ecoVillages Journal #14: SUCCESS! HUGE UPDATE - We have more land + ecoVillage Coin

in ecoTrainlast year


It is my great pleasure to share with you the latest news with ecoVillage after a hugely successful 8 day journey in Portugal. One might say that timing of this journey was not very good, and yet at the same time we could not have hoped for a better outcome despite the difficult and restrictive conditions that the Corona Virus has put on us. We stayed with Michael (@orlev) and his Wife Tslil, and shared a lot of time just being together and talking about everything. There was magic in the air, and our hearts connected immediately even though most of us had never met before. I was with Jonathan and Gavin, two very special and talented souls who I had met in Gatwick airport on my way from India to Portugal. We spend most of our together time on their balcony area sitting, talking, eating, drinking, and connecting deeply. It wasn’t intense, but at first it was tense for me.. not knowing how our talks would merge and whether we would align in our core values and feelings for how ecoVillages should happen.

We did have several differences of opinion on a few things, and we spoke about them all. The words NVC (non violent communication) came up many times, often from me.. and I'm SO happy that all of us respect and understand what it is all about, and practice it most of the time. The good thing was, when one person 'dropped the ball', the rest of us were there to witness and keep ourselves in check. By the third day we had agreed on our pillars which was a great milestone. They are the things that we consider SO important that ecoVillages could not happen without them.

We have only written the basic words of each pillar. They will be explained and expanded upon soon. For now here is what we agree on.









We visited Michael and Tslills plot and it is beautiful. There is of course a lot of work to do on that land, and right now cleaning up the foliage and trimming things back in preparation for the fire season is the order of the day. They are also in the process of setting up a temporary spot with a T-Pee, which will make it much easier for them to spend time there.. especially since they are with their one year old son Tao.

The original idea of building on Michaels plot is not currently possible due to building restrictions placed on that area because of the number of trees. Because of this we were also searching for another plot that would allow us to build several eco Homes on one plot. Michaels plot is still an important part of ecoVillages, most importantly so that we can work with the land to improve it, and also test and demonstrate ways to use Permaculture to help prevent fires happening in the area. We don’t yet know the full plan for that land, but there is great potential in many ways.

Our search for new land

We had been there for 7 days, and had mostly spent our time talking, and getting to know each other. We also drove around and saw one or two plots that were for sale, but the agent could not come to meet us, and did not even have the time to communicate at all. The two plots we saw were expensive, and probably didn’t allow for several eco homes to be built on them. By the last day it felt like it would be impossible for us to even start the process of buying land.. even in a normal situation it take weeks at best, and with the Corona drama rapidly picking up pace things were already on lock-down, shops closed, and no way for us to do anything.

NEVERTHELESS, we managed to find the most beautiful plot, just 15 minutes drive from @orlevs plot and we found it just three hours before we left Portugal! Suffice is to say it was perfect in every way that was important, and more. The price of just 7,500 Euros for 8 acres was just incredible, we were lucky to have met the nephew of a local farmer who had a lot of land for sale. All they want is nice people to come to Portugal and so sensing we were coming to really do good things he made us an offer we could not refuse. I share some pics for you to see the land.. i think they speak many words!


A NEW Approach for ecoVillageS

I’m very happy that i used that S on ecoVIllage when we started this project. It was always our intention to spread this approach far and wide, this is not about just one ecoVillage. Now we have returned and seen what is happening in Portugal, and Penamacor I can see another way forward that looks very interesting indeed and I think may be the best way for us to proceed. Our land, whilst quite big, will allow us to build around 6-8 eco homes. That is a good start, but it is not big enough to allow for that many people to join us.

What I have begun to realise is a slightly different approach. IT turns out that you can buy a small piece of land, enough for your own home and personal food production for just 3,000 Euros. That is a tiny cost compared to most parts of the world! So, what I'M thinking now is that we will start on our land and build, learn, and get this movement going. Once we have achieved our first microVillage, we will then start to network with the entire area to help others to do the same. We will have the connections, knowledge, and experience by then to be able to help in so many ways.. and with so much land available within just a 20 minute drive it seems clear that there is plenty of room to expand.

There is a huge influx of international people coming to the Penamacor area, most of us are coming with a similar goal.. but very few people have the skills and experience it takes to build sustainably for a totally off-grid lifestyle. It seems clear now that whilst we build we can also teach the local population how to do it.. in the end we will all help each other.. I believe this approach will be pure magic, and bring together a diverse and growing community that are in the area.. mostly spread out and not yet working together. We have the passion, the experience, and the land now to make this work. It is an AMAZING feeling to see everything line up so well, right down to the small details.

SO, we will start as SOON as we can! The plan is to build one real Earthship Global model, and one "Jonaship" as i call it! Jonathan is very keen try new ideas, and has a lot of experience with other models of sustainable building such as star bale. We will compare and contrast the two and use that experience to decide on the best way to build in that location going forwards.

The first priority is digging some wells, and then starting on a workshop that may well happen later this year. (lets hope the borders open again soon!). Once we have water secured we will start building and will invite people to join us in this great eco building journey. It is a great milestone that we have reached already, and once we all get there and start building i think there will be no stopping us!

ecoVillage Coin Update

@aggroed has just posted his plans and intentions for all the tokens that are currently held on . He will be keeping it going, and also work on a Hive version, which will likely take a few months. Therefore everything is really as it was for the ecoVIllage coin, and you can still buy and support this project here.

By purchasing ecoVIllage coin you are supporting me and this project in a huge way. A small amount of money goes a long way in Portugal, and right now this project is looking VERY good indeed! If you dont know the details, we plan to buy back the coin from you at a higher price once we have started generating some income from many events and workshops that we will hold. In Portugal any income paid in Cryptocurrency is legally tax free and so we have a great incentive to use it, hold it, and make it a currency worth holding. In this current climate of an impending economic collapse it may well be a very smart move to hold at least some of your money in crypto, and especially a small niche coin such as ecoVillage Coin.

SO THANK YOU to all of you who have supported us this far. A VERY special shout out to @yabapmatt who really helped me to get this vision started and off the ground. Thank you also to all who have bought ecoVillage coin, and those who have expressed a desire to come and help build when we get going. WATCH THIS SPACE , and also please do visit our community social media page. We will be discussing and announcing all important developments there.

A New Website to Easily Find Active Communities On Steem

Communities is a new layer on Steem. They are still new and are still developing and growing! New communities have been popping up like popcorn, and most of us have hard time finding ones that fit our personal interests. Steempeak has some filtering options, but they are not currently tied to specific keywords of the topics of the group.. and even if they are we can have so many communities to choose from, many with no activity, that it can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

To help us all, @eco-alex has created a new website at . If you are looking to find new and active communities on Steem, or if you would like to white-list your own community and have it added to the database then please visit and check it out. There are many features, and it is extremely simple and quick to use. Just click on the topics that interest you and the relevant communities will flash up before your eyes with some simple descriptions and a link to further info. When you find a community you like just follow the link to and Subscribe!

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What about local council rules?
Biggest problem with creating new eco communities within existing countries is that local bylaws often prohibit what you want to do.
You need to control the local government or have one that it very laisse faire if you want to succeed.

its very easy where we are.. there are already earthships there, but also the local government REALLY want to bring in eco building and young fresh blood! Since were in such a rual area it also makes things much easier than building in a city... looks like that will be a real non issue ;-)

Good to hear. My brother has always sought out these sorts of communities but run into local government problems.

yes.. its often a big issue.. location really does make the difference when you build this way..

what makes this approach so powerful is that once we have gotten through all the hoops and hurdles were going to be able to make it SO easy to help others do the same.. We also intend to forge close and positive relationships with the Penamacor municipality.. they are already VERY welcoming to international people...

Excellent news!

I'm going to start a van conversion soon and intend to head over to Portugal in August/ September, and at those kind of prices I can afford land for sure, so I'll see you there!

Until I find some land, I'm more than happy to help anyone else improve land/ build anything.

Assuming I'm actually allowed out of the country in August of course.

Sounds even better than the original vision if you ask me!

speak to me before you look.. i already have good contacts and can help you find the kind of prices were talking about..

im SO ready to get a van!!! if the borders were still open i might do it now!.lol

speak to me before you look

I certainly will do, I think I'll be needing all the help I can get.

Is that your plan then, leave India and van-dwell for a while. I figure it's the way to go when planning on a long term build, it takes a lot of urgency out of the process I guess, meaning one can build something at a slower pace.

@riverflows has just bought a T4 and is currently in the UK, I'll be tapping them up for some advice on how to convert!

the plan is to get back there as SOON as we can,, i hope August and just GET GOING! watch this space for sure .. i dont want to do the van thing,, more likely i think is a yurt or simple eco home.. ive built a tinyhome earthship with Jon and volunteers before in two weeks (unfinished but roofed) and we had WAY harder circumstances..

whats a T4? im terrible at acronyms!

Well I hope August!

I had thought about sticking with my car and just buying a small, simple Yurt/ canvas tent I could stick on a roof rack packed up.

I might still do that if I thought I could find some land and somewhere to put up said Yurt reasonably quickly.

Based on your experience how fast do you reckon I could find something on arrival? (NB I know there's no guarantees with this sort of thing!)

The van is really just a security thing - if I'm drifting around for a few months trying to find somewhere, then a van is what I need, if I there's a reasonable chance I could find some land within a month, I might just stick with my car. It is super fuel efficient, which I like!

Not doing a van conversion would save me a lot of time, and probably a couple of grand too.

i think yurts are amazing.. esp if you get the rocket stove going.. and make it in a shaded spot for summer.. which is always doable.. especially on @orleves plot as its covered in trees..

so yeah i think thats a solid plan!
to find something on arrival is easy for temporary.. you could pitch on our land, maybe orlev (have to ask him!) .. and even we have more land with a friend.. so many options.. then you can look to buy at your own pace.. or who knows .. maybe youll end up staying longer...

how exciting! The future looks bright : ) Big love to you guys on this journey. I hope to come and visit someday!

thank you! yes its totally jazzed my world up i can tell you.. once we get building i think it is going to be quite a special scene!!

It is a wonderful new beginning and the micro-village idea makes just so much sense. In the funniest way it's like you're planning to go back to the way many Thai & indigenous people already live here in the mountains.

What a blessing that you have this enforced time for documentation and planning - I see several Ebooks falling out in the coming weeks. )

we are indeed planning that.. well in our own strange unique kind of way.. back to basics.. with a twist of new age... xx

The price of just 7,500 Euros for 8 acres was just incredible
This price very low even compared to the Indian rates. Quite amazing actually!

That is one cheap parcel of land you found there, so happy for you!

Excellent! I am definitely looking forward to the day I can come visit. :)

nice one! YEs this is happening... we sure chose the right place.. how much difference that makes!! Just need those borders open again! i hope this year!! <3 much love to you x aloha

Thanks, much love to you all as well :)

This is so exciting! Love, love, love seeing the progress!
Now just get the borders open and travel restrictions lifted and on with the build!

well, if the local council allows you to build on the land that is amazing but I assume its not a "building plot" but agrarian land which is not self evident (at least not in most countries)
When this whole thing has blown over it seems like a good place to come and visit and get my hands dirty

great point! that is what makes this SO special.. and was my PRIMARY goal.. to find land that we CAN build on..WE have checked and my lawyer assures me we can build several eco homes on the plot we have.. we are good to go and also have very nice support from the locals and local government who are really desperate to bring in new life and new blood to what is now an abandoned and remote rural part of Portugal...

This is great news, congrats. You were lucky indeed.

I can see it was a relief for you after a very intense week :)