THE CYCLE OF LIFE
Irena grew up on a Dalmatian island and spent her childhood deeply rooted in traditional Mediterranean nature and culture. Growing up, she watched her grandmother give her heart and hands to the land through her daily toil of the soil.
And the soil always gave something back.
Terra Meera was dreamed up by a woman, Irena Ateljevic, who decided to return to the land, to her soul, to herself.
Irena left her island and decided to travel the world to feed her intellectual and modern desires. Her journey took her to a doctoral study in New Zealand, followed by a strong international academic career. On her research trips, where she studied how community after community had been ravaged by corporate capitalism, her critical worldview expanded.
She realised that the beautiful world that her grandmother left her was disappearing. Then one day she asked herself:
‘What kind of a world do I want to leave my daughter?’
So, at the peak of her successful career Irena decided to return to her native land of Dalmatia. She felt she needed to move from ‘talking the walk’ to ‘walking the talk’ of sustainability.
Firstly, with her two former students she created Feniks, an NGO for Developing of Human Potential and Innovative Actions - to run sustainability projects in her native village of Murter. Then she created a social enterprise SHE – Sibenik Hub for Ecology, the first step towards the ultimate vision of Terra Meera (see more below). But Terra Meera is not just about Irena’s vision. It has been a collective dream inspired by daring humans who have contributed to her creative manifestation in many different ways.
Special acknowledgement goes to Alexander Bribirski who has bought the land next to Terra Meera, keen to join the vision and contribute to the regeneration of Bribir village.
Irena's grandmother Stoše
Irena and her daughter Tina
THE FIRST SEED
SIBENIK HUB FOR ECOLOGY
Terra Meera had her first seed planted four years ago, in SHE’s urban hub (the first stage of the project), located in the nearby old town of Šibenik, a medieval city on the Croatian coast between two national parks (Kornati Islands and Krka). In the aspiration to support organic farmers, the hub had an organic bistro sourcing sustainable produce from (mostly) local producers, an atelier hosting educational and creative activities from bodywork to art (yoga, meditation, dance, etc.), as well as a rooftop bar.
In the four years that SHE existed, we also organised many talks, events, and music in the bistro for the local community and travelers alike. More broadly, we worked on regional influence by facilitating between public and private initiatives that are dedicated to a regenerative approach such as urban gardening and green waste projects. This journey has created a positive synergy between SHE and the municipality who enthusiastically supported our ventures. While the bistro still exists under new ownership, we have moved the project to the countryside, more close to the National Park of Krka water falls and historical Liburnian town of Skardona, today’s Skradin.