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Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.

Volunteer viewpoint – by Maarten

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Maarten Dankers

Last Tuesday I said my last round of goodbyes at the ecovillage for the year, hopped on my heavily loaded bicycle and slowly carted away in the crisp December air. Thinking back to my time at the village it’s hard to believe I stayed so long, considering when I showed up in July my plan was to visit for a week or two. Over the course of the last four months I left the site a few times, but for various reasons kept getting pulled back.

For me the main draw was the sense of community that comes from living in an ecovillage, it’s something that so often seems to be lacking in cities. In an intentional community there’s no risk of loneliness, and the daily interactions just seem to be more meaningful. On top of that, the ecovillage has been a great place to gain hands-on experience growing food and to learn about various other aspects of permaculture and sustainable living. These are the types of skills I think will be increasingly important as we transition out of a fossil fuel dependent society.

Spending a longer period of time on-site was a great way to get in touch with the turn of the seasons. After camping and spending almost all of my time outdoors in the summer, the community took on a totally different feel in October after we moved the eating area inside and I started sleeping in the yurt. The last few months were a time of more intimate meals, benefiting from a certain coziness that seems to emanate from spaces heated by wood stoves. I also gained a better understanding of the inner workings of the community, with all its ups and downs.

There have been many highlights over the past months, from marimba lessons in July to experimentation with cheese production in November, but possibly my favourite memory was Thanksgiving. It was really special to see Taj 2 filled to the brim with gratitude for a feast made almost entirely from food we grew and raised on-site. It felt like a culmination of all the efforts of the entire community over the previous months.

Overall, my time at OUR ecovillage has been an amazingly positive experience. I feel like I’ve learned so much and met a ton of great people — knowledge and connections that I’m sure will last a very long time.

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.