We need to move all the resources we can as quickly as possible towards the most effective solutions if we are to halt and reverse the current destructive trends, and create a new, saner economy.
Holistic Management is another name for Integral Permaculture because although IP includes a few more models, the aims are the same: to integrate all the quadrants to design for sustainability. One of the great pioneers we are learning from is Allan Savory.
If you see only one of the videos in this page, watch this one!
Mr Allan Savory used decades of research to create a holistic method to manage land to fight desertification. Something he has proved to work in several parts of the world. In this very personal interview with Mr Savory he explains the results and the way to manage in a holistic way. Something he says is a crucial understanding to battle effects from a climate change. But also that unifying the public and the public opinion is core for humans in order to survive and thrive.
Why a Farm?
Fertile land and particularly old farms like this one are an exceptionally wise investment for the future, for many reasons, amongst which are these:
- whatever happens to the economy you and your family have access to the healthiest food, with zero transport (we have been building up the farm's potential to grow much organic food, moving towards perennial polyculture)
- it includes the basic resources to support for various businesses (most real wealth essentially comes from productive land - growing biomass, harvesting sunshine)
- well-managed organic farm-land is most likely to increases in real value (because of the high quality product it can generate per sq.m) many times more than any other type of land (post-cheap-petrol, town investments versus rural land will very likely experience an inversion: if it is still possible to sell your one bedroom apartment in the middle of a big city, do so quick - you can buy a whole farm for the same price)
- it is also probably the most pleasant & healthiest place you can imagine living (the garden of Eden was probably just a large organic forest garden, which this farm is becoming) - even if extreme poverty hits most of us, this is probably one of the best places in the world to be very poor in
- This is not just a farm however, but potentially a small eco-village (15-25 people), which would in turn be part of a small existing village (200-300 people) which would be very easy to shift into a 'transition town' quickly, with such an example of good design (why we insist on the good-quality permaculture training - essential) & cohesive group in its midst.
Organic anything is the first step towards a really sustainable option.
But we also agree that "sustainable agriculture" is an oxymoron because agriculture is by nature expansive. And also far too expensive, ecologically speaking.
What we're aiming for therefore is to design a perennial polyculture we can live in harmony with. This is basically the aim of any permaculture design - in terms of how we provide for our food - by definition.
It is very useful for people to have done a permaculture design course (or - in addition, & preferably - to do the more comprehensive Integral PDC course our Association has developed over the last decades) because many things which are not so clear to relative newcomers to these issues are easily understood given a solid base in design principles.
Perennial Polycultures build soil, and soil is the most crucial resource (and our most urgent task as humans is to restore the soils our activities have destroyed) not only because it is the source of all terrestrial life, base of any ecology or human economy ... but also because building soil (adding organic matter to the soil) is the most effective way to extract CO2 from the atmosphere (and so halt global warming). Lierre Keith says that if we restore just 75% of grass lands, in only 15 years we can take back all the excess CO2 created since the Industrial Revolution. That's a lot of carbon.
That organic food is - by the way - also healthier for us to eat is just an added advantage, not the principal reason for us to do this work.
Why Shares and Why With Us?
- One of the important most jobs we need to do to change paradigms is to 'liberate' land. The idea of humans 'owning' land is incomprehensible to native peoples and one of the roots of our collective psychosis in the west. With this shares scheme (shares correspond to living rights / stewardship duties but not 'ownership' of land) what we are doing is putting the land in trust with a Foundation which ensures it will be safeguarded by permaculture ethics, principles & objectives in perpetuity. We think this change of mind regarding ownership is essential to bring a saner understanding & practice in our relationship to the land for the future, so we are busy designing for that as well.
- This is a way of enjoying a whole farm for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy one on your own, whilst multiplying many times its quality & fertility. The land available already comes with all basic infrastructure already in place: the additional shares will be spent only on improving this infrastructure further.
- You can cash-in your investment when you wish to move on, always provided you have contributed positively to the project. This would increase simply with time under industrial conditions, but should increase a lot more (in real value if not cash value) as an increasingly productive rural land with our work on it, and particularly as a unit of a wider synergetic whole (the EcoVillage).
- You will be surrounded by other independent entrepreneurs which you can cooperate with to maximize the benefits of all activities
- In the case you need to create a job, here you can do so without running the high risks usually found in terms of making this lifestyle viable (economically, socially, personally) especially if it is new to you
- Organic living is wildly productive if done in a sensible way, not in isolation (as many couples or nuclear families try to make it work) and with the right set of knowledge, experience, skills, local contacts and especially with the solid on-site long-term observation and testing. We can supply all of those, on site, as well as the tangible resources that are needed to start, already in place.
- You can have the best of both worlds: the independence of your own piece of land & own eco-business, with the companionship & support as well as the safety-net of other entrepreneurs around you who are mostly busy with very complimentary businesses of their own
- Great synergies are possible (but not obligatory) in this set-up.
- In the case of you already having a transportable own business, here you can find a perfect home to run it from: high speed internet connection availablity combined with simple healthy living in a most beautiful natural place
Why this Type of Investment
This article from an expert in green investing argues why the type of investment we are offering with this initiative is of the most important, but also least used: Investing in the New Economy
Why the name '8th Life'?
1) we are the 8th generation of the industrial era (& the last that can avoid the definitive collapse of ecosystems which are critical for the global equilibrium of Gaia)
2) we have to integrate all of the 8 levels of the spiral (of the integral model) if we want to evolve humanity (the 8 of the icon has yellow as the main colour - & systems is the level of integral permaculture - which includes the whole spiral)
3) it has something of the proverbial "cat's 9 lives", which refers to the luck (& curiosity / ability to get into mischief) that these animals have ... a little like humanity. It kind of makes sense to remind ourselves we might have used up 8 of our lives already ..
4) 8 the number 8 has for some time been a kind of 'lucky number' in the development of the project, eg. the 8 rolese (& 8 mini-farms / colours on the map)
5) the 8 on its side is the symbol of infinity / sustainability / cycling
6) the permacultural way of looking at wealth talks about the 8 forms of capital, which is what we're working to develop with this project.
... & we keep finding new 'magic 8' things popping up ...
7) "Everything is changing, have you noticed?
1. No one can stand the employment model anymore
2. The entrepreneurship model is also changing
3. The rise of collaboration
4. We are finally starting to understand what the internet is
5. The fall of exaggerated consumption
6. Healthy and organic eating
7. The awakening of spirituality
8. Unschooling movements
8) The 8th Fire Prophecy
We are currently updating our media, but here is a longer interview (2012) with the founder of this project, Stefania Strega.
In this interview, the pioneering Stefania talks about Integral Permaculture, the new EcoVillage project being set up (back then) and why it is crucial we design for a creative, energy descent.
Stefania also talks about the end of cheap oil, how our privileged lives in the west are connected to wars and the destruction of ecosystems, why there is such a high rate of (western) ecovillage-project failures, and - reassuringly - what we can do about it.
Finally, Stefania discusses how we need to unlearn much of what we have been indoctrinated with in our industrialized societies, in order to make these transition initiatives work.
If you have some time on your hands, do have a look in the Integral Permaculture e-Book for a huge selection of project-related videos (These materials are also the supporting materials for the Integral PDC Course, which is a requirement for membership of our ecovillage so the sooner you get on the course, the sooner you'll be designing the EcoVillage with us!)
In the meantime, you will enjoy watching this collection.