Thursday 17 May 2012

What is Orchardy Haven?

This is an important thing that I've been needing to write down for a long time, and Phil and Andrew kept on asking for a concise description. Well here is draft one, and this is about as concise as it can be for now - it may get simpler later. Any comments appreciated.

Orchardy Haven is an experiment in sustainable and eco-friendly living and learning. It is an 8ha neglected old farm in north east Poland, purchased in September 2011. There are several aspects to the project:

    image from of someone picking pears from a tree
  1. To convert the dilapidated farm house to an eco-house.
  2. To grow food and other useful crops on the surrounding land using the principles of forest gardening and permaculture.
  3. To involve friends and volunteers creatively in the whole process.
  4. To embody a culture of open learning: we're learning, we're inviting others to learn with us, and we can teach and be taught by the people who come and interact with us.
  5. To develop the barns to provide volunteer/visitor accommodation, craft workshop facilities, and to meet the needs of the farm.
  6. To create a ceramics workshop and other facilities for traditional crafts.
  7. To build on opportunities that come out of these activities and our other skills to provide financial sustainability for the farm and our family.
Obviously the financial sustainability of the whole thing is a big leap, but it is possible and we'll just have to have a go at it. For now we can't even afford to move there, so it's going to be a while before it's all up and running.

One question Andrew asked was whether there was a conflict between inviting volunteers to help us and trying to make a living for ourselves on the farm. We don't think that is a conflict. There are lots of organic farms that have WWOOFers, and we ourselves have been volunteering in various places where our hosts need to make a living. We think being able to volunteer on a project like this is a great opportunity and is all about sharing knowledge and experience and giving people a chance to go out and get a place of their own to farm...

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