Day Four started with a 6am drive in the opposite direction, so I could teach a Pilates class. But my reward was this view of the extinct volcano Mt Wollumbin or Warning, on whose ancient skirts of lava we live and grow our food.
Once I’d arrived at the retreat, we launched into Permaculture, formally created in the 1970s in Tasmania by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. If you haven’t heard of it, PLEASE research it; I first heard about it in the mid-eighties when my then-boyfriend was finishing his Landscape Architecture degree in Sydney, and I can’t believe so little of it has been adopted. *sighs
“‘Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs. People, their buildings and the ways in which they organise themselves are central to permaculture. Thus the permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture.” Holmgren Design 2018
A truly passionate and highly-skilled Permaculture facilitator called Bunya Halasz talked us through the process of reclaiming land from degraded cow paddocks, and helping it evolve into a rainforest or food garden; we even got to embody being rainforest plants, once we identified our ‘types’, then he took us for a walk in the gardens he has been creating at the retreat centre for the last 5 years; an amazing food forest, with ‘zones’ of use spiralling out from the hub, which is the kitchen:
It was messy, yet organised too, in alignment with the sun’s path, creating microclimates, and making sure every single plant has at least 3 uses, if not 5. It was stunning to imagine living and eating from gardens like this on the proposed Eco Village:
After vegan lunch from those very terraces, we learnt about Regenerative Design & Development, which gave me another great quote about the paradigm shift of living in an Intentional Eco Village community:
“Collaborative Abundance not Competitive Scarcity” – Daniel Wahl
The trainer urged us to ‘live the questions together, not just leaving it to the experts, but intentionally seeking out everyone’s views, experience, and opinions.’
But that’s OK: I’m not a rabid gardener, so I don’t really want or need input into the garden designs, or placement of the sheds. Let me have my say about the kitchen though, or the communal hall and stage for creative play…
I guess what I’m coming away with from this Eco Village enquiry process, and which readers have commented on, is a sense of the commitment and the actual energy required to truly live and participate fully in a community, including learning all the languages of negotiation and Dynamic Governance.
Do I have it to spare? I don’t know. Do I want to find it? I don’t know either.
Yesterday, we ended the day in a process of witnessing others in a one-minute solo practice called The Forum, developed in the Zegg Community outside Berlin, in a geodesic dome; in Zegg, they do it EVERY DAY. I would go nuts; I go to therapy for some of that stuff, or take it to the dance floor and sweat it out. Maybe I’m too much of an Introvert who likes her creative space undisturbed to truly fit in to a community? Maybe that’s why I haven’t lived like that before?
I guess Time will Tell.
We ended this afternoon with an incredible session called Deep Ecology, with one of its oldest teachers, John Seed, who’s a bit of a legend in the Eco world. But this post is already long, so I’m going to write more about him tomorrow. But just to put all things into perspective, do you know how big the Sun would be relatively, if our Earth was the size of a peppercorn?
Yup, that big. So don’t sweat the small stuff.
Be like a waterlily flower, or a fat happy statue, and spread the love.
In gratitude for Space, watermelon, curious minds, and the value of shifting paradigms, G xO