Name: Michelle Martin
Place of Residence: Casinos, Valencia, Spain
Background and Personal History: In her previous life, Michelle was an assistant head teacher in a primary school, near Liverpool, England. She studied environmental science at university and has always grown her own organic vegetables and some fruit, too.
In 2008, Michelle and her husband, Kevin, moved to Spain for a two-year sabbatical. Michelle moved to enable herself to learn Spanish, and the idea was for her to go back to school and teach Spanish to all the children. However, once in Spain, the couple knew that they would never go back.
In 2010, Michelle and Kevin bought their property, complete with about an acre of land, no mains connections at all, and started to develop their dream of living self-sufficiently. All their fruit and vegetables are grown organically, and they make their own feeds for the plants from weeds grown in the garden. Michelle uses companion-planting techniques to keep harmful insects away and plants herbs to encourage predators that eat the pests.
Michelle has been keeping poultry for over 2 years now. She keeps chickens, ducks, turkeys and rabbits with a view to getting geese, goats and possibly pigs, too. All her animals are free-range and fed organic feeds. They provide Michelle and Kevin with eggs and meat.
The two installed solar panels and a wind turbine for electricity. They collect all the rainwater from their roof and store it in a water deposit. All shower and washing water is collected in 25-liter containers and used to water the garden. Because water is very scarce where they live in Spain, they also purchased a composting toilet, as flushing water was the only water they wasted.
Michelle bought a second-hand range to cook with, using wood collected from old fallen trees. She also has a second wood burner for heating the house in the winter.
Terracing inhospitable areas to enable more crops to be grown
Building housing for the ever-expanding poultry flocks
Planting seeds using recycled planters
Making sausages and chorizo
Other Fun Facts: Michelle has been experimenting with building artificial rabbit warrens, and she is getting friends to save all their plastic water bottles in order to build a plastic green house. She is also experimenting with fly traps to encourage the breeding of maggots to feed to poultry.
More Places to Find Michelle on the Web: