Wonderful to visit St Werburgh's City Farm in Bristol, the first city farm outside London in the UK.
55,000 people visit the farm each year, for free (donations very welcome), and there are many opportunities to volunteer, go to workshops and events about growing and cooking, and one can even get married there! the city farm run youth and family events, helping people get into nature and get their hands into soil, and educating on the importance of knowing where your food comes from. There are horticultural programs for people with mental health concerns and learning difficulties, and seasonal celebrations.
I loved the pub nearby, with the seeing tree outside and the murals painted all over it, and the funky eco housing all around the site.
Well worth a visit!
Tinker's Bubble is a community and smallholding of around 40 acres near Yeovil, Somerset.
I visited for their open day and could not stop smiling the whole time I was there...
such an incredible place!
We entered at the bottom of the hill, and immediately came across a curious contraption... a steam engine powering a saw mill. The inhabitants get up at 5.30am to stoke the fire in the engine (it burns wood), to get it ready to roll at 9am. They then attach a belt, which powers the saw and cuts huge logs of wood. Incredible to see! The trees are felled by hand with saws, and the community runs weekend courses teaching people how to do it. They use douglas fir, larch and mixed broadleaf woodland.
The community makes their money from sustainable wood and also from making apple juice and selling organic vegetables at markets. On the open day the apple press was going, and the juice so tasty! They have many varieties of apple including Bramley and Discovery. They grow fruit and veg over two huge areas of land, and each of the nine inhabitants has an area to look after. Near the houses they grow the everyday veg, and at the moment they have pumpkins. On the other side of the land is their root vegetables and one of the inhabitants is growing quinoa. They use scythes for cutting hay, and sometimes a plough and horses for tilling the land.
They have sheep to look after the grass in the orchards, gypsy horses called Jim and Charlie to cart wood up and down the hills, and chickens for eggs. They also have two beautiful cows for milk, butter and cheese who they will breed alternate years and keep the calves, only taking the milk the calves don't need.
Their housing is on top of the hill in the midst of stunning, clean woodland. They have a ban on fossil fuels and use solar panels for their electricity, and a small wind turbine that tops it up, which powers everything they can possibly need. They have spring water on tap, and use compost toilets.
The houses are very comfortable, made of wood or strawbale with cobbing to finish, all very low impact. There is the huge community area and kitchen with a thatched roof that is currently being re-done. The nine inhabitants (7 adults 2 children) take it in turns to have their communal duties, which involves cooking for the 'family' every day.
Keeping it all up together is hard work, but so much fun, and the inhabitants also do their own projects alongside. It is possible to volunteer here through Wwoofing, and there is comfortable guest accommodation for volunteers. It would be a wonderful place to spend a few weeks connecting with the land and learning about sustainable living. They are also open to new live in members!
For more info please see: https://tinkersbubble.wordpress.com/
Findhorn is an Eco Community
located about an hour from Inverness, Scotland, towards Moray Bay.
I took a trip there with my cousin and auntie.
I had heard of the place but not read too much about it,
wanting to get a feel for what it is really like.
So we turned up with no expectation,
other than that we would probably stay for a few hours then go somewhere else-
but over 7 hours later we were still there!
Our first stop was in the Visitor Centre, where the lovely lady told us the story of how the place began. Three lovely, spiritual people met at Cluny Hill Hotel, where together they transformed the hotel into a top 4 star, very popular place. This was Peter and Eileen Caddy, and Dorothy Maclean. The three were sent to another hotel to see if they could work the same miracle there, but they failed. It could have been that someone was trying to get rid of them. So they found themselves homeless and jobless, and parked their caravan in Findhorn Bay Caravan Park. They arrived in 1962 and did not expect to stay long, but the original caravan is still there today!
Eileen has an incredible inner guidance, call it God's voice or what you will, that guided her to make improvements to the hotel. And it did not desert her now. Peter had absolute faith in this voice, and was called to act upon whatever it said. Dorothy had an innate ability to be in contact with the intelligence of nature. Together they grew a garden on the caravan park, which attracted attention due to its productivity and giant 40 pound cabbages!
Many like-minded people started to arrive, wanting to learn their natural secrets. During the 70s the community grew to 150 people, and the Findhorn Foundation was formally established. Cluny Hill Hotel was purchased and renamed Cluny Hill College, and is used today to house staff and people visiting for workshops. The Foundation welcomes people who are keen to experience 'the God within', where all aspects of life are interconnected. Spiritual practices, inclusive of all religions and practices, are put into practice throughout everyday life.
After understanding where it all began, we began our wanderings around the Ecovillage. There are many different types of buildings around to view and admire, from straw bale houses and Earthships, to houses made out of old beer barrels and Bag-End Ecohomes. The thing that struck me is that even though all materials and technologies used were sustainable, they did not scrimp on luxury: all the houses were beautiful!
We discovered so many little interesting things: vegetables piled up by the side of the road with an 'honesty box' to put your money in; the Pottery, along with a very friendly Pottery dog; a heart shaped garden with a beautiful tree in the middle called the Quiet Garden and wind turbines that more than covered the electricity for the village.
We sat for a long time in The Sanctuary, a little building that looked like a hobbit home, with a round room for meditation. It had such a wonderful feeling to it, we sat there for ages listening to the silence and the sounds of nature outside.
We ate in the Blue Angel Cafe: dairy and gluten free crepes stuffed with lots of roasted veggies and other goodies, and fresh beetroot and carrot juice. Later we had a cuppa at the Universal Hall, which has an auditorium for events and shows. While we were there the International Conference: Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth was just finishing. We caught a glimpse of the participants singing and dancing together to a drum, a song about motherhood and creation.
The place is huge, and so relaxed we were in no rush to get around it all. We lingered in the original garden, where the caravan stands and vegetables are still grown. We wandered around Cullerne Garden, where many other vegetables are grown, outside and in massive greenhouses. There we rescued a frog caught in some netting and put him in the pond. And we walked down to the beach to gaze at the sea and the sands stretching to the horizon either side of us.
We discussed whether we would live there, and came to the conclusion that we would prefer to make our own community. But I believe there is so much more to discover here, and the community is constantly growing and changing. To have that shared positive view of humanity, already there in front of you, is something very valuable.
They mediate, grow food, build houses, welcome guests and share experiences together, they sing, dance, have fun together.
A Meditation by Eileen Caddy, Co-Founder of Findhorn,
from her book The Living Word
I am love
I am light
I am peace
I am abundance
Know that wherever I am, you are
For we are one
For deep within your heart is
Dwell on these words
Until you know that you embody them
That they are a part of you
And all that is not of the highest is transmuted.
You can transcend all negativity
When you realise that the only power it has over you
Is your belief in it.
As you experience this truth about yourself
You are set free.
Give constant thanks for the awareness of the truth
And walk in it.
- Eileen Caddy
For more info: www.findhorn.org/