What’s new in community life?

Change is afoot with the imminent move into our new kitchen and office space. Helping us to celebrate our house-warming will be several new additions to the team – which is a good job, since the 4000kg of potatoes that came out of our fields this year will take some eating!

The re-building of Cal Victor began over a decade ago, when Guhyapati first arrived here. At that time a small part of the ruin was patched up to function as a make-shift kitchen. It was a small space, only closed in on three sides, which has at times over the last six years housed groups of up to 17 shivering people meeting for check-ins and meals. Fond memories! It’s not without some wistfulness that we leave behind the days of frozen-together mugs and solid olive oil to commence life in the newly renovated kitchen. It is the culmination of a building project that’s been ticking along for three years with the help of heaps of wonderful people: builders and volunteers on site, people behind the scenes, as well as generous financial contributions. Massive amounts of gratitude to all.

It’s hard to fathom what a difference it will make to the quality of life and cohesion here, to have a central hearth for the community to call home – a brand new kitchen/dining room and a lovely new open-plan office, with decent heating and energy reserves. It’s been a long time coming, and we look forward to sharing it with old friends and new in the coming years.

It’s completion marks the timely arrival of several new team members. Lindsay Alderton has been a friend of the project for a few years now, participating and co-facilitating in courses here, engineering the Action from Depth collaboration between Ecodharma and Gaia House’s Rob Burbea, as well as lots of fantastic work in the social change sector (a key coordinator of Dharma Action Network for Climate Engagement among many other things).

Lindsay will work alongside Ella Moore to coordinate an exciting new strand of the project – developing a platform of trainings supporting and sustaining of social movements across Europe. That project is set to kick-off properly in 2017 and Lindsay and Ella will be preparing the ground for that.

Ella was one of the original Ecodharma community members. Several years ago she moved to the village below as she prioritized bringing up her two children and establishing a thriving refuge and guiding business for climbers along with her husband Nicholas Durand. We are delighted that she plans to return to work full-time with us from next year.

We are also delighted that the talented Rupert Marques will be joining us as food garden manager and to contribute to the nature-based facilitation team. He has been the garden coordinator at Gaia House for several years and brings with him a wealth of experience as a wilderness educator. We are delighted to be afforded the opportunity to explore what will hopefully be a long and fruitful collaborative relationship with someone who so closely shares our values and vision.

And last but not least, James Curry, who has been living and working at Sunseed in the south of Spain for the last seven years, where he has built up a wealth of experience with renewable energy systems. He will join us in January to trial as our new Maintenance and Construction Coordinator.

In other news, despite a major focus on getting the building work done, Martin has still managed to arrange the plowing, planting and harvesting of a mountainous quantity of potatoes in the fields around Cal Toha. This is a big step forwards in the long term project to develop field scale cultivation. We are doing our best at consumption – we have even seen potato appearances in our bread! – and are sharing the glut amongst many lovely friends in the local area. Hopefully this is an exciting indication of things to come, as the permaculture design plan unfolds.

So, we are entering into the winter months with a warm house, good friends, and plenty of hardy veg to fill our bellies. There are some big developments for the project in the coming year, but first we are enjoying the quietness of the season as many of our wonderful volunteer community depart and we move towards our two months of planning and retreat. No doubt we will find ourselves gathered round the wood-burner eating potato soup in the weeks to come, wondering how we managed for so long without running water in the kitchen or heating in the office. Respect and thanks to the hardy crew who have worked through the year(s) with us and (for the most part) with a smile. We couldn’t have done it without you!

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