“An ecovillage is an intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments.” (The Global Ecovillage Network)
An Ecovillage is listed in the UN’s top 100 examples of ‘Best Practices, as excellent models of sustainable living.’ The UN Global Environmental Outlook 2000 Report states ‘the present course is unsustainable and postponing action is no longer an option.’
Ecovillage’s are one of the most practical and immediate solutions to the problems of our time. Lammas Ecovillage in Wales is the pioneer in the UK through adopting Pembrokeshire County Council’s wonderfully forward thinking One Planet Development Policy.
Which is so brilliant that it was in turn adopted by the central government as policy through the Welsh Assembly in 2011. It is our plan to pioneer this policy in Ireland.
Enriched Earth Ecovillage is an exciting project aspiring to create a pioneering and educational Ecovillage in Ireland (with current focus in Province of Ulster and border region). For residents, guests, the local community, nationally and internationally we seek to become an inspiring example of best practice in sustainable living. We are registered as a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and intend to run a series of cooperatives and other social enterprises within this legal framework.
Enriched Earth Ecovillage shall be a place of learning; harmony, transformation, prosperity and a place where each individual shall be sovereign over themselves while working in concert with their community colleagues through shared values and vision.
We are founding members of Co-Housing NI and aim to build a series of low impact, sustainable houses. We wish these to blend into the land, with thatch and or grass roofing and also to be ornate through the inclusion of indigenous style artwork. We intend to build using hempcrete as having excellent thermal mass. These houses shall serve as homes for residents and also as guesthouses for responsible and sustainable eco-tourism of the site. We shall also have camping, glamping and hostel accommodation for welcoming visitors.
We will have a Community Hub for workshops on sustainable living such as agroecology, for community meetings, for celebrating traditional seasonal festivals e.g. Lughnasa, for hosting an annual Early Gaelic Harp festival, a Poetry Festival, Community Theatre and a wide range of cultural enrichment and cross-community activities such as set dancing and yoga classes. The Community Centre will have an adjacent cafe and shop to sell local and organic produce and regional arts and crafts. This will be a place of genuine social and cultural integration, where all are made welcome regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or physical ability. True traditional hospitality shall be part of our legend! We will have a community library and also a natural outdoor amphitheatre.
The area around the centre will be made into an outdoor Eco Education Area in the design of a labyrinth all presented in a very imaginative, fun and interactive way. The core themes of the very successful Green Flag Eco-Schools Program (with which we are in the process of piloting formal affiliation) will be referenced for example the topic of Litter will be explored via ‘The Island of the Legendary Litter Monster.’ It will be designed as an enjoyable place of education for all ages from nursery school to OAP and a great, healthy, enriching and rewarding family experience. We intend for this Eco Education area to become in itself one of the ‘must-see’ visitor attractions in Northern Ireland.
It is envisaged that this exciting initiative will not only serve to enrich the lives of its residents and guests but will also be a boon to the local economy and community through its cultural program, unique small business enterprises and through attracting the ever-growing eco-tourism market sector.
One of our primary case studies is Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, which brings in an incredible £2,500,000 in annual revenue, also Sólheimar Ecovillage in Iceland which is extremely prosperous and hosts 35,000 guests per year. We also have case-studied the Eden project which has brought in an over £1 Billion to the local Cornwall economy. We are a not-for-profit Social Enterprise but we do intend to have our Ecovillage as a place of prosperity in all ways.
We plan to have a significant zone around the whole Ecovillage and other designated acreage, that will be left as a ‘wild-zone’ to let nature do its thing without human interference. Other examples of this such as the Knepp Wildland Project in Sussex have shown how nature when left to herself can very soon transform overused agricultural land into a thriving sanctuary for native wildlife. This zone will have observation points and be an attraction for wildlife photographers and researchers. Though of course, the whole Ecovillage seeks to be a ‘home for nature’ in which we can show how humans and the natural world can live symbiotically.
A core value of Enriched Earth Ecovillage is a celebration of diversity. As such we seek to be a place of social and cultural integration for all ages and backgrounds. We particularly wish to welcome and integrate those who may be more marginal in society,for example the disabled, the elderly, the LGBT community, ethnic minorities and young offenders. We also wish to be a place of unity where the environment and shared resources, such as water and air, may be used as tools to bring together people from across the border and from across the historical religious and political divide in Northern/Ireland. The environment and the need to respect it is something that everyone can unite behind and share in the protection of, for the mutual benefit of us all.
We are delighted to have established Cross-Border partnerships with: Mud and Wood (Sligo), Leitrim Organic Centre (Leitrim), Cultivate Life and Learning (Cloughjordan Ecovillage and Dublin) and The Historical Harp Society of Ireland (Kilkenny). We are also very pleased to have partnerships with a range of Cross-Community groups in Northern Ireland including Bryson Energy, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and Social Enterprise NI. These 7 world class organisations in their respective fields combined with our core body of experts and wider supporters… what a team!
We also seek to promote traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, pottery, soap making and willow weaving through a series of interlinked small business enterprises. We will also have a music recording studio and a multi-media suite. Thus we shall preserve traditional skills in harmony with modern technology.
We shall grow our own ‘forest garden’ food, keep free-range livestock and aim to power the site through passive solar heating of homes and renewable energy sources such as solar panels, geothermal, wind and water turbines.
The site will also feature a wildlife and meditation pond, a natural swimming pool, an outdoor sauna, outdoor hot-tubs, a sensory garden, a wildflower meadow, and herb garden. To facilitate health in mind, body and spirit of residents, guests and the wider local community. This area will be available for residents, guests, local community groups, tourists and for hosting corporate and other group retreats. We envisage it being a key attraction.
It is our intention that the lessons and ethical brand that we develop may be replicated in varying scales and degrees. Ulimately we aspire to have an Enriched Earth Ecovillage in each of the provinces of Ireland and are open to set up in other areas of the UK and internationally. We also envisage having our brand of quality Eco products and services expanded via similar cottage industries in the local area of Fermanagh and throughout Northern Ireland.
For example if a local herbalist or solar panel maker wishes to work with us and adheres to our vision and values, they may be contracted and enabled to produce Enriched Earth branded products. Our intention in this is not profit driven but rather is to drive third-sector social enterprise on an ethical basis ever more into the mainstream and to make sustainable living the norm not the exception. We also wish to operate as an umbrella enterprise to enable a wide range of other small business enterprises that engage in conservation of nature and culture to achieve success.
We need people who seek to be residents and also we need seed investors in this cutting-edge social and rural development project. We are also exploring and open to a variety of available public aid and funding options and will run a crowdfunding campaign.
Are you someone who wishes to be part of a vibrant, integrated, ecological community? Are you an ethical investor who can see the potential for growth in this ever more relevant market sector? Are you a public servant with a duty to ensure the welfare of your nation and local area? Then please do not hesitate to get in touch! Every ingredient essential in optimising the potential of this enterprise of ecological inspiration!
Let’s learn to enrich the earth together as we move into an era of tackling Climate Change as one of the greatest threats to our species and other environmental and social problems via this cutting edge and sustainable model of good practice. Our children and our children’s children deserve Northern Ireland to have an Educational Ecovillage and it is not too soon… nor too late. The time is just right for this and the time is now.
Be part of the solution…
Yours in service to All,
(Founder and Director)
Enriched Earth Ecovillage CIC no. NI636983