At the age of 10, Joan Carulla had an epiphany. He vowed to become un generador de amor – someone who generates love. At that early age he felt he was being called to do as much for humanity as possible. Fast forward 90 years, 100-year-old Joan has kept his vow. He is continuing to generate love for his garden and the people of Barcelona.
Joan is known in Spain as a pioneer of organic farming and the father of Barcelona’s first roof garden. Above all, he started his roof garden as a way to teach children how to love the earth. Over the years dozens of children have passed through his “allotment in the sky” which is home to more than 40 fruit trees. He grows olives, peaches, and figs, as well as grape vines, potatoes, garlic, and much more.
The civil war in Spain in the 1930s made Joan a vegetarian. First out of necessity, then out of conviction, he became both a vegetarian and then a pacifist. Known as the “cultivator of love,” he believes that when love becomes contagious, war and discomfort will end.
Of course, Joan learned how to farm from his parents and grandparents. To this day he uses old school techniques, and no pesticides. Also, he makes compost from everything he can.
However, this “grandfather of the green roofs” has not been going it alone. He, his family, and a team of builders have spent 14 years building the block of flats that make up his farm in the sky. There was much that needed to be done. For one thing, the terrace needed to be strengthened to hold the significant amount of soil needed. Additionally, water storage needed to be built and drainage needed to be created.
The experiences of his life, including the building of his garden, have been recorded by Joan on a manual Olivetti typewriter and turned into a book entitled Mi siglo verde (My Green Century). An accompanying short documentary can be seen here. In it he comments on how growing has changed over the years, including the involvement of Monsanto and the creation of genetically modified plants.
Reasons for Longevity
Joan credits his longevity to never having smoked or drunk alcohol – and his vegetarian diet. However, he goes on to say that it is “because I have always enjoyed my work, as a small businessman and farmer, in daily contact with my beloved plants, and because I have banished envy and hatred from my mind.”
Sounds like living at 100% for 100 years. You really need to read the whole story about this amazing man for yourself. Click here.