About ecocommunity trends in the world and the Findhorn Foundation.
It is clear that various eco-communities are beginning to find their place in modern society. About 6,000 different eco-communities in 149 countries of the world are registered in the global network of communities.
So we, representatives of the Kalnuote community, Living Planet and LEA (3 people in total), decided to look at how it is happening in the world, in other countries, to gain experience, to share our own, and under the Erasmus+ project “Courses for developing communities” we went to the Findhorn community, one of the oldest in Europe, existing for 57 years. By the way, when we arrived, we realized that we are among the lucky ones who already have a community – the vast majority of those who come here are still looking for it.
What is the community of Findhorn?
This community is international, the population is about 300-400, it is possible to meet people born not only in various European countries, but also in Africa, America, Japan, Brazil or Canada. People come – and not just once – for a week, a month, several, or even a year. They are travelers, brave people, interested in spiritual life, alternative, non-traditional medicine, looking for something more than the old world system. You can meet real old-timers who have been in the community for forty years, and those who have only been here for a few weeks or months. People come both individually and with families.
There is also a school in the community, in the forest. They say that the tendency is that people “grow up” here and leave for the wider world again, they say that often the youth of the old residents do not stay, but a settlement of young people, tired of the pace of the cities and the inharmonious lifestyle, is also being created here. change.
Housing and conditions
Upon arrival, we immediately inspected the settlement. The houses are diverse, it seems that there is no general concept: they are built as they can, the houses are diverse – wooden, frame, plastered with clay, variously creatively decorated, decorated, somewhat more luxurious and quite simple, there are also newer ones, surrounded by solar panels, and so-called the town of “wagons”-trailers, which is currently being transformed according to the project, because it is not ecological. The place is amazing – a strip of pine forest separates the settlement from the dunes and the North Sea.
What are the accommodation options?
The first step is the “experiential week” program and various other trainings, courses, volunteering. You can be a member of the community or not, a member of the community can live in the town, nearby, you can only work in the community, you can only live and work elsewhere. There are also many people helping the community who once visited but now live elsewhere. So the community is not quite a place. It’s more about people. The diversity is huge, which is probably why we felt a huge mix of energies in the beginning. We asked about habits. There are a few smokers out of several hundred who live here, and people drink a glass of wine or beer sometimes, but as mentioned, when practicing spiritual practices, it gradually leaves their lives. Among the newcomers who participated in the first week, smoking was seen, and after the course week ended – the participants could bring wine to the celebratory dinner.
Management structure, income
As far as we know, there is a manager and six councilors, divided into responsibilities (e.g. real estate, etc.), as well as several departments: guests, public relations, education, fundraising, technical department, catering, maintenance of common areas, etc. We also heard about the collective consciousness of the group, when solutions are sought in such a way that they are acceptable to the majority of the community, so that it does not happen that one part of it goes one way and another goes the other. Organic changes in the community happen all the time.
About 80 percent income comes from the seminars-training for guests. By the way, during the season, 80 percent of the vegetables are grown on the local farm, the rest are bought centrally from the surrounding farms, and the kitchen (vegetarian, vegan food, fish once a week) is visited by about 3,500 people a year. There is also a cafe where you can find wine and beer and a shop where you can find books, ceramics, incense etc. Businesses are created both by the community and by those who live in the community.
Work in the community
As far as we know, the community has created about 120 jobs – in the kitchen, gardens, housekeeping, guest department, management, etc. The salary is paid in local money(!)…
You can also come to volunteer – in exchange you get food, live, for example, in tents in the forest or in the nearest town. By the way, as I understood, there is a shortage of places to live during the warm season, some employees receive additional money to pay for housing rent in the neighboring town. The tendency is that newer ones stay in the community, while those who have lived longer rent an apartment further away.