The sixth of the EPT meetings has started today at Friland ecovillage, in Denmark with some 35 participants from Germany, Bulgaria, Ireland, Britain, Spain, Czech Republic, Latvia, France, Slovakia, Finland, Holland, Sweden and Denmark.
After the welcoming and presentations we did a group dynamic where we explored
what happened in the previous meetings through an Appreciative Inquiry, reflections on the I, the We, the world pattern and reconnecting with the primary activities (PAs), with a brief presentation of each one.
We continued with a very brief (5 min) summary of the VSM to include/inform the new participants. From the Coordination group, Sandra explained th eobjectives of the EPT, so that we can have a clearer idea about what we need to work on during this meeting in order to achieve the desired results.
Martin then showed the permateachers.eu website so that all participants could familiarise themselves with it, its state of development and so that each PA could identify what is missing and take responsibility to produce/introduce the appropriate materials. We also considered including participants who could not make it to this meeting through Skype/e-mail, etc.
After lunch half of the participants took a visit to Tycho and Caroline’s home/land within Friland. They explained their PC design of the whole lot. They started from their Zone 0 through Zone 3, all present within their less than 1000 m2 of land. They showed us about the energetic efficiency of their cosy straw bale house, both during its construction and usage (heating, insulation, etc.) and about all the other systems they put in place: an attached greenhouse, a duck system to control slugs/snails, a Zone 1 garden, a food forest and a nursery.
Right after that we went back inside to work on our PAs, by establishing needs and priorities of each PA and having Editing/ Publishing members join several other PAs, in order to help them with their work to produce materials to be published on the website to achieve the partnerships objectives.
After the afternoon break, two of the more veteran Friland residents took us on a tour of their ecovillage. They explained about the principles that are at the base of their community: self-construction, no dependency on banks (avoiding debt), no dependency on subsidies and living in harmony with nature. Despite the diversity of ways of thinking of the residents, which give way to conflicts sometimes, the ideals of the community function
as a social glue and help solve conflicts.
The ecovillage projects only started 12 years ago in what was then a corn field. The land is owned by a trust and the inhabitants have bought the right of use of the land and they own their house and buildings on it.
To avoid speculation they set up a system by which the residents cannot sell the right of use of the land for a cost that is higher that the one it was purchased (adjusted for inflation), and the house can be sold at an agreed cost per square meter, quite a low one, to keep them affordable.
Within the community spaces there are recreational areas, a community chicken pen, a house with two big rooms and a kitchen and WCs. The project started to be known thanks to a TV program that was broadcasted for three years and that still attracts visitors to the village.
After dinner we had a presentation by Steen Moller, one of the Friland founders and very charismatic speaker, about straw bale building. He also spoke about his relationship with permaculture by showing some designs where specific solutions are given to specific problems such as the improvement of the efficiency of a rocket stove and a greenhouse whose irrigation systems is built using waste waters from the septic tank buffered by a thick layer of mussels shells and soil.
Tomorrow we will continue to share all things happening at our Denmark meeting.