This is a dream, a vision and a reality in the process of realizing:)
Lannu village is a sustainable combination of an ecovillage and a traditional Estonian village. Above all it is home for the people who live here. At the same time, it is also a place where good ideas and examples sprout.
Ecological side or what makes Lannu an ecovillage
Big part of the inhabitants` food is grown on the spot and it is possible to sustain oneself by eating only local foods. No chemicals that damage nature are used in Lannu gardens and homes. There are many ways to garden organically, everyone can choose the way that suits them best whether it`s the Masanobu Fukuoka, Anastasia, Robert Hart way, permaculture or acting on intuition. Food is grown in cooperation with nature, not fighting against it. There are no large fields of monocultures in Lannu and heavy machines don`t drive around here. (I haven`t figured out how to get hay for goats for winter without machinery, yet. Any ideas?:)
Animals are free-range. Animals are not raised for meat and there is no hunting. Being vegetarian is not a prerequisite for living here though environment is conducive to that. The amount of not-for-meat animals in a farm is reasonable so that the farmer can take care of them without damaging nature.
*CSA (Community-Shared Agriculture)
Different options are possible. Several families can garden together or one family can grow food for many families in and near the village. Perhaps some families wish to join a farmer`s “club” and get part of everything that grows in the farm through the year. For example, I`m not very interested in growing potatoes and keeping bees and I don`t use a lot of potatoes and honey, either. But I would be interested in helping someone else grow potatoes and get my share for that. At the same time I`m interested in growing lot`s of different fruit trees that grow more fruit than my friends and family can eat. Then it would be great if someone came and picked their share and brought me honey or some other conserves. Every family still has their own garden where they grow whatever they like.
*sharing where duplication has no deeper meaning. For example, a shared laundry house. Having a laundry house does not mean that inhabitants are forbidden to have a washing machine at home. It is a chance to not have 5 washing machines and electricity circuits when 1 can do the job. It would be even better if someone invented a washing machine that would make clothes clean without eating electricity, making lot`s of noise or using damaging chemicals and human strength:) That would be sustainable even in every home. Later when we have more people to go somewhere together, we might get a bus. Library.
*nature- and humanfriendly building with emphases on local options and passive solutions.
As much as possible, old farmplaces are used and new homes are built considering the logic of place and without damaging the place. Wind direction and the moving of sun is considered. If water is brought inside the house, pipes are not spread in different places around the house and homes are not enwrapped in electric circuit. Materials that easily become part of nature after end of use, are used. Natural light is used maximally and the warmth of sun is collected. Greenery is not damaged for building, land is not turned upside down around the house and loud noise is not made. Expensive and complicated “ecotechnology” that does not compost later and causes problems instead, is not used. Inhabitants build their own homes with the help of each other, friends and local craftsmen. The goal is not austerity but finding simple and smart solutions that are kind to nature and humans. For example, reflecting light, walls that collect heat, refrigerator inside the north wall, earth cellar and pantry, hot water tap attached to the pot inside a stove, rainwater reservoir so high that it can be used for showering in the summer or the water could be directed to kitchen.
Social side or what keeps the Lannu community together
A well functioning community is a set of people that are tightly involved and help each other. Community is bigger than family and could represent a small model of society. The amount of people that could be considered one`s community is limited. When there are too many people, connections weaken and relationships only touch the surface.
Community stays strong if it`s members:
*enjoy spending time together and communicating with each other
*communicate freely often
*spend time close to each other often, for example visits, house-raising and other work parties, hiking together, children staying overnight, cake- and handicraft nights…
*know and trust each other enough to share personal information
*start and keep shared traditions in both smaller neighborhoods and the whole village, for example, greeting new inhabitants with a personal visit and a party, celebrating together, fall hike, spring hike…
*everyone feels important and needed in the community
*share values and accept differences (don`t try to force themselves into circles whose values or ways they can`t accept)
*help each other and share what they`ve learned and created
*speak about both light and heavy issues
The critical point between a dream and a reality is the feeling that my life is here. As long as it seems great and I`d like to but really my life and work and friends are elsewhere, nothing changes. When here and there change places so that the inhabitants` life is in the village and other places are only visited, then village is strong and viable.
An important part of the social side is education.
At Lannu village we have community home education. This means: 1)children naturally grow in a community that consists of people in different agegroups, 2)they have contact with people from different fields of life and can learn from them and 3)they can give their contribution to the community.
In a functioning community there are all possibilities to grow into an active member of society. Realizing the possibilities is only a question of choices of the people living here.
We don`t have our own school or kindergarten in a traditional sense. If some families don`t want home education, there`s always the option of the closest local school. Several communities in Estonia are already considering creating their own school. We are concentrated on home education:)
We do have a village center where villagers in all ages that have something to offer, can hold and participate in workshops, courses, art exhibits… and also events for wider publicity. Camps and courses on everything organic take places in the village.
Spiritual side or shared values and basic principles
*contact with nature, sustainability, organic thinking is important
*human relations are important
Every family lives in their own home, yet we are still a whole community. No one has to feel lonely living in Lannu village.
*home and family centered
Growing roots is supported. Children are welcome. We support growing strong families. Every family is a whole and lives in it`s own home. A commune can only be a temporary arrangement, for example, while building homes. Environment is conducive to several generations living together. We expect that people come here to create a permanent home, the kind they could leave to grandchildren. That`s why no one is asked to sign papers that would give a seeming right to ask someone to leave the village at some point. This also means that building homes can`t be started overnight. Before deciding to stay here, potential villagers have to live here as a guest at least a few months to be certain that they really want to create their lives here, in this place and community.
Freedom comes with responsibility and requires awareness and a goal. At Lannu village everyone has the freedom to create a sustainable corner of the world. Freedom to grow as a human being and open one`s potential is supported. Living in a village that supports freedom does not give anyone the kind of freedoms they don`t naturally have. For example, the freedom to decide that someone no longer wants to be a parent is not supported.
Everything is voluntary in that no one is forced to do anything. No one is coercively attached to a role to keep the village functioning and no one has to use the services provided by villagers. For example, having a midwife in the village (which would be great) does not mean that all families having a baby have to invite her.
*lifelong growing and development
*slow lifestyle that allows concentration and growing on a deeper level
*no fixed religion or doctrine
Everyone can follow their practices as long as they don`t harm other people, nature and community. Converting others is not supported.
*The community is not centered around a spiritual leader
Lannu is a real village that stands on the initiatives, actions and cooperation of families and individuals gathered together by shared goals and values. The viability and vivacity of the village is not dependant on the existence of a governing organization or some person`s change of plans. If at some point there are 10 households in the village, it is a strong village because a tight community of 10 families is much stronger and viable than 100 families that don`t trust each other and have opposing values.
A village is a living organism that needs to be cared for and helped to grow. By putting lot`s of energy and attention into it in the beginning, the village becomes self-sustainable and reproductive.
*Every family is the sole owner of their land
*most of what goes on in the village is solved by individuals, families, farms, small businesses. Small eco-businesses are directed to villagers and elsewhere. It`s possible that an ngo is also needed when starting the village but it does not run the village and has no participation in home ownership
*we strive for self-sustainability inside the village, in the level of a single farm, small neighborhood and the whole village
*at the same time we are open to cooperation with other villages, craftsmen, organic farms
*CSA inside the village and can also be directed to nearby parishes
*making and growing things ourselves
*sharing a car, if needed
*shared laundry house, library, perhaps something more
*no member fees. When there`s a need for shared expenses, means can be collected
*the village might have it`s own money but it would be easier without it
*villagers with diverse skills. It would be great to have people who can help others learn about organic gardening, natural building, woodwork, blacksmithing, herbs, birth and pregnancy assistance, traditional crafts, organic cooking, organic housekeeping, ceramics… Animal therapy and other creative therapies would be welcome
*I wish to hold organic and home education camps, summer- and other days, raise a few wool-goats, weave rugs and write. And I`m sure a lot of other things that will come in time:)
*Lannu village grows slowly, so that there is time to get to know every new villager personally
*people who already have organic thinking and who want to live here are invited and accepted as new villagers. Organic thinking means wanting and being willing to live without letting damaging chemicals into air and ground, for example washing liquids, fertilizers and building materials and without causing noise pollution
*first new potential villagers live here as guests to be sure they really want to live here
*we have a large amount of land from which new inhabitants buy a piece
*land is bought without any bank loans. For that we first need to get hold of a big part of the land. When buying in large quantities, the price of m2 is not expensive and it is easy to by a few hectares from it later. The price of m2 should be less than 1 Eek, in ideal. We should get at least 30 ha for start and there should be several old farm-places near so other peaces can be bought later or individually by villagers. I`m sure there are nice landowners who would be glad if a village would bloom on their land and would be willing to sell under good conditions:)
*there are going to be a maximum of 100 homes is Lannu village. After that it`s other villages and 100 is also divided into at least 3 geographically distinct areas. Farms are located so that there are 2-5 close to each other, then a little distance and another 2-5. The village area is such that it is possible to visit everyone by foot
*the face of the village changes as inhabitants do
*representatives of all households are in the village council.
Financial side at the beginning
Costs: land, planning and building permissions, building, restoring the village center…
*let people donate in the internet. For example like http://www.capepointecovillage.co.za/ Taxes might go off from donations. An ngo might be more trustworthy than an individual asking money
*some farms are bought by inhabitants and they handle all the legal details
*still, a large peace of land needs to be acquired before we have inhabitants. In order to have potential dwellers live there as guests and not buy land immediately. And to have a certain place for the village. And I want to start my own garden this spring, already. The land should be big enough that even a tiny real village (with homes at least 1ha, better 2-3ha + woods and common area) could be created there if we don`t get more land
*probably there are possibilities with Euro foundations, especially when emphasizing the benefit of re-inhabiting a completely abandoned village. But I don`t want to put up a sign that says, this village was created with the support of European Union or something like that
*sponsors from Estonia and elsewhere. Who might be interested that a nice little viable ecovillage should bloom here? Are there any eco-friendly philanthropists?
*local governments in the parish and county could be interested in having villages re-inhabited and having more active people living in their area. Especially since we don`t have a regular real estate development project but an organic traditional village based on local possibilities
*perhaps some nice people would like to give land to the village:)
*deep in the country, South Estonia, preferably Haanja-Rõuge area
*walking distance from a bus stop
* walking distance from a little bigger place where buses definately come and to where CSA could be directed (Haanja and Rõuge are both great)
*hills and lakes and mushroom woods
*enough open views and cosy little glades at the same time
*spring/brooke with clean water
*far from big roads and high-voltage lines and antenna towers and factories
*suitable land for gardening
For those still reading:)
There is a list for people interested in the village. All letters are in Estonian.
We have found a neighborhood consisting of three existing villages that very likely is THE place. Some farms are inhabited, some are summer homes and there are enough places empty. Some empty places still have a building that needs serious renovation, some only have a base. There is a small lake, a river, a brooke, woods with Hepaticas, hills with great open wiews…
All local people that I have met or that have been told about the plan have been friendly and enthusiastic. In these three villages there are mainly old people still living there but in the neighbouring villages there are young families, too. People in the parish government have been friendly and helpful.
The area has potential for some great things that I`m not going to tell, yet:) There`s definitely space for future developments when the primary goal of an ecovillage has been achieved.
Anyone interested in joining, leave a comment or write to me ivooglaid at gmail.com.