Our First EVS-funded project has just finished! EVS Project no: 2015-3-ES02-KA105-007134
, dates 01/02/2016 - 30/04/2017
We are very proud of Maja & Nicola who completed an intensive year-long EVS programme with us. Here is a report on what & how they did.
did the whole year whilst learning to mother her first
baby - a huge feat in itself, which delighted & inspired everyone
around her - & Maja
used the experience to become a permanent member of
our embryonic EcoVillage project, by setting up her ecobusiness during
this time so she could be a financially independent member of the team
THANK YOU for being model students & volunteers, and doing a great job of leading our other interns here.
Two Great Interns
A great bonus that we offer to our long-term EVS volunteers is the possibility to complete the advanced PermaCulture curriculum offered by the Integral PermaCulture Academy. Both did so well on that course that we enrolled them onto the Diploma-level course as an additional reward for all of their hard work & enthusiasm.
||Originally we were planning to have Nicola from the UK and another
volunteer from Slovakia, who however proved to be quite problematic so
we had to ask her to leave. |
Fortunately we had another
application for volunteering here from Maja from Poland, who was very
keen to work with us from time and was very suitable for this programme,
so we asked our National Agency if we could change partners and
fortunately they agreed.
These two young women proved not only
formidable members of the team but also worked very well
together, and we are all very happy to have had the privilege of living
and working closely with them both for such a great year!
Below some of the things they achieved in all this time...
Their Own Evaluations
We had regular evaluation sessions where the volunteers described in their own words
how they thought they were fulfilling (or not yet....) each of the objectives of the project.
Here are a few extracts (Nicola's in green
, Maja's in purple
including accounting, team coordination, budgeting, mentoring and support of others, etc.
am trying to work on my pro-active thinking. It is really important
here, for morale that I try to offer constructive, creative problem
solving suggestions instead of just critique.
One of the things that I am getting to practice is resilience,
flexibility and perserverence, which are all very important for
entrepreneurship. I am offering support to existing enterpreneuers and
the team of people I work with, I am practicing organization and
coordination and I am feeling more inspired.
<< Nicola, Romana (another EVS volunteer) and Zsofi (intern) creating a mosaic table
Learning to focus more on the big
vision rather than being stuck with the everyday little challenges that
can be discouraging. I am learning about the importance of people care. I
am taking the responsibility for the hostel & that includes keeping
record of who is here, whether and what they paid, soon I will have to
take responsibility for managing the insurance. I appreciate the design
class which give the criteria for good design in all 4 quadrants (2.1.).
Which has given me some good ideas.
We had a mini class on transparent accounts & budget keeping. We are
responsible for our book keeping & receipts. I am coordinating
garden hour with a large team of people & this is going well.
When it comes to team management, I
am coordinating 3 volunteers + work with them & there have been no
problems. I've noticed that I've started to think in terms of well-being
of other people and what they enjoy doing and what they are good at
doing and to use this to our advantage. Also, I try to organise work
that is interesting and diverse for these particular people.
Maja, Nicola and Zsofi building together a shelter for the sheep
(one of my online supervisors) also pointed out in our interview- that I
want to bring something new to this island, i.e. holistic grazing and
that is enterpreneurial. In practice, it is still at the very beginning
but I have quite a big vision with this holistic grazing on the island.
It is still super exciting for me as the time passes.
I have started to feel much more initiative coming out of me. I can feel
like my confidence necessary for leadership is growing. Recently I got
to manage few volunteers and coordinate their work and I think I did a
I am taking a part in a process of choosing new volunteers and participants for the next EVS project.
I continue to immerse myself in Re-evaluation Counselling theory and
practice so I understand other people better and know better how to
support them. Also, thanks to RC practice, I am slowly clearing the
distresses that stay on my way to become fully intelligent and capable
of effective leadership.
Learn and Practice Design
Especially building and all other aspects
of the eco-technologies & living structures essential to any
eco-village, which are best learnt by contributing to the infrastructure
of the ecovillage project
am feeling quite excited about the implementation of the chicken
tractor. I made a sketch for how to connect each garden and for the
fencing- and it was really satisfying to problem solve like that.
I am also taking more and more responsibility for the water systems here
and I am feeling really good about the regular maintenance involved and
my ability to problem solve and practically fix the problems.
I have been doing extensive observations on garden designs and the use
of appropiate materials and where to put human energy and hope to
display leadership in this area. I have installed a vast amount of
automated watering systems, I am helping to construct a new nursery.
Really enjoying using mindmaps, I feel my eyes are open a little bit
wider, I feel quite enthusiastic, the course is very useful, also the
Nicola and Luka are improving our solar shower
Maja repairing a stone wall in one of our gardens
just took the responsibility for animal system design. This is quite
big and complex and has a lot of loose ends. I'm just starting to take
care of all of them, I feel quite confident in my abilities in this
field, also in my ability to improve the design. I also feel quite
excited about doing so.
With the animals though, it can take time to implement changes.
When it comes to construction, I spent quite a lot of time lately building the Domo.
This is mainly working with ferrocement. I am getting more and more
confident with this material. I also made a few silly mistakes while
building and now I will always keep them in mind for the future.
Nicola and Jose preparing ferments from local produce
It is interesting for me to have witnessed the large amount of people
care that is required in community, the importance of shared values, the
importance of group celebrations and appreciations and that in some way
living in community is integrated as a part of a broader spiritual
I am learning about the importance of
discussion and living without dogma. It is also interesting designing
the community that there is a time for everybody to do what needs to be
done to make a progress in infrastructure and yet, to have enough time
for people care.
have witnessed the displacement of the pedretea project which was
designed to investigate the emotional aspects of living in community as
well as practical.
Nicola in the garden she supervised
am experiencing and witnessing emotional and mental challenges that we
face when attempting to form a living community. Closeness required to
live and work with somebody and the synthesis required is not one that
is easily attained. I am enthusiastic to meet these challenges and work
together to overcome them.
In charge of domestics with Maja I am face with the difficult task
of creating a timetable that fulfills the needs of mothers, children,
busy founders and new members. A timetable that provides for the
PeopleCare needs for our physical needs of nourishment and relaxation
and also which is productive and offers everyone adequate chance to
contribute, this is though.
Maja, Giovanni, Eloise and Phil (interns) doing an artistic interpretation of the past week
observing, analysing and engaging with different members of community, I
learn not only what a community actually means in practice, but what is
necessary to build and sustain it.
I am learning on my own example how critical in building a community is
commitment and focusing your energy on one place and time, quite often
leaving the past behind.
It is very difficult for me, sometimes feels heartbreaking, but every little step in this direction feels right.
I am learning how to form relationships with everyone present in the
community, not only people with which I naturally 'click', and that is
sometimes quite difficult.
I am learning a lot about creating and keeping my boundaries and in the
same time to stay open for people around me. I learn how to think in
terms of bigger 'we' - get out of strictly individualistic thinking.
I am being close with people with which I would not try to form any
relationship otherwise, so I am learning how to move beyond personal
differences and work together towards common goals.
I am learning how to overcome any difficulties that arise in
relationships instead of running away. All of that learning is quite
difficult, but what is going well is that I am doing it and I am very
committed to go through all processes I have to.
Leadership and Teamwork Skills
Maja leading group work on a nursery - learning scaffolding
I've been given a responsiblity to coordinate and manage a pair of
volunteers. They left after one week. I noticed that I didn't give them
enough attention and was not engaged enough thinking that they don't
really need it. Also, I am still being shy, especially at the beginning
and with new people, I am limiting my communication to necessary
The atmosphere at present is one where courage and leadership are needed
and there is a space in which each person has to step up and fill. For
me this is really exciting and is a chance to explore my ideas, blocks,
inspirations and dreams.
Giving this chance I am attempting to
take the first step, not to wait for prompting and to do so with wisdom
and child-like enthusiasm.
This exercise means that I have to be
open to receiving feedback, to questioning my ideas and actions and to
strengthen my backbone.
Nicola and Romana transplanting tomatoes
I am really eager to gain those skills that I was always lacking and for
the first time in my life I am interested inI was later coordinating
another group of volunteers and I think I did pretty well. I got a
feedback at the end from the oldest of them that I should dedicate more
of my time and attention to them, check on their well-being and their
work. He was right. I still have this really un-easy feeling about
having small talks and making people feel comfortable, I have quite a
few distresses about that. The volunteers keep coming and I am the
coordinator, so the opportunities will come to develop this further.
Thinking / contributing to an ethical and
sustainable bioregional economy and network of exchanges with skills
and produce. Collaborating with and supporting other local projects,
NGOs and charities so they can have a wider range of experiences and
enrich the local collaboration network.
Given that the eco-village is designed to be as pioneering and sustainable as possible, that we have guests and students that come to
learn and enjoy and see this - this feels like a good start to
contributing to our local economy.
Also, the biodiversity and pioneering systems that we have involving
animals, greatly add to the regions ecosystem and fertility. Through
observation I’m learning that launching bioregional project need lots of
dedication and time.
Nicola tending to chickens >>
I am learning that having good
relationships with neighbors is crucial. Planning for the future with
animals I can see how we will need to develop it further.
I am observing with interest the exchanges we make with other farmers, lately exchanging mostly animals.
I am trying to socialize with other people on the island to establish relationships outside of the farm.
We have an ongoing deal with the butcher in which she gives us animal
produce and we give her our garden produce. I keep learning spanish in
hope of developing more relationships with local people.
I get opportunities to attend to Gaiofas, which are an events for work
exchange between neighbors. I do not attend all of them, but recently
for example I was taking a part in a collective sheep shearing where I
have met a lot of people involved in creating a local community and
I look forward to find more events like that, attending them, making
connections with people and searching for opportunities in which my
participation would benefit us all.
Documentation of the Designs
I am doing well at drawing maps and
diagrams and using mind maps for creating designs. The wiki system and
the weekly design meetings at brunch are very effective for documenting
design for collaboration and visioning for the future.
They also include holopticism so it is great. I feel inspired about
documenting designs and I start to see the importance and benefits of
Using the newsletter as an excuse to record the progress of the garden with photos and videos thanks to Maja (B).
Also, the opportunities for dialogue in forming relationships and in
taking leadership in a transparent way have led to great documentation
of requests, emotional processes and thought clearing.
<< Maja on the fields with the sheep
I am documenting my design on
Holistic Grazing, I'm a bit overwhelmed with amount of pictures I have
to be making for that and uploading them and putting together in a nice
I do that though with the garden we are working on (recent newsletter).
Becoming Permaculture Designers!
Acquire knowledge of permaculture design.
It is great because we started to
watch the classes together again in the library. We are now watching
classes on design techniques and principles. Given that permaculture is
just a design science, that's pretty good start. I am helping with the
chickens and seeing the cycle of compost and food that they are involved
in. Here at 8thLife, everything from brunch meetings to sacred rituals
to the garden to the kitchen are permaculture design projects, so I have
many examples and ideas to learn from and implement and enjoy.
Maja, Nicola and Luka making guttering from recycled materials
I very much enjoyed M3 on the soil and I find it very useful to solidify
my knowledge of SoilCare and to enthuse me when it comes to designing a
garden and caring for it.
I have almost completed M1 on People Care,
for me one of the most inspiring things about this module was to know
that people who I live with aspire to using their intelligence and
design to create healthy environments and healthy humans. The fact that
this is module 1 is brilliants, because it is a recognition that forming
healthy relationships and giving people good tools and education on
relationships and community building is the first slice of the cake in
nourishing the world and our communities. Without healthy inspired,
committed individuals who work together, nothing can change. The fact
that Permaculture Design is an integral process which focuses on the
internal aspects of being alive, the external aspects of living together
and integrating this with the environment, culture and science to
create greater collective consciousness was news to me. The best news I
have heard for a long time, because finally we have a subject where
system of design which could save humanity and a world. I have just
started M2 on design techniques and I'm excited.
Maja preparing for some grinding!
have done few classes form M1 and now I am starting M2. The classes are
very comprehensive and rich in information. I enjoy doing the mind
maps, I would like to take some time to review them later and read some
materials in the e-book, to go deeper into the subject.
I am just in the middle of class about integral model. I really enjoyed
it, it's amazing work that has been done to create this model, I can't
wait to finish it, hear about applications and think about them myself.
I really like doing the classes, they are all very inspiring.
In the meantime of doing the classes I learn about permaculture design
in all its aspects while listening attentively to the teachers that take
every opportunity to explain things extensively.
The most interesting part for me at this moment is about building
community and leadership skills, what I learn in practice and read
helpful materials about it that I find in the library. Can't wait to
start doing the classes!
The project envisages gaining new skills
and knowledges by the volunteers which will help increase their chances
at the labour market and provide good opportunities for career growth
and thus contribute to the development of their own country upon their
can feel my enthusiasm and boldness regenerating which is brilliant.
Taking leadership, finding the energy to do what needs to be done,
creating effective teamwork.... They are all in sharper focus at the
moment and I am enjoying it. Certainly, these skills are some of the
most fundamental ones for the labour market and this is a great place to
practice them. Also, the course, Stefania's open sharing and high
standards give a great place to refine a sense of aesthetic and morality
in these areas.
<< Maja got very good at metalwork & taught lots of others to do it
I feel that I grow with every day. I
have never felt ready to even enter the labour market, after graduating
from university I found myself full of theoretical knowledge and no
experience in even simple human communication.
Here I grow stronger, more confident and clear about my values and what I
want to do in life. That in itself makes my chances everywhere, not
just the labour market, increasing. As I will develop my design, learn more and gain more experience it will get better and better.
<< Not all of it was work! One of our days at the
as described above, the primary objective of this project was to
provide the volunteers with the opportunity to learn basic entrepreneur
skills, inclusion and participation, as well as acquire knowledge of
design, build and all aspects of the eco-technologies & living
structures essential to an eco-village, whilst living and working in
community, also thinking of how to contribute to an ethical and
sustainable bioregional economy.
In Integral Permaculture we call all of this 'integral design' and we
ask all of our interns to create an end of project presentation where
they summarize what they have learned through the practical designs that
they have worked on.
Nicola's & Maja's presentations were done on the farm in front of
their peers and tutors, with simultaneous broadcast on google hangout
live stream so that Stef & Pepa could also see them, as they weren't
on site at the time. This also meant that the presentations were
recorded on video. Here you can see the full recording
... but because it is very long (one hour!) we have edited the two parts into two shorter videos below:
Nicola's spanish improved a great deal whilst with us and so was able to do hers in two languages!
Whilst giving attention to her one year old Luka ...
Permaculture Design Portfolios
This project was also designed to document all of their process so
it can be shared with other practitioners worldwide through their
design portfolios (which will also serve as proof of their capabilities
in design, implementation and especially leadership and teamwork
Although many of the designs that both Nicola & Maja have worked on
are still in the private spaces (not yet ready for publishing), some of
their designs are, and all will, with time, appear on these, their
respective online design portfolios:
Nicola's portfolio link coming up soon ...
Maja's Design Portfolio
Maja in particular had a very clear idea right from the beginning of
her time with us that she was most interested in soil fertility, and she
was delighted to find out about holistic grazing, a science we teach on
the course which is very important for reversing climate change, and
which we practice here with our small herd of sheep.
None of us had had the time and dedication however to document this
process, and Maja started doing so in a very thorough, scientific and
well-presented way, also thanks to the deep affection and connection she
developed with the sheep.
That is the most developed and impressive design to date in her design portfolio
& it started with her mapping the various paddocks we use throughout the year to rotate the sheep through (see map).
Social Media Outputs
Even though we had set out to produce an abundant of multimedia to share the learning and results of this project, it
actually proved quite difficult to get our EVS volunteers to make videos or write articles, mainly because the work schedule, their doing a quite intensive
permaculture course during this time, and taking on multiple real
responsibilities tended to push this extra task to the bottom of the
(although, on top of that, not having much experience or particular interest in video-making was an important factor).
this we learned that it would be a good idea in the future to have one EVS
volunteer who is interested in focusing on media work to join the team and fulfill
that niche ...
these setbacks, by the end of the year we did have some videos
produced by the EVS volunteers, as they bravely learned to make &
upload - but unfortunately not to edit - videos.
example Nicola very kindly made quite a comprehensive video manual for
our internal design wiki (mostly of videos like this one), as part of
her handover of the garden coordination role she had been taking on for the
year, just before she finished her time here. Coordinating the gardens
included teaching many people basics gardening skills like sowing,
planting & plant identification during that time, and making new
garden structures, as well as some keys for successful growing of abundant vegetables for the whole
Maja bravely battled with her shyness in order to make various videos of the design projects she was coordinating,
camping site will eventually be part of her eco-business here at
the ecovillage, as she worked on improving its infrastructure in the forest garden area during her EVS project time here, whilst she also
practiced doing the administration work required to process guests inquiries
And later, she - very capably - took on the additional job
of supervising volunteers to help her with this project.
But the main way in which Maja & Nicola enriched our media output
- very important in fulfilling our mission of inspiring and informing others to make positive changes in their lives and communities -
was by collaborating in creating our project newsletters, like Spring Blossoms, EVS Experiences and Growing Gardens, Spring News
as well as adding regular photos & short descriptions of their work to our ecovillage Facebook group, like these ones below
- click on each picture to see the corresponding Facebook entry, where you can also comment or ask questions.
.... there is more to this story .... coming up soon!
Keep posted with news in our FB Group
&/ or by registering for our Newsletter
Phil is an intern from Germany who has been here for 6 weeks, and who
has taken on coordinating the work in the gardens and some parts of the
forest gardens as his practice for facilitation and design coordination.
I enjoyed being here with other people here – the group of other interns, guests, volunteers and residents.
I’m thinking more pro-actively now, I developed the leadership and facilitation skills. I really like that I got a good overview on important and helpful skills on communities and eco-projects. I really like living in nature, being really part of it, giving more positive input to it. I got some knowledge about how to live sustainable life, mainly with the course. Developed Gardening skills, and learned a bunch of nice tools for designing.
It’s different living in a city than in a place like that and I really like it.
Giovanni & Eloise
Giovanni & Eloise are a Bazilian-Italian & English couple of interns who came here to learn more about how to set up their own sustainability project and clarify their vision for what to do, where, when, how, etc.
It was a great decision to come here, because I needed this experience to take with me to Italy.
How much I appreciate peace and nature. How much I appreciate the intellectual talks, how much I want to help and heal the planet. How much I want to create community. How many communities are there to be helped.
The whole experience, it came in the right moment for me.
I really enjoyed the team work we were doing in the morning especially, like the group design challenges and being able to see what we can do when we put our minds together.
It’s been really valuable to have this quiet place in nature to gain perspective on life and to learn new tool to help with direction and how to self-manage.
It was difficult at first, this pro-activity element where the classes weren’t given in person, but I’ve understood gradually how those online resources can be used and it’s taught me to take more control over my learning.
The biggest thing that I walk away with is this ability to make the conscious design about my life and to know that there is a community of others also on the similar path.
Romana, from Slovakia, is doing the 1-year EVS program here since October last year, to develop her leadership, communication, and entrepreneurial capabilities, and learn many concrete practical skills, in order to be able to create in the future her own job that can be personally fulfilling, ethical and sustainable, and financially viable.
I am really glad for opportunity to be part of life on finca, studying permaculture and contribute to this project.
It gives me space for following my interests, showing my iniciative and learning new skills from people who decide to share their wisdom with me. I´ve met here so many interesting and inspiring people who enrich my life and make it meaningful.
And atmosphere of the place is magical, close to nature, calm and warm :) Perfect conditions for showing
iniciative, for starting to do whatever you want, close to the nature.
Simon is a volunteer from Germany who came to help for a few months with domestic tasks and food preparation and preservation, and also learn about some other parts of life and work in a farm.
It’s cool here!
I’m just beginning to really appreciate what this place is and what it means and I like that you can fill it with so much meaning.
I have to say, I’m a city person and I have never in my life felt so close to nature and that is partly the result of staying here – being surrounded by people who inspire that kind of thinking and location that is totally intertwined with nature.
Allan is another volunteer, from Scotland, who came to help us with repairing and building stone walls, which is very important and much needed work around the farm, as all the land here is very inclined and terraced.
It’s just very rewarding being here. The possibility of being productive and relaxed is equal and I have so much enjoyed that compared to the contrast of my normal daily life and I thank you for what you’ve created.
Eleanor is an Anglo-Germanic guest who came here to take some time off, rest and recover from stress in her life.
I have really enjoyed and found it really calming to be around the nature and the abundance, the animals, the green. I think it helped me to realise more what I want and what I’m able to give and define that more clearly.
Binno & Marta
Binno & Marta are a Romanian-Italian couple of volunteers who came to help us with the animals, especially on the weekends, looking after them, feeding them and moving their compost around.
My experience here was so intense and peaceful at the same time. I discovered that when I’m working here I’m not only working but also growing bigger in my peace, because I’m growing happy. Especially with the animals. When in the morning I’m not happy and go to the sheep – the day is much better.
The contact with nature is so healthy that you have experience it to know what I’m talking about. In the city you are used to be stressed and have a lot of pressure on you, but here it’s quite another world and it’s so strange that this is the reality, this is the real world that we have to live.
I’m just so happy, I don’t want to do nothing else in my life than living like this, because this is the right way to live. Thank you - the World!
Maja from Poland
I started my EVS with Gaia Tasiri about a month ago, although I have gotten to know & love their EcoVillage since february (6 months ago) whilst volunteering at a neighbouring project, and was hoping to be able to do an EVS placement here in the future. Very luckily for me, I was invited to start earlier than I had anticipated due to one of their EVS placements leaving in May.
I really enjoy my time in here.
Just living so close to nature, in constant contact with the soil, plants and animals and being a part of natural cycles that are going on around makes me feel more alive than ever.
We have a lot of work, as it is a farm and we not only maintain it but also work for its development, but it is a very satisfactory work.
Every day we work in the gardens, tend to the animals and to relationships between ourselves and besides that, I am doing my Integral Permaculture Course which I was kindly provided.
All of these activities teach me a lot in many different fields. Besides the scientific knowledge of permaculture from the course, I acquire a lot of practical skills like milking, handling sheep, working with cement, wood, soldering and many others.
At the present time the most important focus for me is working on my leadership skills and emotional development. I have an amazing opportunity to live in a community that is constantly developing in commitment to evolutionary relationships.
I have a great emotional and mental support from people around me who are not only more than eager to always discuss some important and interesting issues on basically any given topic but also are always available for me when I need their help in any way.
The amount of work (physical and intellectual) is sometimes overwhelming, but I gladly immerse in this intensity to take as much as I can from this opportunity - to learn and to give back.
And to be honest, seeing how much there is to learn and how many fascinating projects I could start in this place, how I could benefit not only to this land but also to the people, makes me think that one year is just not enough!
Nicola from England
I started here, at 8th Life eco-village project in February, shortly after the birth of my son. I have always wanted my family to be an extended one- a community, where blood is not the only bond and with this placement, I am lucky enough to be able to begin that dream.
Of course, living and working on a busy eco-village project, with an infant son is a challenge. I am torn in wanting to put all of my energy into the gardens, the infrastructure, the people care and yet, I find that my energy is one fifteenth of what it used to be. No longer can I pass whole days in the garden, breeze into a circle and be undistractedly present (as I did in the community I lived with previously)... adjusting to motherhood in such busy and exciting conditions is hard. I have a tendency to be hard on myself and to either chastise myself for my lack of attention to Luka or to the project. Sometimes, I fear that with my “special” circumstances, others will resent me. Fundamentally, in our society many people are valued only for their productivity, being fundamentally human is not enough. Living here, I get to challenge this conditioning of mine and hopefully, offer Luka freedom from it.
In the first months, I was mostly just mother but now that Luka is older and I can share him with the residents, I am finding a whole new world of life opening up. This is a privilege that most mothers do not have. I leave my bedroom and there are people with the same vision and interests as me, right outside. They enjoy relating with me as a young mother who is doing something totally different for my son- they seem to even find me inspiring. They help me to accomplish my tasks during the day and enjoy relating with us, especially Luka.
The vision here at 8th Life puts an emphasis on creating a better world for the future generations, serving the environment, refining our culture, refining our relationship with the self and with each other. I am so lucky that my home and my family want to go beyond dogma and conditioning to provide the best possible life for my son. This, to me is winning the lottery.
Here at 8th Life, there is a radical feminist agenda and so, my work as a mother is recognised as “work”. Here, raising the next generation is a hugely valuable contribution and my 6 hours of work a day can include time with Luka - and so it is achievable. (Though, as I previously stated, my internalised sexism- in perceiving myself as a mother as a burden needs work- at least here, I have the contradiction provided. Even if, I do need a little reminder.)
If I compare my life to the life of many others in England (my home country), who live in neighbourhoods where in reality, there neighbours are strangers who distrust one another. Who live in streets with tiny gardens, the sound of cars continuous, their food bought in the supermarket, isolated in a vast population where we feel that most of those that we encounter in daily life, in reality do not care about us at all… I have to consider myself priviledged.
I live in a beautiful place with large forest gardens, vegetable gardens, a family of animals as well as humans who are enchanting, my food is largely sourced here- it is of the highest quality, the people who I live with are hugely interesting and engaged, the air and the water are clean- the stars at night are second to none I have ever seen, I listen mostly to the sound of Pigs, birds, chickens, sheep… Incredible. Amazing. Thank you!
Luka is blessed to meet so many people- I believe that his exposure to many different faces in such a special environment will serve to create a more balanced being. He certainly is not shy and his inquisitive nature is totally nourished here. Given the breadth of things that he sees us doing and the way he sees us going about doing them- he is learning a lot.
I hope to live in a place like this long term, using this financed year to establish an eco-business which will sustain us. So, I truly am immersing myself and Luka
The Big Chicken Tractor
This is a project that the PeDreTea team took on as their central food-growing goal.
it is a design for a big 'green machine'
which will take some time to complete, but then produce enormous amounts of veggies with minimum effort, because the chickens will do most of the soil preparation work for us.
It consist of six big gardens (the moon-shapes in the diagram) in a terraced valley in the middle of the first finca.
The locals call these 'nateras' (cream-makers) because they naturally collect the fertility that flows down-hill with the water - which is possible thanks to the wonderful terracing work that was done by the ancestors here.
Previously, they brought in all the animal compost that they produced in the goat & cow stables, but we opted for a chicken tractor system because it fulfills the same function of adding lots of compost, but with many additional benefits.
The chickens will spend one or two months in each garden and then move on to the next one. In this way we would have constantly at least one garden producing food, and the chickens always being in a nice, big, semi-open (with fencing) space where they can find plenty of tasty insects and greens as well as enjoy the nature.
In the same time they fertilize our gardens and reduce the weeds and any of the insects that might eat our veggies, and we also get more & nicer eggs, as well as our 'chicken TV' - a great place to go meditate by watching the chickens enjoy their natural environment.
A few weeks before the PeDreTeans arrived, in the middle of February, Stefania explained what is already in place and what else needs to be done, in this video, above, as the project summary.
||At the end of April, after the camping kitchen was refurbished, the work in these gardens started, beginning with the Flora Garden, because it is the closest one the chicken house and the easiest one to connect to it.
The first step was building a door system to easily close and open a corridor for the chickens to go into the garden,
||but that ended up requiring the re-positioning of the fencing poles, with extra reinforcement, to make the whole structure stronger and more stable, so the new doors could be better held.
The next step was re-attaching the fencing with reinforecements to that the plants won't pull it down as they climb on it, and also making it higher so the chickens couldn't easily jump out, and focus on preparing this garden instead of roaming around the whole finca.
And on the 13th of May, finally, the chickens could come out into the garden!
And the PeDreTeans were so enthusiastic about getting their own food supply that, although at least one month of waiting for the chickens to do their job was needed, they decided to start building the garden beds immediately.
They also wanted to experiment with hugelkultur, so on the bottom of the beds are cut branches, and on top of that soil and compost, and later they want to make them into towers for vertical growing (for ex. strawberries)
|They decided to make three raised beds with metal scraps as walls, and in the middle, where there used to be ponds, they experimented with putting in compost towers.
They reused the old watering system that was already in place, so after deciding where the rest of the beds were going to be built, they slightly redesigned the old piping to fit it into them.
And this is a video of the work in progress:
Here is a walkabout of some of the gardens by Nicola >>
Nicola took over the designing &
organizing of the gardens as soon as she arrived here - so Luka, who was
born shortly before the beginning of her EVS volunteering here, has
participated in every
"Garden Hour" that his mum has organized since ... so he's been learning
about gardening literally all of his life. Very lucky baby, and very blessed all of us :)
The vision for these gardens is to be an aesthetic, accessible space, which can be low maintenance and highly productive.
As it is in full view of the neighbours and is part of the hostel, we have invested some time in building new "swanky" raised beds with recycled pallets to complement the original ones with logs and stones.
<< This is how the garden was last summer, with the 'old style' beds. There's still lots growing there, and Nicola & her "Garden Hour Gang" have finally added drip-watering systems in each one, so we won't have to spend many hours watering by hand.
May 2016 - Five new raised beds with life exploding out of them!
And these are the newer pallet-wood raised beds >>
We want these to also serve as a quail & guinea-pig tractor, so the next step is to make a movable home that fits on top of the beds.
These raised beds are more comfortable to work with, they save water and leave plenty of space for the roots of the many trees we need to keep the gardens shaded in the summer, and they are also very fertile, as we filled them with our lovely soil, combined with super-sheep compost, sand and picón.
Picón is a volcanic rock which is very mineral rich and filled with little holes full of air, and microbes and bugs that live in them.
It serves to add some of the advantages that other materials, like terra preta, are famous for, as one of the characteristics of charcoal is a very similar porous structure, with the added advantage of lots of minerals which the microbes will make available to the plants over time.
Mattis, the wonderful young carpenter from Berlin who lived with us for four months, did a great job of inventing a way of making each bed out of just 3 palets, so that we could make the bed frames out of very economical wood.
The pallets are stripped down to this, and then the gaps are filled in and it is screwed together.
|When the completed frame is put in place, we add a layer of cardboard at the bottom to discourage the tree roots from entering the beds and also further up, to encourage mycelium growth as well as earthworms, who seem to love damp cardboard.
We dig around the bed area to ensure the bed sits flat and level, and we use the soil from the paths plus lots of compost to fill the beds.
Nicola supervised the whole project, and also dug-in enthusiastically whilst taking care of Luka (who everyone took turns in carrying).
First the bed is positioned so it's level, and then it's filled with layers of soil from the surrounding areas, sheep compost, sand and picon.
And when the desired soil level is reached (leaving some space at the top), we mix together all of the "cake" layers.
This design fits very well into the 80/20 design/maintenance ratio - we say that in permaculture 80% of our time & effort should be spent in designing & installing (well-designed) systems, so that we later we need spend only 20% of our time & effort in maintaining them (which is a kind of reversal of the Pareto principle), and in this garden, we are definitely doing this!
With this work, we completed an one-off job which takes much time & care in order to save lots of time later - and following the same principle, we recently finished installing an automatic watering system which is now in all of the beds.
Thank you to all of the volunteers, guests and interns who have contributed to this!
And more recently, we were very priviliged to obtain lots of sheep's wool to mulch with so the gardens now look like they're covered in snow and will be super-efficient in water saving throughout the summer.
Wool is the perfect mulching material because - although biodegradable (eventually) - it doesn't disintegrate in the sun anywhere as quickly as straw and other organic materials, it is a great insulator against heat & cold (it's a good idea to keep soil temperature as even as possible), and it is also full of nutrients (bits of dirt, sheep compost, lanolin, etc.) that are slowly released into the soil as nutritious compost-tea when we water it from above.
Thank you Jose, Brio & Maja for your sheep shearing efforts! And to Eduardo, our local country vet who always invites us to come help on his yearly sheep-shearing marathons around the island, in exchange for the wool.
Below, May 2016: the old beds, after harvesting lots of food from them all winter & spring, with newly installed watering system, beans, aliums, herbs, brassicas, tomatoes and sunflowers.
November 2015 - The old beds of stone and logs, filled mostly with cabbages and aliums >>
Next in our ambitious design is the creation of a portable quail and guinea pig tractor
- with this movable cage (also called "cute little animal tractor"), both the animals and the guests in the hostel by which these gardens are, will have added entertainment in their lives, and more importantly, the quails & guinea pigs should perform a similar function to the chickens, eating seeds and weeds, scratching the soil and composting in situ, saving us lots of effort.
We have never heard of such an animal tractor, so we'll have to experiment & see (and
report back in future newsletters as to how it works in practice), but apart from our permanent wish to experiment, we want to use quails & guinea pigs for this design because they are much more suited to the size of the bed space available than chickens, who need much larger spaces - like the big gardens we are making into a huge chicken-tractor system in another part of the finca, see above.
The new beds can't be seen as they are right at the end of this terrace & so full of green they just appear as a forest!
Nicola thinks that a garden isn't complete without sunflowers, and she's gradually tucking an increasing variety of plants into the gardens, surrounded by wool, songs and love.
Below this terrace there are two others which we will also be turning into gardens step by step - the lower terraces are not as easily accessible from the house as the first one, so here we're making gardens (not raised, for now) for plants that don't need frequent visits.
<< May 2016- the lower 2 terraces: our tomatoes are all tucked in with lovely wool, the area has been composted, sand has been added, plus an automatic watering system, and invisible to you... there are baby melons, cucumbers and pumpkins rising up to greet us.
This below is a picture of the same 2 lower terraces in November 2015: a wilderness of wild mustard, which grows plentifully here, and we harvest them all winter and spring because they are really delicious and nutritious greens.
One of the features of the salad garden is that the wild cat that Nicola has tamed over the months is now raising her two kittens under the pepino bushes, and part of our harvest is getting to see them playing and purring around the guest house each day, and having them always accompany us in our group meals, and let us stroke them.
Here is a short video
(in our FB group) of these little playful bundles of delight, and you can see another one below.
Do join us in the facebook group where you can comment on the newsletter, ask questions, etc.
am not the best at following driving directions, so - after missing the
driveway 5 times over - I have to be rescued by Jose and Stu and guided
back to the finca.
It’s already getting dark so the grand tour of the estate is postponed to the next day.
Instead I am having a little evening chat with Mattis who moved here -
straight from Berlin - into the ‘Domo’ which is a dome made out of
Boli, the dog, stays there with him to keep the rats away… in the
light of this info I am thankful for my slightly chilly, north facing
bedroom, although the red mood lighting makes it impossible to do any
Enough blankets, though, to keep me warm through a night of vivid dreams of happy cats and dogs.
Morning coffee from the espresso machine I brought with me (just in case…) and this view:
I sign up for a morning gardening session (which are voluntary for guests).
Today’s consists of helping Samadhi by shovelling soil
into fresh Swales (an arrangement of stakes and branches to keep the
terraced garden beds from eroding).
Just before our 11am breakfast/brunch I answer an email from a client
from the UK which popped up after I logged into the community WIFI. It
becomes clear that I could do a lot of work from here - nice!
Breakfast is a ultra-staunch mix of fried potato and greens, with added fresh avocados.
As a special protein treat we get pig bones to scrape the meat off. The
picked bones go straight back into the pot to make bone-broth.
Incidentally, Samadhi and Stu, as well as many previous guests stopped
being vegetarians shortly after arriving here.
Personally, I love the breakfast and upgrade to half-board for the remainder of my stay.
After breakfast and the following community meeting,
I volunteer help out with odd jobs:
broken latches on doors,
helping Mathis building raised beds,
checking a new watering system with Samadhi.
Everybody is in a good mood and it is fun to get stuck in!
I was scheduled for a solar shower at 2.30,
but all I get is some gurgling sounds and three drops of cold water.
Turns out some taps had been turned off due to a leak and never been
turned on again.
Sod sustainability, I am gonna put the kettle on to wash my hair!
Last team effort of the day is making sausages - another first for me.
Jose is in control of the meat mix recipe and we end up with five yummy looking mixtures to funnel into pig-guts.
One hour and many German sausage jokes later we have barely 3-4 filled sausages.
Better equipment and a new strategy is needed.
(left to right: Stella, Jose, Mattis)
Our evening meeting starts with everyone being asked to say a few
appreciative words about the person sitting to their left. I am
expecting a lot of hippy hogwash, but people come up with very varied
and heartfelt observations. People-care is a main aspect of 8th Life
philosophy and here it shows.
Stu and Jose perform a song each before the meeting is finished and
everybody runs off to do their thing. (My thing being dinner)
Starts with an hour of gardening, this time we are building an arch to
hold up the heavy branches of a plum tree. This is a fabulous team
effort with Samadhi and Stu and we are all very pleased with ourselves
and the finished product:
A new task I have taken on is to help bringing the sheep from their pen
to the grazing area every morning, so today I am playing shepherds dog
Sheep are friendly, a bit stupid and easily frightened - I can relate to that.
Jose has devised a rope-guiding system which reminds me of a water-skiing rig.
The sheep are hooked into this and can move around with some freedom but without hurting each other or getting entangled.
And today I finally get my solar shower to wash-off the sheep smell!
Maybe its because the last few days have been quite basic, but the
shower feels like the most luxurious moment ever. It is just the right
temperature and delightfully zero-emissions.
We postpone our shopping trip to Puntagorda as it is a public holiday today.
Instead I have a bit of Berlin computer work time in the hammock.
Mattis invites me to share his dinner of fried greens and potatoes - thanks mate!
Wake-up - Espresso - Gardening
Samadhi’s morning hour of gardening is getting very popular, there are now three boys lined up to lend a helping hand.
Turns out four people is three too many when it comes to deciding if a raised bed is sitting level or not.
In the end it’s the three of us pontificating while a frustrated Samadhi is swinging the pick-axe. Our strategy might
need looking into...
Next up are the sheep, this involves re-rigging the system as other patches need to be grazed on next.
Breakfast us usual at 11am followed by a meeting.
Consisting today of fried greens, banana curry and omelette, it's more of a brunch really - and huge:
I am doing a little bit more computer work for Berlin, this time making
sure I give my colleagues a 360° view of the farm via Skype. Don’t much
fancy sitting in a Berlin office under grey skies with them right now!
At four o’clock the Spanish siesta is over and we can drive into
Puntagorda to get some gardening supplies and a few grocery items we
can’t yet produce ourselves, like milk.
But we are also bringing some used plastic bags from the garden centre for the domo.
This puts into practice another philosophy of 8th life: not just ‘going
back to nature’ but being aware of (and trying to reverse) some of
humanities environmental sins.
Since dinner is everyone's own responsibility, Samadhi has offered to cook a paid dinner for me.
My first reaction is not wanting to spend anything on special treatment
and feeling a bit awkward about this tourist-guest position. Samadhi
explains to me that guests at the finca are also an important source of
income for the project and its residents and I find it easy to agree
with this, I am already spending much less than I would on any other
holiday. Her cooking is amazing and it's well worth the few quid she is
asking, so I am happy to be a tourist on this occasion: upgrade to
Gardening today: Weeding… File under ‘boring but necessary’.
At least it’s a sweet potato patch - one of my fav vegetables - that I
am liberating from the weeds, and I am pretty sure I will never be asked
to do this in Berlin.
Stu and me are taking the sheep out today, because Jose has gone off
to the other side of the island to attend a ‘DEMOS’ event. DEMOS is a
canarian LETS scheme (a local currency to be used instead of Euros).
This is the Moneda Demos La Palma web.
Next year, the village will welcome a new Team of 8 people, also known as the Permaculture-Dream-Team (PeDreTea).
They are already organising themselves online, and plan to stay for a year.
To give them an idea of what to expect here, I shoot a little video
with Stella doing a guided tour of the premises. This comes out quite
well, even though there is no editing/rehearsing/or planning involved.
I finish the weeding of the sweet potatos which I started yesterday,
as well as sorting out the beds of the Chinese artichokes.
Taking out the sheep with Stu is followed by some Berlin computer work.
Sausage-making, take three: We're not even halfway through filling pig
guts with pork meat so another shift is scheduled with Mattis. we
finally get the drift of pushing meat through the funnel without
creating loads of air bubbles - can't beat the German team when it comes
During today’s group-time we rebuild the roof on the chicken shed with
corrugated plastic - the chickens have communicated to Stella that they
want 'a proper roof over the head'. Stu is about half my age (and
weight) so he gets to climb on the chicken shed to tie down the plastic
such that any downward movement is arrested. Swell!
Turns out the chickens were right to be nervous about all this human
activity - we spontaneously decide to slaughter one of the cockerels.
he's just become way too cocky.
Hardly any of us have witnessed the slaughter of a life animal and it
is time for each one to decide if today is the day. I am going to go for
it and now Jose - who has done this many times before - talks us
through the process.
Again it becomes clear what a special and thoughtful guy he is.
I completely trust him to do this right - and it seems so does the chicken which is sitting comfortably on his lap.
(IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT THE SLAUGHTER SKIP THIS BIT…)
Jose claims that the axe-method of chicken slaughter only seems quicker and is very bloody.
He is also no fan of the ’swinging the chicken over the head’ approach.
Instead he stops the blood supply to the head to numb it and after a few moments twists the head against the body a few times.
The chicken flaps it wings for about 20 seconds - a moment Jose
describes as ‘the soul flying away’ - and then goes completely slack.
It still is a beautiful animal (Jose plans to keep the feathers) and we silently give thanks.
Mattis, Stu and me are quite moved but far from traumatised.
I feel it was a dignified moment and I am glad that I had the chance to witness it.
As a meet eater (albeit reduced amounts) I have always felt very disconnected from the source of my food.
I want to close that gap and plan to kill an animal myself one day. I just hope it will be as gracious as this time.
(SAFE TO READ ON…)
It’s Friday evening, and that’s movie-night at the finca luna.
After the chicken episode we all fancy a quiet, animal friendly movie
and settle in with blankets cushions and snacks to watch ‘The Jungle
Well, you wait ages for a proper jam session and then two come along the same day!
First one is before(!) breakfast, in honour of Victor who is leaving
today (having found a permanent place to live thanks to the contacts he
made whilst on the farm for 3 weeks), we got Mattis on trumpet, Stu and
myself on guitars, Jose and Stella on percussions, Samadhi singing - and
sadly no picture. There is plenty of hugs and appreciations for Victor,
it is a very nice moment.
Because it’s the weekend there are no chores for most of us.
Samadhi and Stu decide to stay at the farm to sort out domestics, but Mattis and I are off to Tazacorte beach.
This involves an hours drive over adventurous roads with great vistas.
(This can be said about pretty much all roads on La Palma).
We return via Puntagorda market which is surprisingly busy for such a
small village, it’s about 50/50 locals and tourists (of which most seem
to be German).
Mattis is on the lookout for a proper Vollkornbrot and manages to get
hold of one. (The food at the finca is mostly carb free and kind of
We take great pictures from the vista platforms.
I have my final ‘tourist dinner’ courtesy of Samadhi which is once again delish.
We are all meeting in the library for a jam session, which has been chosen as the appropriate way to send me off.
The musical flow is somewhat better at this time of the day - maybe
also due to Samadhi’s mood-enhancing incense - and we are jamming for a
good 90 minutes.
Stu is unsuccessfully attempting to present his latest composition to
everyone, but the vibe is more one of group silliness and this has to be
postponed to another time. Time to call it a night.
7th day - departure
I have said my goodbyes to Samadhi, Stu and Mattis yesterday as they are having a well-deserved lie-in.
That doesn’t mean I wake up alone though, piggy-wiggy has come over to great me right outside my room.
This is quite unusual as she keeps to herself most days, but today she is in heat!
I gingerly edge past her into the kitchen to see that the espresso and milk have been cleared away.
Clutching a cup of green-tea I make my way to the dining area, where
piggy-wiggy’s advances get increasingly scary and I receive a little
‘kiss’ on my track-suit clad knee.
No morning coffee and a pig-in-heat is too much to handle, so I call out to Jose who comes to my rescue.
(Fittingly mirroring the events of my arrival here).
Jose - and only he can pull off that sort of spiel - convinces me that
piggy-wiggy’s advances are a compliment to my male virility and sexual
Many hugs and leaving presents later I get into my car and onto the
LP-1, knowing that whatever happens in my life, piggy-wiggy of 8thLife
will always fancy me :)
Interns & Designs
In this newsletter we will be looking at the work of 5 of our Students & Interns who have been with us lately.
We've now been trying out the new EcoEscuelas network project since November, perfecting the monthly iPDC program as we go.
has been very satisfying as having smaller groups means the students
can take real responsbility for actually designing a variety of hands-on
projects whilst they take the classes on site.
Daniele & Fer
Daniele from Italy stayed two months in spring, said...
"I enjoyed the iPDC because it
is amazing taking classes outside - as we can take the classes wherever
and whenever we like, we re-designed these for ourselves to suit our
personal wishes and the day we took this picture of me <<< I was outside with Suzy doing her class in another language,
instead of together inside like previous days.
E-Book is really full of information. I go there to look up whatever I
am most interested in that I learn from the classes."
water pump needed a new shelter so Daniele, after trying out a few
eco-business wild ideas (that were very creative and interesting for us
to follow) took up the challenge and created a pump house as one of his
designs. The idea was to protect the pump from the elements while
being moveable if needed, and we are very happy with the results.
Daniele often entertained us with his excellent guitar playing and singing, and was always cracking jokes, pulling pranks & was lovely to live with.
He is also a great travel writer (see his travelling blog)
and travelled home by hitch hiking on boats. A great proponent of
learning to live simply, he stayed the coldest months of the year in a
small tent, sleeping out even during quite bad rain and wind storms and
said he particularly enjoyed living close to nature like this.
Fer from Spain did the course at the same time as Daniele & said...
"It is really a practical course, it's flexible & the environment is perfect."
Fer delighted us with his cartoons and we laughed a lot in particular looking at
this one (which he showed during his final design
presentation), illustrating his 'client interviewing' (he is the guy to
the right with the notepad & pencil) with Jose telling him about the
importance of the chickens feeling safe.
has exactly that green old jumper, goes around barefoot and plays with
his long sleeves in exactly that manner. The mark of an excellent
his main design project was moving on our big chicken house, to which
he made some important additions (THANK YOU!), for the final part of the
course Fernando found himself inspired to develop his artistic side
and after thinking about several projects to develop - one being a
comic about his adventures transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle
- he started helping with the graphics for a bioregional design we are
participating in (see Basic Income day news, below).
Fer had already several years ago started cartooning online with this blog: Una Ultima Ronda
then left it. Whilst here with us we encouraged him to use his
talents to tell the stories of transition which we think most need
telling, including those of many young people are going through major
life changes trying to better align their values to their life path. So
we dearly hope that he will pursue his idea of a comic about his adventures transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle.
core part of our mission is to improve the soil and one way to do that
is to stop soil erosion. By making mini-swales on the steep banks of the
terraces we create little platforms were we plant things who's roots
will keep the soil in place.
Fer in the mini-swales workshop where we covered the steepest incline
in the finca with waste branches & compost.
workshops Fer participated in were fermenting foods & making
chocolates + making interesting dishes out of green bananas (which
became a bit of a passion, especially the salty banana chips) and
weaving shades from the plentiful cane we harvest nearby (for the
chicken house roof).
Giselle, Emilio and Jessie
Giselle from Argentina, & Emilio from Spain stayed
for just a month but managed to get 3 infrastructure projects finished,
as their practical design projects, whilst they took the classes for
their Permaculture Design Certificate course, the iPDC. ¡Congratulations!
<< Here they are helping with preparing a new larger potting area behind the library, where new cuttings and transplants start their way to the nurseries (you can see them sifting
the 3 main ingredients we use in varying proportions depending on what
we're transplanting: soil, granzón & compost).
Jessie from Denmark also
helped with designing the vertical greenhouse as well as making some
small beautiful changes around the new potting area, but had to cut her
visit short due to illness in the family. We hope she will be back
thanks to the recent interns, we now have three nurseries: a new one
for vegetable seedlings, as well as an expanded one for other small plants, and another
one for trees.
the basic design is to have the whole ecovillage be a big forest-garden
eventually, we have quite a well stocked tree nursery and we do tree
planting with any visitors who wish to contribute in this way.
Sometimes we do a little ceremony and they dedicate their tree to some
person or some wish they have.
we have a quite extended dry season, we equip all our small trees with
'baby bottles' in order to train their roots to go as deep as possible
so that they can be independent of watering systems when they grow up.
It's also a good way of saving water (especially when hot) and of re-using (much better than re-cycling) the many PET bottles
that can take hundreds of years to decompose.
As well as being important for the farm it is also vital for the planet that we all take part in planting trees. To stop the
climate catastrophes we're facing, apparently each of us would need to
plant 10,000 trees. That may seem a lot but it actually could be done
within 3 months, and is certainly doable over a lifetime.
not only give us oxygen but they also act a 'carbon sink' by absorbing
the CO2 in the air. Over one year a hectar of mature woodland can
absorb the CO2 emission of 100 cars.
also change the weather by reducing temperatures and causing more rain,
and we have several autochthonous species here which 'harvest the mists'
with their fine needle leaves or shiny waxy broad leaves.
the moment we're enjoying (especially the animals) buckets of oranges and plums and waiting
with anticipation for the apples and figs that are getting bigger
everyday. A forest garden gives us perennial food and each year it is easier to manage, slowly reducing the effort we need to put in.
Alex & Clemi
Guests & Friends
During this last period we also enjoyed a delightful visit by Hamza from Turkey (a childhood friend of Stella's) who stayed with his two children, Clemi & Alex.
from the extra fun we had with having two lively youngsters with us
(and the delicious home-made pizza evening they treated us to), Hamza
also gave us two great impromptu workshops on spiral dynamics and profiling,
which is something he uses professionally and that interests us very
much as integral permaculture designers, especially for community
We saw everyone's personality
profiles in terms of the spiral dynamics model and discussed what the
various combinations mean for group work and communication dynamics.
Very interesting, thank you so much Hamza!
And Jose's Cuban grandparents come regularly, and they always bring us many presents and treat us to cooking a big meal for everyone.
Thank you very much for all the support you always give to the project, Maria & Lorenzo!
Basic Income Weekend
well as the ecovillage project, the academy work & several
international integral permaculture projects, whenever we can we try to
work on projects to make our bioregion (the Island of La Palma) more
resilient in times of crisis and more sustainable in general.
combined these organizing workshops with a tour of the finca and
mini-introduction to integral permaculture, as well as walks in the
surrounding area & resting. It
was great to have space for people to stay overnight quite comfortably,
so we could live and eat together whist we got on with the work of
setting up the logistics for the project in a relaxed way. We hope to have more events like this in the future.
creative cartooning work launched the project in a way, as it was the
poster he drew up during his iPDC course that first advertized the event,
then put some nice colour into the online presentation (in spanish) we all contributed to creating.
Thank you for everyone who made this happen! For a lovely event and for a very hopeful eco-economics project for our island. The more people realize how important this kind of wider bioregional connecting projects are, if we are to thrive in the uncertain future, and the more contribute time and energy to the work of creating these essential community infrastructures, the better.
Another Compost Toilet
February-March, under Derek's talents skills and design, a group of
students & volunteers constructed this new compost toilet, of the
twin chamber design type - of which there are manuals you can download
from internet, see the e-book's page on Toilets.
Thank you Derek, Patrick, Allan, Martin, Daniele & Fer
for all your work on this construction - everyone enjoyed learning some extra building skills from doing this, very much.
|The whole point of compost toilets is that we don't waste water and can also turn human wastes (much as we do with animal wastes) into fertilizer - since our main job now on the planet is to restore the fertility of the Earth, and with it the biodiversity to restore ecosystems.
||Mostly we used recycled materials, as we usually do: Derek spent the first few days collecting whatever could be used from around the farm, and we have a big store of materials we've collected over the years, so only a few parts were brought in.
This new toilet was built on the edge of one of the garden terraces (Silva Garden) in order to
make use of the drop for containing two composting chambers: whilst one
is composting the other one is being filled, and when the compost is ready then the toilet bowl is
moved over the other chamber.
It has both sitting and squatting options (squatting
is a much healthier way to poo, if you have the basic fitness to be
able to hold this position comfortably) and we've placed it half-way
between the camping site area and the buildings so that it can be used
by both areas.
de luxe model joins our existing two types of compost toilets: the
chamber pot design (most mini-max of all although ours are a bucket with
sawdust that needs to be emptied only once per week - some of us have
these in our room) and the older compost toilet our very first permaculture students designed from scratch, next to the solar shower, beautifully drawn by Heloise:
The pig's tractoring has been quite impressive, and we're enjoying learning about keeping these beautiful creatures for the first time. It has been challenging at times, especially when they dig under the fence and get out - which they do any time we forget to feed them on time - and they want feeding 3 or 4 times per day - although it's usually so funny to get them back home (teamwork required) that we don't mind the entertainment.
Abora in January before pig tractoring
This is a forest compared to the neighbour's land behind it (paler green, with much shorter grass - they used to look exactly the same) thanks to the sheep and chicken tractoring in previous years.
Abora Garden in June after pig tractoring
This would be a tangle of dried weeds if it weren't for the pigs, who have also fertilized it considerably during their stay. What looks barren land right now (in the summer) will burst into lushness (even more than last year) after the first rains in autumn.
Piggie & Wiggie in February
We could pick them up & carry them when they arrived, they were the same size as our baby goat, and barely reached to our knees.
This is just an experiment for now: we're observing which animals are most effective in cycling nutrients and creating more fertility overall. We might not keep raising them, unless we figure out how to design the whole system to supply their needs and ours in a more mini-max way. But getting to know these delightful creatures is an amazing experience :)
Piggie & Wiggie in July
Now they are much heavier than us & quite impossible to move if they don't want to - so we're quite grateful they are very sweet tempered & calm!
The cardboard in the background protecst from the sun the large quantity of bananas that we get (for free) from the island's cooperatives (many tons are thrown away for not being 'commercializable') - their main food source, together with the abundance of fruit that our trees produce, especially in summer.
At the time of going to press ... we have 9 sheep + 1 goat, 4 of which are lambs which were born around mid-summer (and our Canarina is still pregnant - photos in the next newsletter!).
This spring we took more pictures of the intensive grazing experiments we're doing with them in the surrounding lands (which are noticeably more lush every year, since we've put the sheep on them).
Our main job here (see our Mission
) is to increase the fertility of the soil, to increase biodiversity and so repair the damage done by it having been used as farmland since it was colonized hundreds of years ago (farming being the most destructive activity ever invented by humans).
Originally this area
was a particular kind of forest
: typified by palm-trees and dragos, which we've been re-planting, amongst other endemic & introduced edibles - all part of the forest garden we're creating) and the Awarita used to pass through here on their yearly
migrations with huge herds of goats and sheep.
The Awara, or Benahoaritas, are the original inhabitants of La Palma, who were exterminated and absorbed by the Spanish invasions in the 15th Century, and we remember and honor them on a daily basis with our work here, which builds on their wisdom - as they are the only humans that ever lived here in a truly sustainable way, in harmony with other species.
If you have any questions or comments on our news, we'd love to hear from you!
Do join us in the facebook group where you can comment, ask questions, etc.
You can join our email list if you want us
to keep you up to date with how the EcoVillage evolves
by clicking on the image
You can also email us at
Another beautiful image by Heloise
to summarize what this is all about and why we are doing it :)
In March the bees swarmed again and here we're giving them a new home, in a horizontal top-bar beehive Jose built, the second one, with an added peek-window so we could look inside and see how the bees are doing.
||With the coming of the rains the woods all around us filled up with lots of delicious mushrooms again, and we have been enjoying them a lot, learning to identify new ones and figuring out ways of making edible some that are not commonly eaten.
It has been a particularly good time for mushrooms
because we had rains interspersed with sunny warm weather, and we can
get a box full just by stopping off in the woods on our way back from
the nearby village, where we go to visit friends and buy stuff.
We are very lucky to have Cecilia Hosinski as a neighbor, a mushroom expert and
author who lives just at a 10mins walk from us, so apart from going to the
talks she has been giving, Jose has visited her a few times to bring her some presents from our farm and ask for help in identifying new species (Jose has been learning about mushrooms from time, as it's one of his passions, and now can recognize most edible species around here).
|We have mostly been eating the very abundant nacidas (Rhizopogon luteolus), níscalos (Lactarius deliciosus and Lactarius sanguifluus) and tortullos de cabra (Russula delica), and we also have been figuring out how to make edible some other abundant but not commonly eaten mushrooms, like Volvopluteus gloiocephalus, Suillus bellini, Lactarius tesquorum and Lycoperdon perlatum.
We also came up with a particularly fun way of drying the excess mushrooms by
making these organic Christmas decorations.
In the background there are sacred tobacco leaves, a very interesting healing plant we are enjoying learning how to cultivate and cure
has a Cuban background and his grandmother is a traditional Cuban
healer, so he is very interested in exploring medicinal and teacher plants).
It was very beautiful to have mushrooms popping up everywhere, and seeing them appear, grow and develop throughout the days. These are Volvopluteus gloiocephalus, which are delicious if prepared correctly.
Héloïse the Architect
We enjoyed the delightful company of Héloïse at the end of November, an architect who did these beautiful drawings.
just two weeks she made us a 3D sketchup plan of the whole farm (that
we can now tweak by putting more accurate measurements as we go) and
numerous drawings and concept sketches for the projects we are planning
to do next.
|Here is a short bio in her own words:
||Héloïse measuring the Oya terrace
(where the workshop is) to make a scale map.
am joining the project for 2 weeks, i am having now one sabbatical year
from september 2014 to 2015, and plan to travel around the world.
arrived in Canarias to meet a skipper and a sailingboat to cross
atlantic, but he had to many technical problems, so he won't come. It
makes me the opportunity to discover, engage myself here.
know about permaculture design, i like gardening, building with my
hands, i already did some constructions, but each time i realise there a
lot of things to learn more... I am also an activist (passific). In
Lyon, where i used to live, i organised the Transition Town community http://transition-lyon7.over-blog.com/
Translation from her blog about her experience here:
week I'm volunteering, or woofing in the 8thlife farm. This farm has
the particularity to apply a maximum permaculture principles to be
self-sufficient at all levels. http://8thlife.org
is a design approach that ethics is "taking care of the land, taking
care of the human and share equitably." Permaculture design is based on
sustainability, "sustainability", which according to Bill Mollison, the
ability of a system to create more energy or matter in his life that he
needs to run itself, in other words, a higher return 1. ecosystems are
based on this principle, not machines ... in designing such systems, it
is necessary to have a systemic vision, holistic with basic principles
such as: the economy priority of human effort, but also resources
(energy, water, space ...), then looping resources and waste by
maximizing the interdependencies between components and redundancy where
each element many roles and resilience, vital functions are performed
by several elements.
the project, such as its authors, is exciting. Stella, Italian by birth
lived 20 years in England, she has worked since 1995 as coordinator in
an association supporting a permaculture project and urban agriculture, a
transition initiative before its time, it is a pioneer in the field.
She moved there 10 years ago in La Palma, preferring the amenities of
the island (climate, clean air, etc ...) by being "poor" rather than to
make a career in London, paying a flat out price in stress and
pollution. There are 4 years old, she bought the farm to create an
eco-village .. Jose Cuban origin and Canary adoption, it is a "young
man" (22 years), very intelligent, computer, it joined the farm there is
2 years old. They are also trainers permaculture. They are responsible
for creating a permaculture training that differs from the PDC
(Permaculture basic degree), to the extent that the theoretical part is
completely online. The idea is that the internet brings together the
theoretical field of knowledge, it is accessible to all, can be seen and
reviewed by the students, but organized in a training process on the
website. http://www.permaculturescience.org. Then, students can come and
experience the principles on the farm, but the best is to try at home
and share the experiences of each then. Their approach is exciting to
the extent that permaculture is not just to agro-ecology issues but
treats all topics including http://www.integralpermaculture.org
was interested in the project and they were interested in my
architectural skills in green building and my various illustrations. So,
I draw, I make little alternative projects for the farm elements ...
I'm really having a great time! I have my little room in a dependency,
with kitchen, bathroom and living room, it's great, but the problem here
is that it's cold at night (equivalent climate in the fall or spring
Norman ... ) dropoff window
What I do most here is the animal eco-architecture, my main sponsors are animals! Below the different projects.
chicken tractor: A "classic" permaculture, chickens are used to scrape
the soil before planting, hence the name, and it replaced the "tractor"
in addition to eating rubbish, lay eggs and fertilize the ground with
The herd: Every day, their four sheep graze in nearby fields, "clippers" on
legs. I drew a sheep for them and a dome for the shepherd.
GuineaPig Hotel: Another project to rebuild their hutch guinea pig
because, yes ... they eat guinea pigs ... they're "paleo" they eat meat
and fish and plants, no processed food, no wheat, rice, pasta ... like
the caveman, which would be the food suited to our constitution.
Although I do not
share, I understand their food self-sufficiency approach. It is also
found that the guinea pig is generally easy to breed, cute, less
susceptible to disease than rabbits, with an equivalent taste, and South
America, it is a typical dish ...
workshop container: A container and overlaid roofs: the container is
the closed portion which constitutes the workshop with the storage safe
tools, then a portion of external storage (wood toasting etc ..) and a
zone work. The whole project is done with recycled materials.
Kitchen for volunteers and students: collective kitchen, closed with windows of different sizes.
Dry toilets and solar shower: They already exist but for fun I have also illustrated.
How the farm functions
I help once in a while for common tasks, I walk to Palma. There are
also other volunteers from the farm: André (Canadian carpenter),
Cristina (instit 'steiner, Swedish) and an Italian couple (organic
producer in Calabria).
It is still an island
with beautiful scenery, terrain, nature, sky, stars ... I met tourists
by car and went with them in their visits ... Puertito Puntagorda, los
Llanos, Tazacorte Javier (topographer diver) and Sergio (wind repairman)
and el Roque de Muchachos with Oscar (teacher on sabbatical from
Logroño). Beautiful people of great generosity!
The delightful Melita who visited in February, with Bonita (our new goat) in the background munching on flowers.
Biodiversity & Seed Banks
We are very lucky to have some really dedicated people here on the island who
are working on preserving the biodiversity heritage of the region, and we
occasionally visit the two sites where they propagate and distribute the agricultural and autochthonous plants respectively.
Recently we went to collect a few more varieties of sweet potato, from this field where there are some 20 varieties growing, just for distribution to the farmers of the Island.
are the new gardens just starting in Finca Fortuna. The wooden frame
is the base of the chicken tractor we're going to build that will be
moved across each garden - here used as a measuring tool to make sure
the chicken cage will fit inside each garden.
The white-topped box in the background is one of the top-bar horizontal beehives Jose has been making (which has just received a swarm, so it will be full of a thriving bee colony, like a similar one that Jose made last year, very soon).
Making wishing fairies from waste materials (like shiny chocolate wrappers, bits of cloth, etc) with Suzy over the christmas holidays. Thanks to Fortuna's farm we now have an 'art room' (that doubles as a big dining room).
Apart from mushrooms, we also had a big harvest from our forest gardens last year that we preserved in various ways.
||With the heat of the summer, we got to dry part of the abundance of fruits
we had, especially figs in preparation for Derek coming this spring to
help improve some of the structures on site, and also bananas, both
sweet and green (which are very abundant here and work wonderfully as paleo crackers and a
source of resistant starch).
We also made lots ice cream with very sweet ripe fruits (bananas, plums,
pears, prickly pears...) and cream kefir, and also lots of really
delicious vinegar with pears, plums, passion fruit, local wild berries
And we even made lots of umeboshis
with the green apricots, plums, peaches and almonds that fell off the
trees before they could finish ripening (the trees were so loaded with fruit that the branches couldn't hold
||And with all the grapes that Celi and her partner Jose helped in harvesting (from our own grapevines and also from some neighbors who couldn't pick theirs, so we did it for them and gave them part of the harvest) we made lots of raisins and many jugs of deliciously fizzy fermented must than later became vinegar (which we had fun pressing with our feet and hands).
And as the rains started to come, we finished the dry season by
harvesting almonds with the help of some volunteers (although we didn't
manage to get them all in, mainly because the rains
arrived sooner than we anticipated).
picking them, the almonds need to be shelled (a job we did whilst watching
movies in the library) and then dried, which was easy because it was very hot just before the
There were more flowers than ever during the amazingly beautiful almonds in flower spectacle this year (mid january to mid february), and they all fed the bees so well that in march they decided to start swarming ...
Moving the GreenHouse
We finally took down the old (experimental) greenhouse so we can expand the walnut forest we started on this terrace.
had already moved (and expanded) the tree nursery to under the big
avocado in Fortuna's house, and the seedling nursery to the long thin garden in the
The seedling nursery worked well on the garden wall over the summer, but
we need a more easily sheltered place for the winter, when rain and cold make the seedlings grow more slowly.
Celi had a very good idea to make a greenhouse-wall in the new patio to house the seed trays in a protected place as near to the house as possible, and we can't get any nearer than this.
This will be a great new structure because it
is important to be able to see seedlings several times a day, so greenhouses should be in 'Zone 1', and preferably wherever we pass
daily on our regular journeys around the land.
we also have our 'Multi-function' principle, which reminds us to try to
make each element fulfill at least three functions (by where we place
it, how we build it, etc.), and in this case, apart from making an
attractive 'green wall', this new seedlings greenhouse will shelter the
house from wind, provide more intimacy in this patio, and well as serve
as a greenhouse, thus fulfilling at least 4 functions.
The salad garden in Fortuna's farm from above, with nursery trays full of baby veggies to plant out.
Weather Tourists and Diet
had another interesting episode with a couple arriving with a view
of staying for several months, in theory to help with the project &
'learn more about permaculture', but in practice they were just weather
is an interesting pattern we have noticed over the years, which is that
there seems to be a mass exodus to the sun by vegan or vegetarian
northerners who 'need the heat' or are prone to getting SAD
or winter depression.
Arctic ice has become a lake, displacing and disappearing countless
polar bears (and many other species), who depend on the ice to survive. These creatures can't
afford to shop for their weather, because most ultra-privileged humans
who do have money & time to spare don't choose to invest it in
stopping this crazy system from destroying their homes.
This is very much a health issue, as well a sustainability issue
: these people, instead of connecting deeper with their own land and ancestry (who didn't suffer from such 'diseases of civilization
spend a fortune on airplane tickets (funding the multinationals) to go
shopping around the world for their 'favorite foods & weather'
rather than learn what their bodies are actually adapted to, and so
REPAIR the ecosystems their ancestors lived well-adapted lives on for
met whole groups of these weather tourists over the years, and we can
certainly vouch for the fact (which took us many years to notice, as a
pattern) that it does seem to be that the most (long-term) 'vegan/vegetarian'
people are the most difficult to live with, because they seem to have very little tolerance for discomfort and are especially moody, and so very unrealiable.
now know that lack of animal fats in the diet causes hormonal &
neuronal instability, depression and general unhappiness, as well as a
whole host of other physical symptoms, when a good hormonal balance,
healthy gut flora, and strong immune system can be achieved quite
easily by eating what our ancestors evolved to adapt to, using the template of a paleolithic diet rich in grass-fed animal fats (why we have sheep, guinea pigs, goats and pigs on our farm), always adapted to the local ecosystem and the foods that it wants to grow for us, and incorporating the local micro-biota with fermented foods (we mostly eat
wild veggies in our rich soups and sautés, but also ferment many wild and cultivated produce, which we
make delicious creams out of, adding garlic & virgin olive oil).
When simply existing (and especially in this extremely beautiful place) isn't a
base-line pleasurable experience (how humans with healthy bodies normally
feel, whatever crisis are going on in their lives), then it makes sense
to keep looking outside for possible causes of unhappiness, which sets us up for becoming chronic consumers, and perpetual 'seekers' of
particular things (shopping) or experiences (being a tourist, whether in
places, courses, workshops, etc.).
famously said "there are Seekers, and there are Those who Find" ... and
the main big cultural difference we have with the Seeker-type people
who visit us is that we are very much Finders here, very happy with our
lot, deeply satisfied in our daily life and being fully present in
living our mission, very connected to the spirit of this place and all
the creatures we take care of, and who take care of us.
What was particularly interesting about this pair was that she was studying natural medicine & alternative healing practices, and he had
brought the documentary "Origins", which, although it interviews some
of the best known paleo diet experts, manages to skirt around the
shocking inversion of the 'food pyramid' that we've been sold by the food industry during
the last few decades (basically telling us that a healthy diet is based
on carbohydrates, and processed ones at that: bread, pasta, rice,
But both smoked and had other stimulants, and also drank alcohol daily, which together with a diet poor in animal fats
is just about the worst things you can do if you want your body to stay warm naturally.
And instead of realizing that
they were in a perfect place to learn how to do all this and improve
their own health and life enormously, they left to go shopping for
warmer weather and beaches.
These are our new canarian black pigs (with our baby goat in the foreground).
It was particularly cold (at nights only) when they happened to be here (less than
week), but Jose was still going around in a T-shirt or just shorts most
of the time, whilst everyone
else was wrapped up with woolies, which shows very clearly and graphically the
difference between having a fat-based or a sugar-based metabolism
The pigs are just 3 months old, currently living in one of the overgrown gardens, which they're busy tractoring beautifully.
<< this is how they leave the ground after they've eaten up all the vegetation, roots and bugs in the soil, leaving the earth very soft, ready for planting again.
9th Anniversary Share Price
We got the two piglets as a present for our 9th year anniversary - from getting the keys to the first farm, which was on Valentine's day 2006 - although it's only 4 years since the start of the ecovillage project, which we launched in 2011.
As usual we revised the share values on our anniversary - and this year decided that since we increased considerably the ecovillage area and living space by buying Fortuna's farm, that we should increase the share price again (and there are also now 2 new shares associated to concrete terraces in the new farm, which new permanent members can take care of).
So now a mini-share has gone up to 2,200€, and a full share to 22,000€.
Thank you to all the share-holders to date for making this dream possible by investing your savings into this big land piggy-bank - and congratulations to the first share-holders for the 10% increase on your investment!
Stella bottle-feeding Bonita, the little goat who follows her everywhere, here with Boli (the dog) looking on.
They are enthusiastic playmates and run around together and both go on walks with Stella in the mornings.
From December we have had Suzy here, and we are really grateful for her great intelligence, clarity of thought, firm integrity and passion for justice.
We have also had lots of fun together with her enthusiasm, creativity and artistic skills,
and she is doing a wonderful job as our Volunteer Coordinator, thanks to which we have a big team right now working on improving the infrastructures of the EcoVillage project.
She has also been writing some brilliant articles, partly inspired by her experience here, her discussions with us and what she is learning in the iPDC course
And she treats us to guitar & piano concerts too :)
Living in 8th Life
The mechanisms of industrial society mean that most of us
are indoctrinated into a system that does it’s very best to enslave us; it certainly seems that way at least. It’s a comfortable prison cell, but none the
less our abilities to design our own communities, and our own lives, seem
limited due to our industrialised education, media and culture. Those of us who do escape face a journey into
the unknown and sometimes a complete revaluation of our priorities.
And this is another one she wrote especifically about her experience here:
For escapees like me the 8th Life project is a
Born in London I have grown up with very little contact with
the other aspects of nature and my upbringing meant that I was expected to follow
the job/mortgage/family path. Luckily I
am blessed with parents who, although seemly entrenched in the system, are secret
radicals who want our western culture to change as much as I do.
I’ve discovered however that the comforts of city life are
difficult to let go of. A hot bath and internet
in bed are some of my favourite vices, as well as fresh coffee and tons of
What I think is great about this project is that it’s set up
to take into account the physical and emotional difficulties that come with
transitioning to a more sustainable, community based existence. It seems that in cities, although we are
crammed in together, we are actually very isolated. Conflict doesn’t seem to be an everyday problem
because we simply do our best to avoid each other. Living community, however, means that
managing conflict and personal relationships is one of the most important things
to do. One can learn how to grow the
best tomatoes in the world, but if the personal relationships between people are
poisoned then no one is going to be able to enjoy those tomatoes, or even organise
how to grow them.
There are various tools that are used here to add manure to
our personal relationships. One of these
are ‘think and listens’ where we each take turns to say what’s on our minds for
a minimum of 5 minutes, while the other person gives us their full
attention. At first it’s uncomfortable, especially
if you’ve come from a background where listening to each other is a rare, or non-existent,
occurrence. However, after a while it’s
clear that not only does it help to ‘discharge’ negative feelings, often
trapped within our bodies, it also creates instant bonds and feelings of
Another tool use here is
appreciation. Again, it can be extremely
uncomfortable to hear good things about oneself, and even uncomfortable to
express appreciation for another. But
after a session of appreciation everyone glows with positive energy.
To support escapees physically we have Transition House; where
we are presented with options on varying degrees of sustainability. For example, we have a compost toilet alongside
a normal toilet; a boiler powered shower and also a solar shower; we have a saw
dust washing up system as well as washing up liquid.
One of my own transition challenges has centred on my own
waste aka poo. I’ve absorbed a belief
that poo is bad, dirty and to be avoided as much as possible. This means that in the city I used as much toilet paper as I
could to ensure I had no contact with this type of waste at all. So, when I asked to try using water instead
of toilet paper I bulked at the idea and my stress levels went through the
roof. However, the solution came with
redesigning the placement of the toilet.
Although I struggled with using water from plastic bottles (because in
my mind I was still touching poo) when we placed the toilet in bathroom, next
to a bidet, I was happier to use the running water to wash. This means that even though I’m still using water
to clean myself I’m using a fraction of what is used in the manufacturing of
toilet paper, and there’s also no waste; a big transition for a city girl like
me. I’m also coming to realise that my ‘waste’
is actually a valuable resource that the soil is happy to accept.
8th Life is a perfect place for those of us who
are looking for a way out of the destructive culture and seems to draw new
escapees like bears to honey as we take our first steps towards a more empowered and
sustainable existence. It’s like we intuitive
know that here we will be nurtured and supported into our rebirth as humans who
part take in the cycles of life, not just the constant one-sided consuming we experience in
Then, like sick cells converted in to healthy ones, we each
go out and spread our new found knowledge and show the rest of our friends and
family that escape is possible.
I feel very lucky and
grateful to be part of this very special project. Thank you Stella and Jose.
The pine woods near the farm through which we walk on weekends when we go to the local market.
If you have any questions or comments on our news, we'd love to hear from you!
Do join us in the facebook group where you can comment, ask questions, etc.
You can join our email list if you want us
to keep you up to date with how the EcoVillage evolves
by clicking on the image
You can also email us at
Here you can see what our hills and valleys look like during the almond flower season.
All our surroundings are full of these very generous trees,
that provide us with an abundance of beauty in spring,
shade and food for the sheep during the summer (who love eating the leaves that these trees shed during the dry season,
where there are not many other green things for them to eat)
and many, many delicious almonds in autumn,
which were planted by the ancestors of the families that established this village,
who got their income mostly from growing and selling almonds.