ecoVillages Journal #15: A NEW VISION IS BORN: A new, ultra de-centralised approach to rapid ecoBuild adoption in Penamacor, Portugal.

in ecoTrainlast year (edited)


What can we do to make it as easy as possible to self build an eco home, at ultra low cost, and become self sufficient for all our survival and comfort needs? I believe I have at last discovered the way forward. I see with clear vision how to make it not only possible, but very easy, to build a small ecoVillage community with mostly volunteers, donations, and minimal expense. Until now this ecoVillages project has focused on one plot of land, in theory to house many families and people as possible. Now I realise there is a much easier way, and an approach that is truly decentralised, overcomes the many issues relating to community, and provides true security and ownership for all involved.

During my recent trip to Portugal it became apparent that there were hundreds of plots of land for sale. Most if not all of them were too small to be able to build around 50 homes on them, and the cost to even buy that much land would be very high. What I realised very quickly was that there was another way, and it was so obvious and just made so much sense. Rather than try to make an ecoVillage, with all the many facets that a village needs, such as medical, education, shops and infrastructure etc, why not just repopulate an existing village that has more or less been abandoned? There are many villages around the world that are desperate for a new lease of life, and Penamacor is one such village, and it is a beautiful village!

I have been feeling into this, and talking with a few people including @orlev. Now after digesting everything I would like to present my new vision for ecoVillages! We have at this time secured our first plot of around 3.6 hectares (around 8 acres), which has space for a few homes, and many other very cheap plots for sale within just a few minutes drive. We have connections now that can help us find you a plot in the area for as cheap as Euros 3,000!

Phase 1: Proof Of Concept
Most of the common questions people ask who are interested to join ecoVillages in Penamacor can be answered once we have built our first small eco-home on our land. We will go through the process of a small build, using mostly volunteers and workshops, and building on as low a budget as possible. We will teach anyone interested as we build, so that future builds can happen more quickly in the local area. Workshop priority will be given to those with a desire to move to the area and join our ecoVillages project. Once we have finished building our first eco-home we will then know the costs and best approach to building further homes. We will also get our first building through domestic building regulations so that future builds can proceed without the added challenge of meeting codes without precedence.

Instead of trying to make an entire eco-village on one piece of land, we are repopulating an existing village that is ready and waiting for people to come and bring new life to its aging community. Once we have gotten our first home through the hoops, and forged positive and symbiotic relationships with the local people and authorities, we can then make it thrice as easy and quick for the people that follow us. We will have all the connections you need to acquire land and build at very minimal cost, and with true self sufficiency in mind. We will organise volunteers and workshops to get the job done with you, with minimal fuss, confusion and expense!

Phase 2: Replicable model for newcomers
People can buy land in small groups for 1-5 homes for each group. Each plot would be a micro ecoVillage, and all would together become ecoVillages. This would solve most of the very many complex issues around community living and governance. Each plot or micro-village would be responsible for their own affairs, and they may each choose the degree in with they are involved in the community activities. Those people who wish to grow food may do so, and many collaborations and trades can and will happen quite naturally.

By having our micro ecoVillages spaced out over several Kilometers we will have room to breath and live our own lives. Things will work just how a normal village might, with some people being more social, and others enjoying their own personal space.

I know that when we all help each other to build, that we will forge many strong and long lasting relationships... particularly if we are all neighbours after we have finished building.

Let's Talk About Money Money
I want to remove the need to use money wherever possible, especially for things like food and utilities. By each person doing what they wish to do, we can establish a natural community, each with their own things to exchange such as food or other products. I fully intend to have our own Currency working, possibly even ecoVillage coin itself as our means of currency trade. Portugal have made all products, services, and wages, not only VAT free but also Tax free! So if we pay each other in our own ecoVillage coin we can totally avoid paying any tax, even on our incomes!

Phase 3: Going Global
The final step for ecoVillages is for this whole concept to replicate itself in other locations around the world. We have chosen Portugal to begin this great adventure of self sufficiency, and hope to launch our first workshop this year, we hope by September 2020.

What Does This Mean For @orlev and ecoVillages?
As some of you may know, @orlev already has a small plot of land just 15 minutes drive from our plot. Using the new ecoVillages model, it is now so easy for us to each proceed with our own plans and vision for our respective plots. @orlev doesn't yet have building permission, and so he will be focussing on temporary housing as well as a lot of work on the land in preparation for food production. We are now good friends, and I’m sure we will collaborate in so many ways in the future.

What does this mean for ecoVillage coin?
Things will proceed as I have explained so far. When we start building we will collect donations from our workshops, and will use some of that money to buy back your ecoVillage coins at a higher market price. Many of you have bought ecoVillage coin, and I thank you all for your support. We have already come so far in just a short amount of time, and i hope you can now see what incredible potential this project has both for the local area of Portugal and far beyond.

The next steps will be organising our first build and workshop! Watch this space for more updates on that! I’m sure there will be a post or two about the design that we will choose to start with. This will be something very simple, but very functional. I hope that we can have an almost finished home in around 6 weeks of build time, I'm quite confidant we can achieve that since i have already built a few times with the roof on in just 2 weeks, in far more difficult circumstances. I'm sure @nature-jon and I will have a chat or two also about it.. so there will be lots more exciting posts to come soon, I can't tell you how happy I am to FINALLY get this show on the road!



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I appreciate your creativity, @eco-alex
@tipu curate

A huge hug from @amico! 🤗


Well you can certainly count me in for volunteering on the first eco-build and land plot purchase NO.3.

It will be nice to escape what I'll now call the hyper-craziness of modern society!

Repopulating an old village sounds very similar to this Portuguese Permaculture project I've come across. It burnt out (no pun intended) with the fires a while back. You'll never guess what it's called....

ooh bloody hell! checking that out!!! what do you know!

Not much, I did send a message but no reply, I think it's folded.

Some of the people who set it up were part of Radical Routes in the UK, which you may have heard of - a network of anarchist co-operatives, been going since the 1990s.

I think the fires may have put an end to it, but it looked amazing beforehand.

yes i had a look. damn shame.. they got hit hard!.. anther reason to decentralise the locations!

#solutions ❤❤❤ lots to take in and digest here. All the best in your plans Alex 🙏☀️☘

thank u ji! x

Love seeing this vision unfold - and you address an issue that had popped into my mind with the large group of people living all together on one piece of land and I really like this idea of micro villages especially if it breaths new life into existing villages! When we built our community (never did make it an official village but we had enough people to do that if the time came we wanted to) we each bought our own land and then there was community land that was donated with the community hall and such. That gave people the freedom to do what they wanted on their own land , then we built together on the community land. Looking forward to further updates!

So is this like recycling (or actually upcycling) entire villages? That's a mindblowing idea! Can't wait to see updates of these ideas put into practice, sounds very promising. Love and good vibes to see all this succeed!

thats EXACTLY it! you totally got it.. i nearly even used those words, but it sounds a bit weird to up-cycle a village... also its not in bad shape at all.. its just devoid of much life,.. which i also kind of like! Just really mellow old people sitting on benches here and there..

but yeah wow it makes SO much sense huh! School is ready and going, it just need better teachers for international children.. everything is there really that we need to get started.. and decentralising the land like this is just perfect really in SO many ways.. i could write a long list i think! thanks for the support! <3

Decentralization is a great goal to have. Appreciating the total shift to #hive as part of that. Your new visions are gonna need numbering soon so we can keep up... 🤣 2.0.4 or something. 🤣 just teasing

It will be interesting to see how Europe responds to crypto when this covid thing is done and fiat-based economies spiral logically down....

yeah its true.. there have been many iterations, but these are the biggest change that i have made so far. This whole approach makes everything SO much easier.. it just works with so little effort and community issues.. fully decentralized.. right down to that all important ownership! LoVin it, im all inspired and now we have land im fully on the case to launch our first workshop and build this year..