Newsletter fall 2020

After complaining so much about drought, we’re feeling quite blessed with the rain ! The garden is all green, it looks like it’s spring again ! A new start for life then, under our feet, above our heads with the dances of the birds and all over us with the ladybirds who run into our windows to flee from the cold. Life, as always, again and again.

This year was very rich and surprising, like every year actually. It’s not this virus and the political craziness that will change it ! The garden is getting a bit bigger, we’re preparing new beds for next year. Autonomy is still far ahead but we’re gaining experience. We’re full of hope for 2021.

Yazmin, Ada and Benjamin have finally quit the main house t settle in their little mud and straw house. They feel so grateful and happy there ! We can say whatever we want about individualism, it’s good to have a space for oneself… and especially with the confinement !

The main house seems therefore much bigger. We have a new dormitory, a library, a work space and a yoga room all insulated ! And soon… a new bathroom with an indoor toilet ! Revolution is coming in !

The group is also evolving a lot. Elsa and Liri have left the project to find a better balance near Grenoble and a democratic school. Thor and Loona are also on their way out of the project to seek new adventures. It’s a bit sad, put departures are part of life… and definitely part of ecovillage dynamics !

We also have a new member, Quentin joined the project in September to bring some new spirit to the place. We are actually quite numerous for the winter. Pierre, Yazmin, Benjamin and Ada are still here with some people decided to spend the winter and the confinement here. Overall, between 10 and 12 persons live here today.

We have some other news. We officially decided not to ask anymore 5000 euros to become member of Eotopia. We have almost finished to reimburse the people who lent us money at the begining and we can come back to a full gift economy.

This doesn’t mean we don’t need money anymore and we actually decided to open ourselves to receive financial contributions. Therefore, if you want to take part in eotopia’s adventures, you can come, of course, but you can also send us some money to become more autonomous, welcome more people and organize more events : More infos here (in French) : Nos besoins.

It’s moving also in our village. The social space we want to create in the village will be partly financed by the region. We’re gonna be able to organize more events and get more in touch with the locals.

The Eofestival was also great : We had over a hundred persons coming to our place to celebrate collective horizons. About 15 projects have been presented and some are on their way. You can find more informations about them here : (link).

We’re gonna spend a quiet winter in our little paradise and we hope to see you in spring or later !

With love,

The eotopia family

Presentation of projects, Eofest 2020

The Eofest 2020 had the theme “Collective Horizon”. One of the afternoons included presentation from participants of their dreams and/or concrete (collective) project ideas. The projects are in different stages of development, some are based on an already existing group, others are individuals that are seeking to create. We invite you to read the descriptions and get in touch with people directly (contact details are in the descriptions), if you are also on the lookout for a collective horizon.

AutResArtLib by Aline

Harmonia by Olivia

Magari by Magari collectif

Reve Collectif by Caroline

Maison Bleue by Hélène

Revons by Julie, Franch, Cyril, Loona et Thor

Newsletter summer 2020 – come dream with us!

Dear you

The post-confinement is advancing and so are we at Eotopia. We are projecting ourselves into the future, however slowly and step by step. We are looking for new people to join us and we are dreaming of another great Eofest at the end of summer. See more below.

The spring without visits was actually good for us. We took the time to be together, to strengthen the bonds that unite us, to get to know each other a little more. We slowed down… well, a bit – not we couldn’t help moving forward though! Even if we are living a life of degrowth, we are also still aware of the generally difficult state the world is in. In this time we feel it more than ever, trying to abandon certain habits, certain comforts, both in the way we live on the land and in our way of being connected to the land and each other. So we’re working on slowing down, but staying active, keeping a certain rhythm. Plants grow, even when we’re not here, some (many!) are edible some are not. We do our best to take care of the ones that we can. It’s a good year for gardening with sunshine and much more water than the past spring. At the same time, we are busy with several other projects. We have started renovating the second floor of our house to insulate it (and to install a yoga room, music room, etc. – and later on a rocket mass heater!), we have built a new greenhouse with patio doors and pallets and the phyto-purification system is back in use – bigger, stronger, more active than ever! The construction site of the cob-pallet house is also progressing well, we are now in the process of the final plastering of the earth. More information later on (and an ebook in free access so that you can do the same if your heart tells you to!). Many other advances have taken place, more yin, more or less concrete, material, emotional, and certainly spiritual – and we’re queering more than ever. Come take a look for yourself!

Yes, we slow down, but we keep dreaming. About what? About the future, of course. And what’s in our future? Maaany things, but two dreams specifically:

1. We dream of expanding the Eotopia family! We dream of new residents but also new neighbours! So, if you vibrate with our values and want to join us, don’t hesitate to contact us! For visits, we will give priority to people who are potentially interested in moving in with us. If you are a fan of our values but don’t feel like living in a community… come and live close to us! Saône-et-Loire, Nièvre or Allier (we are at the crossroads of the three departments) are very nice departments, rather wild and very accessible financially and in terms of infrastructure. There’s also a lot of abandoned houses around here…

2. We dream of a hundred joyful and colorful people, dancing around a fire, talking circles, workshops, shared meals, crazy ideas, creations, everything you can imagine… but yes! We dream of a festival at Eotopia! Eofest 2020 will take place, when the blackberries are abound on the roads of France and the tomatoes are ready to burst.

What’s on the agenda? You, you, you and you and you and you, etc. … First of all, us, together with an idea that has germinated at the last festival and has been making its way since: Collective Horizons. We therefore invite you to come to imagine the eco-place or community of your dreams, to meet other people who share these dreams, these desires, and/or to share your experience of collective life and/or the creation of eco-places. Maybe this festival will inspire you to join Eotopia, to create your community somewhere else or right next door to us!

  • The dates: 27th to 31st August.
  • The place : Eotopia land
  • For who? Everyone (but especially those who want to start/join/co-create/open an eco-place)
  • Where to register? Here
  • How much does it cost? Very expensive: your time, a little bit of your life and energy.
  • Rules? Yes, we do have rules! And not just one. We’re vegan, alcohol- and drug-free. Take a look at the website for more details…
  • More info? Look here

The entire Eotopia family is thrilled to have you here for this… event. Since all our visiting periods have been disrupted because of you-know-who, we are thirsty for meetings, exchanges, sharing.

Join us – for short or for long!

Until then, we wish for you to be able to celebrate the summers coming!

With love,

The Eotopians

Newsletter spring 2020

Dear friends!

Spring is coming to Eotopia (and registrations for the visit periods are open, see more below… :-))! The trees are starting to bloom, the lovely scents are in the air and all around it is getting more green. This winter has seen much more rain than the one last year, which makes us very happy because we can see how nature is able to stock up on water before the summer! The fields in front of our land have been inundated now for several weeks – honestly, we wouldn’t mind it staying like that… It brings birds, frogs and other wildlife and just shows us the transformative power of water!

Photo: Juliette Pavy

Yazmin, Ben and Ada have returned from Mexico and things are generally starting to get busier again here at Eotopia. Last week we had our first experience of hosting a course. The five-day forest garden design course, facilitated by Rakesh “Rootsman Rak”, brought loads of interesting knowledge, good and inspiring interactions but also challenged our facilities to accommodate a larger group of people during the cold season. Everyone, participants as well as residents, did their best to make the energy warm!

The room during the course (left) and after the course (right)

But now, one week later, the room that was used for teaching has changed drastically. We are in the process of tearing down the old insulation – it was a rat heaven – to change this to a more long-lasting option. This is part of a bigger project of renovating the house, which will also include a project of a rocket mass oven that we hope to start to construct this summer! In general, we have reorganized and are trying to work more with small sub-groups on different projects, to help us move forward and spread the responsibilities as best as possible. This also means that we will have loads of things to suggest for visitors to take part in during the coming visitors’ periods!

And talking about that. The registrations have opened for the four visit periods of 2020. You can find more info here: http://www.eotopia.org/wordpress/en/visit-us/. On the website, you will also see the dates for our open door days and info about the process for those of you who might be interested to join the project.

We hope you will all have a great transition to spring, and maybe we’ll meet in 2020, maybe another time!

With love,

The Eotopia family 

Photo: Juliette Pavy

Forest garden course 2020

Dear friends!

We are very happy to announce that we will be hosting a forest garden design course here at Eotopia, starting the 29th of February!

If you are interested, you can take part in either just the two day introduction the 29th of February and the 1st of March or the introduction and the 3 day design and practical part from the 2nd until the 4th of March. Below you’ll find the full description from the course organiser, our friend Rakesh “Rootsman Rak”.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Imagine your garden looking as lovely as a woodland edge. Imagine that on top of looking nice, it produces an abundance of nutrient dense food and will ultimately need very little digging, weeding, manual watering or pest control – all in harmony with animals and other beings around. This is ‘an edible vegan forest garden’.

Forest gardening is a way of growing food where nature does most of the work for you. Modelled on natural woodland, crops are grown in different layers from high and medium sized canopy to roots, ground cover and climbers.

Through careful planning, plants are chosen which have beneficial effects on each other, attract beneficial insects and create a healthy biodiverse rich system that maintains its own fertility. Once established, your main task will be harvesting!

This workshop will give you the tools you need to design your own forest garden. You will learn about its history, its benefits, and soil fertility, nutrients, valuing diversity, surveying and map making, observing and learning from nature, how to place the right plant in the right place.
We will apply the theory as we go to the land around us, co-creating a forest garden onsite.

The course will be run in English with a possibility of consecutive/simultaneous translation into French.

The course will be led by Rakesh “Rootsman Rak” – experienced Permaculture designer, teacher and Forest Garden specialist, yoga teacher and homeopath. He has been growing food for 40 years, and has been designing and teaching edible landscaping, permaculture, forest gardening, etc. Rakesh has designed and implemented forest gardens from small-scale private gardens and schools, to farms, community gardens, communal nature gardens, as well as designing a forest garden on part of a 30-hectare ecovillage in Croatia.

** 2 day Introduction Sat and Sunday
– History of forest gardening
– Why make a food forest
– Layout of a forest garden
– How to ensure your food forest has enough nutrients
– Multifunctional pathways
– Creating abundance and resilience
– Low maintenance food growing
– Patterns in nature for forest gardens
– Understanding and maximising edge

** 3 day Intensive Design and Practical Monday to Wednesday
– Creating your personal detailed designs
– Creating and implementing a design for the host site
– Water management
– Succession planning
– Implementation plans
– Tree and plant guilds

NB: If you want to design your own place, then please make sure you bring accurate detailed maps of your land.

Evenings are free for discussions, films, or anything that you propose. It is entirely up to you to decide how you wish to organize the free time.

THE VENUE

The course will take place at Eotopia. At Eotopia, we see ourselves as part of a living forest in which all beings are necessary for the forest to grow. As residents, we identify as a mix of big trees, growing bushes and wide-spreading mushrooms. We invite you to imagine yourself as part of our ecosystem during the days that you are here for the course.

We are alcohol and drugs free, including tobacco but tolerating sugar and coffee. We request that this is respected during the duration of the course. This is not to create taboos, it is simply to have a sanctuary, where those who might try and get out of certain habits and addictions can feel safe. Smokers are for sure also welcome, but we ask you not to smoke on our land to keep the sense of sanctuary alive.

Kids are very welcome at our place. In fact, two inhabitants are less than 5 years old and we will try to find ways to accommodate other kids during the course. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Eotopia and/or Rakesh if you have questions regarding this.

All the common heating and cooking is done using wood as fuel. In fact, the only heated common space is the living room. So please be ready for fresh temperatures and somewhat cramped living spaces if the weather is cold or wet – but this might just help us bond better as a group. 🙂

ACCOMMODATION

The accommodation will be in either caravans, a camping car, in dormitories in our common house or in your own tents. Note that none of these spaces are heated, and end February/beginning of March might be really cold and humid, so we ask you to bring proper sleeping bags and covers to stay warm during the night.
Eotopia works with gift economy. We believe there are many ways to give, and if you feel a need to give back, we are ready to propose ways to do so. We will also have a donation box for those who feel like using such a system.

COURSE COSTS

We want this course to be accessible to all and are therefore working in a conscious contribution system, inviting you to pay what you can afford towards meeting the needs of the facilitator. We therefore invite those who can pay more to help those who cannot afford as much. Please contact us if you have any questions about this. Suggested contributions of between €30 to €100 per day (an average of €60 would help us to meet our needs i.e. €120 for 2 days or €300 for 5 days). All contributions will go directly to Rakesh.

FOOD COSTS

To create a deeper sense of community, throughout the course we will create teams who will help cook every day. We will create a system which allows us to express what our dietary needs are, so that we ensure every meal is ideal for everyone.

To ensure we keep the food costs and quality at a level the students require, we are adopting the tried and tested self organising method. This means we will ask you to either bring enough food to cover your food needs for the duration of the course or bring a mix of food and cash. The cash will go into a pot which will be used to buy food as and when required, which will be managed by a self-elected group of participants. We kindly request everyone to only bring vegan food, which we will pool together. The food could include vegetables, grains, preserves, etc. If appropriate, fresh organic veg will be contributed from the venue.

This method has proven to be very successful, as it promotes collaborative decision making and collaborative working. It also allows people to contribute in a way that suits their budget. Participants from previous courses have taken well to this method and noted how the food budget was significantly less than what they would have expected on any other course.

SIGN UP

To sign up for the course, please fill in this form: https://forms.gle/gL2QkfWJokE3Roty5

Newsletter December 2019

Dear friends!

Fall has passed and winter has arrived, and with that a natural slowing down of the pace. Yes, we have been busy here at Eotopia since the last newsletter in August. It is not always easy to practice a life of a slower pace when there are so many motivating things happening around us, so many interesting people that are coming to visit us and so many projects we want to be involved in! But that is why winter is here, to remind us to also take time to relax and put some of our projects on hold – while other projects, such as lactofermentations, little inside construction works and strengthening our social bonds take over. 

The drought this summer was tough for us and for our garden. Our well dried out early in summer and not a lot of our vegetables were able to survive the lack of water. At some point, however, we noticed one particular part of our garden that seemed to be flourishing with flowers, seeds and vegetables. This was around our newly created phytopurification system. The system, as we had designed it, had not survived a week of drought with very few residents (and little water flow) which actually just meant that the greywater from the house now became more available to the plants and vegetables we had planted around the spot. This gave hope in the middle of the drought and we have spent many hours on planning and redesigning other parts of our garden to have more water retention, to harvest and store more rainwater and to release this when needed, next summer. In the midst of this tough period, it gave hope to see just how adaptable nature is when we work together with her! We also held a little ceremony to welcome water on our land – and we have definitely not been missing water since then..! 

During the long dry period, Loona and Thor managed to put up their yurt, which they have bought second hand. Recently, they also finished their poelito, a little rocket mass stove, and they can now pass winter with comfort! The pallet cabin of Ben, Yazmin and Ada has also moved well forward and is now ready to be covered with clay when the spring comes, very exciting as well. We are very grateful for all the help we’ve had moving these construction projects forward! The common house has also seen some changes, we have made a quiet office space upstairs and we have moved a bit forward with creating a yoga/music/contemplation room next to this – this room has already housed its first concert with our very own Elsa Fôret! However, with the arrival of winter and the departure of the cats with Vincent and Juliette we currently have a bit of a discussion with the rats living in the house, and we don’t seem to agree on the standard of tidiness with the little creatures… Hopefully, and animal communicator can help us on this. 

But this is not all on the house front! Our association, Vert de Terre, is now the owner of two houses! The one we’re living in and now also another one we have acquired in the middle of Cronat. This house used to be a meeting place for the locals, a place where you could have your coffee while reading the newspaper or chatting with your neighbours. Our aim is to make this place a space for welcoming people from near or far, for cyclists needing a stop on their way through the Eurovelo 6, for locals to come and hang out, take part in a workshop or sharing in other ways, for visitors to sleep over and for many other things. But we have also promised each other to take it slow with this project, because we do still have many other things we would like to progress on around and in our current living space!

And one final note for all those of you who have already contacted us or are considering contacting us for a visit: We really hope to be able to find ways of meeting you all! We will continue our open door days in 2020 as well as our different visit periods. Please check back here on our website and/or on our Facebook page in February for news and specifics regarding this. 

Until then, and to all of you out there, we wish you a pleasant, peaceful and harmonious winter with time for reflections and introspections whenever needed!

With love,

The Eotopia family

Newsletter summer 2019

Hello dear friends from all over the world,

We haven’t given so many news in the last months, yet things have happened in Eotopia! Between the garden, the preparation of the festival, the construction of a hut in palette, the implementation of our system of phytopurification, the redefinition of our visions, missions and objectives and all the endless meetings that go with it, difficult to take a step back on what we are experiencing.

Fortunately, summer has suddenly settled in, and with him great warmth that invites us to spend a good part of the day in the house, cooler. We take advantage of it to take a well deserved rest!

The garden is flourishing… it is rotting under the more or less desired plants and the drought that is coming is not the most reassuring. Our methods are suitable enough, semi-shaded cultivation, consistent mulching, invasive wild flora… we hope however that there will be some storms from time to time to water all this!

Yazmin, Ada and Benjamin’s pallet hut is progressing well, the roof is laid, all that remains is to fill all this with straw soaked in dab. We look forward to welcome our volunteers for our participative construction! The yourts of Elsa and Liri are already settled into the forest. We thanks our visitors friend for helping us bulding this chaming inhabitat for our new residents!

The pytoepuration pond is off to a good start, it’s a big step!


The Eofest went very well, magical moments shared by a little more than seventy participants and we are already looking forward to organising the next one. We let you make an idea by consulting the photos on this album: link.

But the big news is the reorganisation of the Eotopia project, which is taking place gradually and augurs great things, thanks in large part to our brand new residents, Elsa, Liri, Thor and Loona!  Together, we have taken each pillar and redefined it, rewritten our vision, redefined our personal and collective goals, and refined aspects of our daily lives.

These salutary integrations are contrasted by the rather sudden announcement of the departure of Juliette and Vincent who prefer to change course. This brings us therefore to 8 residents in total including two aged 4 years old. So there’s still room to join us…

On this subject, news there too: we have decided to change our organization of visits to respond on the one hand to the more and more numerous requests and on the other to our constantly changing needs! We are planning open doors so that more people can visit us for a day, we keep 10-day visitation periods and we open up the possibility of hosting 1 or 2 people for a longer period if there is consent! We would also like to open the space to thematic meetings in collaborative self-management. Please consult the page of our website during August to see the updates on this subject

We wish you beautiful sunny days, shade, plenty of water and beautiful harvests!

With love,

The Eotopia family

Newsletter winter 2019

Dear friends of the world,

Vive l’hiver!Viva el invierno !

Long live the winter! Long live the cold, long live the changing seasons which allow us to see the world with new eyes! The countryside wrapped in a white blanket gives us the possibility of breathing fresh air and inspirations. OK, it’s a bit cold outside… and still also inside. Our stove is able to heat one room where we are passing the majority of our time… we reach 16 degrees, and we’re making it through. Seen from the positive side, we are not at all regretting not having a fridge since the kitchen doesn’t get above 5 degrees..!

In relation to activities, we’re evolving slowly with loads of discussions particularly preparing for our three days of family gathering in early March, where we will be working on the basis of our project. We’re also doing a little bit of gardening, mulching, planning, clearing, some work on insulation (and big puzzle-solving to try and find the most ecological and sustainable solutions with the lowest costs…) as well as a lot of reading.

We’ve finalized our overall agenda for the first part of 2019. There are two visiting periods open from the 1st until the 15th of April and from the 1st until the 15th of May, respectively. We are however already almost full… but there are a few spaces left for the month of May. And, for those who would still really like to discover Eotopia, we will also be welcoming visitors from the 1st to the 15th of September plus the 1st to the 15th of October, and the Eofest 2019 will also be a great opportunity! For this, we will be welcoming you all from the 13th to 17th of June at Eotopia to celebrate living together.

For Eofest 2019, we’re inviting you all to join us in our current reflections on what it means to live together, and which tools are useful to find harmony with oneself and those one is surrounded by, as well as with all other beings!

Just like last year, we’re inviting you to arrive from Thursday to pitch your tent and be ready from Friday morning to start the sessions and workshops. On the programme (which is still under development) there are loads of ideas (please add more, if you like): empathic communication, meditation sessions, sociocracy, how (and why) to create an ecovillage, speaking circles, artistic mending workshop, sweat lodge, landart, yoga, wild kitchen workshop etc.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a specific idea, a workshops to propose or other things!

We’re full !!!

And here is a little video from the festival last year:

In the meantime, may the winter be a source of peace and introspection to allow all to jump into the spring in the most fruitful way.

A wonderful new year to all,

The Eotopia family

Newsletter November 2018

Winter is definitely coming early this year! While we were enjoying summertime in October, snow came suddenly to freeze the remaining tomatoes!

As for most gardens in France, it’s been a great year for tomatoes, paprikas and chillies! However, our cabbages and corn have had some difficulties with the drought…

We’ll start again next year with the same idea from the 1st to the 15th of April and the 1st to the 15th of May. June will be dedicated to the organisation of the festival which is planned to take place on the third weekend of that month.

On site, things are changing a bit… and we express all our gratitude towards the helpers and mother earth who feeds us so abundantly!

We’ve finished the renovation of the floors of the garages and now, our basement is fully operational. We’ve also installed our bike workshop in the barn.

All spaces are now defined… or almost. The big room upstairs is planned to turn into a yoga and meditation room this winter.

The cabin of Yazmin and Benjamin will wait until next year to get finished… we’ve only put the floor so far… it goes slowly, but surely! We’ll start in April with the same materials – pallets, clay and straw.

We’ve had the visit of some bike geeks who redesigned the bike washing machine. We can now clean our clothes and even speed up to spin! We’ve also got the bike machine to produce electricity, which was made by some students for us last year, up and running. We can use it to charge our smartphone… with about 5 hours of our time! Clearly, some improvements can be made, but like everything here, we move forward at a slow and happy pace!


 

These days, we’re planning the forest garden and planting some trees.

We wish you a great winter and see you next spring!

Skittishingly yours,

The Eotopia family

Newsletter august 2018

Dear you,

Earth seems to be heating as never… is the end of the world finally coming ? Is it time for the big collapse ?

At Eotopia, talks are going on and on about it. Even if we are trying to remain as much as possible in the present, we can’t help ourselves to project in a possible future without electricity, transportation and supermarkets… what will we do ?

Our conclusion : whatever happens in the coming years, better to be prepared from now to an autonomous way of life ( before being forced into it) and, more importantly, enjoy fully what life can offer today.

Free and daily pleasures which exist since the beginning of times and will never disappear : a walk in the forest in the moonlight, a starry sky, a dive in the delicious water of the Loire, a gaspacho with the abondant tomatoes of the garden, an animated discussion (Viva la NVC!) around a friendly table, some music under a tree…

Therefore, fo celebrate the heat, we invite you warmly to quit your job if you have one to live fully your life, become a self-employed person or just leave money away, start a garden, in your place or anywhere, share, as much as you can, understanding the others around you, laugh, as loud as never and love what’s surround you.

In eotopia, it’s what we’re trying to do. We also take adventage of the heat to rest after the festival which was great… no words to really talk about it… but a video ! Maybe it’ll motivate you to come next year.

We chose to close the place for august to spend some time among us and have important redefining reunions. We also changed our visitor’s routine. From now on, we’ll welcome people from two weeks for the first 15 days of september and october. We’re already full…

We’re sending a lot of good vibes for the summer, some freshness in your heart and a lot of hope for a smoother world !

Sisterly,

The Eotopia family