Ecovillages and permaculture are becoming huge focuses of baby boomers. There are a few reasons why. One reason is our aging bodies and disease processes have rendered us concerned about what we ingest and Mother Earth (our youthful companion). The idea of growing one's own food and having control over chemicals (remember DDT spraying in our childhoods?) is of grave concern.
This groundswell has created an industry focused on how we can be more self-sufficient. Gone are the days of victory gardens and they are being replaced by community gardens, edible lawns, and food forests.
Let's look at some examples of ecovillages built around the concept of self-sufficient sustainability.
This gorgeous place in Arizona refers to itself as an urban laboratory. It is a mix of unusual and practical architecture in a natural high desert setting that grows its own foods, makes amazing windchime bells to help support the projects, making honey, teaching how to live in a setting that supports the citizens living there, produces resources, and becomes a beautiful and sustainable architectural living mechanism. They promote the arts, architecture, music, and healthy sustainable living. They have rooms for rent like a motel and you can eat in the cafeteria where healthy meals are created by the chefs from mostly items grown on site. There is also an amazing gift shop that sells the famous bells.
This ongoing experiment in Southern Arizona is a thing of wonder. They have added an ocean experiment to test and develop ways to save the coral reefs. Much is being learned in this self-contained environment to gain understanding of our ecosystem. Tours are given and online courses starting too!
Ecovillages can be in rainforest areas or in urban centers. Agritopia in the Gilbert, Arizona area is a great example of a suburban tract housing development built around a central area farm. There are plots in the central farm for residents to have a plot of gardening land. There is a health restaurant serving foods grown there.This residential area shows the possibilities of communities not based on isolated, walled in yards and pavement, but a place of industry, escape, and healthy living that is the very heart of the residence.
Ecovillage at Ithica
Our mission is to promote experiential learning about ways of meeting human needs for shelter, food, energy, livelihood and social connectedness that are aligned with the long-term health and viability of Earth and all its inhabitants.
For more info - Ecovillages
Some of the easy ways to promote these concepts are to grow in your front yard. More and more cities are breaking down and allowing food grown in the front yard. - Hard to believe we need to be told what we can do with our land. Front yard gardens and orchards encourage conversations and examples and also allow homeowners to have more growing space. The Grow Food Instead of Lawns movement has been a big success so far.
Neighborhood Farmer's Markets are also great options. In more rural area, leaving a box on a table along your roadway for neighbors to leave extras from harvests and share with others is a great concept. A little discussion with neighbors and before you know it, on the way home from work, you could grab some tomatoes, greens, broccoli, and leave some walnuts or apples in your baskets at the end of your driveway. Some areas have those little wooden house-looking mailboxes where neighbors leave books and exchange, this would be an extension of that concept.
Some ecovillages have rentals and workshops so you can go stay a weekend and learn about it or volunteer a week and help out.
Be curious and creative by checking meetup.com for gardening groups and check your city for permaculture clubs. There are also local farms that offer picking or education about gardening. Support your local farmers or be one yourself!
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