Creating more re-localized economies is an essential part of stopping the destruction & creating the new societies that we want & need, able to live in harmony with Nature.
The Vision is to re-populate an ancient farming hamlet* with 15-25 people (starting with a smaller group of 8 on existing site). We are committed to using the best wisdom we have to date to co-create a sustainable & healthy community & eco-village, using the Integral Permaculture Designers Manual as a theoretical starting base.
To enjoy the big & difficult adventure of learning how to live productively & in harmony with each other, with the land, with the local cultures & with all other species.
With the aim of forming one of the thousands of important post-industrial 'Leaver' settlementswe need in order to Transitionto a truly sustainable, just & humane economy, culture & future.
* Finca Luna - the farm we already own - is surrounded by 5 other properties currently for sale which used to comprise one large (& very well designed) farm. The vision is to buy up these other farms with the new share-holders' capital, & join up the land under a Foundation (land owned by the Foundation with share-holders having full permanent right of use) as a base of the EcoVillage.
Explicit Models & Assumptions
With the Integral Permaculture Academy we are working to develop a comprehensive & detailed Manual for Sustainability: www.PermaCultureScience.org and it is on this theory & models (the best tested ones we know of to date) that we are basing the global design of this EcoVillage
Almonds in flower & solar shower heater (we are still using the very rudimentary bottle & pipe system but other hot showers are planned)
- the Association Gaia Tasiri (a not-for profit non-governmental organisation, so all income has to be used to fulfil the aims of the association) has been managing this farm since it was brought in June 2006, under the name of Finca Luna as an experimental & educational project.
- Finca Luna is now part of an old & much larger farm which was divided. It is our dream to unite it again. The parts are on sale now or will probably later be on sale, between 40 & 140 thousand euros in value, making this an ideal site for creating a small Integral Permaculture community or eco-village. Which means lowering consumption by modernizing existing human-built infrastructures instead of building more.
- We are creating a Foundation which will be the legal owner of the land (currently the Association has been entrusted with the land), enabling residents to buy transferable shares which give them the right of living on site as part of the 8thLife community, & corresponding stewardship responsibilities.
- We expect all pioneering residents to participate fully in writing up the Share-Holders' Agreement.
How we got this far
We simply bought a farm in 2006 after living in a rented farm nearby since 2001.
We loved it, hard as it was at times we found we could not go back to living in a city ever again.
We also noticed there were lots of people who are also wanting to make the step of moving to simpler and rural living, but don't have the resources, support, information & contacts to do this successfully.
We witnessed many people & families making the big jump, only to return to the city after a few years of trying, having lost a lot of money, energy & enthusiasm.
Many others we witnessed spending years and decades travelling around the world, looking for the perfect project, place or community to settle down in, or hoping to accumulate enough inspiration & experience in order to 'start their own project', but that never happened.
Huge amounts of money are being spent in such 'eco-tourism' which effectively sucks resources away from permaculture projects & toward the transport multinationals: PLEASE re-think what you actually want to subsidize.
Our mission became to help turn this big resource drain into something positive, creative & constructive, instead of another form of consumerism.
This meant finding the most effective ways to accelerate the action-learning necessary to make such big changes in one's life, for people who are 'civilized' into many patterns which are very counter-productive to living sustainably or rationally.
We also learned a great deal in hosting many action-learning programmes effectively, creating many small temporary communities, but in the same place.
This big & unusual adventure informed the curriculum of the PDC+++ Course. It is now available online in two languages to help people design their own communities, without the need to travel quite so much.
Later we realized, as we slowly got to know the history of the place we were living in from the elderly neighbors, who generously shared hours of stories from their lifetimes here, that the small hamlet which surrounded our farm was perfect for an eco-village, as it had been built to be one about a century ago and worked very well before. All the major infrastructure is already in place, all that's missing is a pioneering group of people.
It is also becoming obvious that these small eco-communities are very needed as 'seeds' for changing local economies, that we need many more of them and that we need to document well their progress, so that we can help others not repeat the same mistakes.
How do we finance all this?
The EcoVillage project is designed on a share-holder basis.
The main disadvantage of this seems to be that most people aren't familiar with what being a share-holder means, and our idea is slightly different (we don't intend to 'float' the project on any capitalist markets, our shares are simply returnable loans to the association).
But in practice this structure has many advantages:
- most importantly it combines the best of 'private property' (we do 'own' our shares, can re-sell them, etc.) but without falling into what we consider a 'type1' error of civilized cultures: making any land the 'property' of humans:
- the land is legally owned by a Foundation to ensure security and that the mission is preserved: people may come and go, but we live and work here only to serve the sustainability of the land (which in integral permaculture terms means we listen to what the land 'wants to become' to the best of our abilities: we are servants, not consumers or owners of the land)
- it makes the financial investment much easier and clearer for everyone and is very flexible
- we (effectively) 'buy' a 400,000€ farm for a small fraction of that cost, with most of the advantages of 'buying our own farm' but none of the disadvantages.
- it ensures financial equality amongst the members - the idea is that (eventually) nobody can own more than one full share (shares started at 20,000€ in 2011)
- the mini-shares enable people to transition to full members financially as well as in time, for eg. starting with living here a few months per year, and contributing a few mini-shares, effectively as a savings scheme. (mini-shares started at 2,000€ in 2011)
- it makes is much easier to value 'sweat equity' fairly: if any members do professional work to build infrastructure, this can be counted towards their share.
- it ensures basic fairness in other ways. For example, as long as there is space, anyone can live here with us, but share-holders pay less 'rent' (shared basic running costs) than non-share-holders, on a sliding scale according to how much we each invested in creating the collectively enjoyed infrastructure.
See more details about becoming a share-holder in the For Investors page.