da Estrela territory by offering a training and personal/professional development course specifically designed for these women. We want to give them the skills to be effective entrepreneurs and to be the rural sustainable development leaders.

To this end, this project called “As Queijeiras” includes the sale of a beautiful Burel cape, with a design inspired by a cheese, whose sales will fund the course; and also the production of a book that will perpetuate the knowledge of female cheese makers.

The Burel Cape will be produced with a 100% natural portuguese textile called Burel, made with portuguese wool and handmade in Manteigas. There are several sizes and colors including a kid cape.

We already have 30 women that are on board with this project, but we plan to empower as much women as possible! If you are interested in helping these women, either by ordering a Burel Cape, the book or simply to support a training course spot for these women, let us know! (will be available in english very soon)