“I believe the day has come for people and plants to live in harmony on this planet… Again.”
Wandering through San Joan market on a Sunday lunchtime is one of the most pleasurable pastimes in Ibiza. It’s here you find the real artisans, the real producers of the island and yes, the real characters. Just like Nathalie Alice Blanche Barda, a self-confessed French witch…
“When I was young I was so bored I escaped. Then I became curious and started to study.
When I believed in democracy I worked at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
When I believed in information to be useful for the masses I worked as a journalist.
When I believed enlightenment was the only interesting path, I went to study in Dharamsala.
When I met Osho I realized that sex was the first step….but not the last.
When I wanted to be closer to nature, I moved to Ibiza.
When I believed in using my body for money I worked as a fitness instructor and go-go dancer in Ibiza nightclubs.
When I believed that education was key, I built educational programs for children in jail.
When I believed I could help people, I became a coach.
When I finally accepted my woman incarnation, I became a mother.
When I got my menopause I felt so relieved and free that I decided to devote the rest of my life studying plants.”
And it is because of her study of plants and qualifications in Permaculture, Phytotherapie and Aromatherapy that we are standing at her Boticario del Campo stall today, viewing her wonderful selection of balms, liquids, cosmetics and creams all created for our health and beauty.
Nathalie is one of the people on the island that owes much of her success to the Ibiza Land Bank (Banc de Terres de les Pitiüses). Did you know that within 10 years, 50% of Europe’s farmers will retire – often with no successor to take on the farm. Which of course leads to closure. In Ibiza, 20,000 of hectares of agricultural land has fallen into disuse since 2008, which is why the Ibiza Land Bank is so important. It’s a project masterminded by the Organic Producers Association of Ibiza and Formentera (APAEEF), and it connects the owners of disused land with small scale organic producers – creating new opportunities for both parties. And it created such an opportunity for Nathalie by providing her land near San Matteo.
“Agriculture needs to be at the heart of all our thinking” laughs Nathalie under the midday sun. “I work with the moon cycles of course, for instance I harvest the helichrysum every Full Moon in tradition with ancestral techniques. Having myself some health issues that no conventional doctor has been able to solve without surgery, I started to study the exceptional and ancestral forgotten knowledge of using medicinal plants…to heal myself first. Then slowly I started to share and assist friends and family in using medicinal plants rather than chemical medicines. Being vegan for 40 years, I’m convinced that we can do much better than tea with mint or salsa with tomatoes. But selling my products on the market isn’t my main objective, that would be education – soon I hope to start workshops here in schools.”
And like so many others here on the island, bio-hacking has become a major part of her life…
“This is true. In search of self-survival techniques I have a long list that I hold close to my heart. These include…
To start understanding what my body is telling me.
To master my wounds and turn them into strength.
To look at pain and suffering as an opportunity to grow.
To put my vulnerability and my sensitivity in service for others.
To use my fears to become more conscious in my everyday life.
To learn how to adapt in order to enjoy each day.
To respect and worship my temple, my body.
To seat and breath from my nostril, my life center.
To accept that my guts can be more clever than my brain and carry all my cellular memory to play with my limits because my freedom depends on it.
To challenge my comfort zone regularly not to get old too fast.
To know what is good or not for my health and be able to help my body heal itself.
To learn how to put rituals to help my organs in their purifying process.
To get my power back because I know how to restore my energy.
To regain my sovereignty by becoming friend with my body again.”