Over the hills, through the woods, and at the end of a dead-end road; that’s where you’ll find the little Hamlet of Bouzov Svojanov; a 600 year old village with a present-day population of only 20 people.
It is also here that you will find our ecovillage initiative where we seek to create a model for rural sustainability and in doing so seek to return life to a village almost abandoned by the modern migration to the city.
PermaLot was established as a Czech civic association in the year 2000. So far we have purchased 10,5 hectares of forest, meadows, fields and orchards which we are converting to certified organic and managing following permaculture principles.
We are also working on acquiring a large rustic hostel for Permalot, however, for the summer of 2002 our activities will be centered around a camp in the old berry orchard which will serve as a demonstration of natural building techniques. The camp will consist of shelters made from wooden pyramids suspended between berry trees and an outdoor kitchen providing daily vegetarian meals made from local organic produce. The view from the camp has often been compared to a movie ‘back-drop’, with an unobscured view of Bouzov castle on the adjacent hill….
But all of this you can read more about in the other folders… We save this folder for the more boring formal stuff, which never the less is the essentials of PermaLot, the glue which makes the whole thing stick together…
First and foremost we have our mission statement which all of our decisions have to adhere to: PermaLot’s Mission Statement
PermaLot seek to recreate the sustainability of an existing traditional rural village, (Svojanov), by facilitating an alternative economic base for the area while providing a living example of sustainable living, natural building, alternative energy and waste management; an Ecovillage.
This vision is based on the following core elements:
- To stimulate the final processing of local products within the microregion
- To facilitate alternative education, with an emphasis on the environment and language
- Low impact Ecotourism
- The following Permaculture elements will be used as a guide:
- Create systems that produce more than they use.
- Work with nature, not against it.
- Cooperation rather than competition.
“An Ecovillage is an urban or rural community whose members try to provide a high quality lifestyle without taking more from the Earth than they give back. Ecovillages attempt to integrate a supportive social environment with a low-impact way of life. To achieve these aims, Ecovillages typically build on various combinations of three dimensions: Community, ecology and spirituality.” (The Global Ecovillage Network)PermaLot was officially incorporated as a Czech civil association in September 2000. PermaLot has acquired 10 hectares and is in the process of converting 8,5 hectares to organic management. PermaLot has been official accredited as a land trust in accordance with CSOP’s programme.We envision that the community will be centered around acting locally and thinking globally. In doing so the project will seek to be an example of the Agenda 21 visionThe vision can roughly be broken into 5 independent elements: 1. The Field of Dreams
2. Income Generators
3. The Land Trust
4. Co-operation with the existing community
5. The Eco Village
The 5 Elements:
1) The Field of Dreams: We are currently in process of rezoning our 6,5 hectare orchard in to an area for “Muti-purpose farming” (An official name which sounds like permaculture to !?). It should include an area where we’ll be abe to build around 5 small cabins (Read more under “The BeanHouse”). It is to be owned and managed by “PermaLot”.
We envision this to be the initial heart of the Ecovillage. The construction of cabins on the field will be governed by a set of ecological building codes as put forth by the bylaws of “PermaLot”.
The ‘field of cabins’ is intended to be a model of self-sustainability in terms of materials, energy and waste, including the wastewater, which will be rinsed through a reed bed system. The cabins will be made of local materials, without heavy equipment. All the cabins will be able to draw upon the facilities of the Cider House, and thus be able to be quite small.
2) Income Generators:
- The Cider House: In order to facilitate a local income for the participants we visualize a series of ‘cottage industries’: The center hopefully being in an old farm which has been utilized as a rustic hostel for 32 guests in 7 different rooms of various sizes. The farm is on our property, however we need about 30.000 euro to buy the building. The farm also contains an apartment and a quaint courtyard. It is in need of a new approved kitchen, a new central heating system, and an overall facelift. Ideally the one room apartment would be converted into an office and a new larger apartment and dormitory could be built in an upstairs attic space.The farm will be a means of income through eco-tourism, with an emphasis on school classes from abroad. It will also be able to function as the central hub for many of the planned activities, accommodate workshops and courses and facilitate communal meals. Furthermore it will house a wood shop and the initial garden.Our vision is that the ecotourists who arrive here will find themselves in a retreat-like atmosphere, where they can relax and enjoy the offers of: massage, aroma therapy, meditation- and yoga classes, etc. …On the other hand they may choose an array of active sports: Mountain biking, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking or try out the rope course, with leaders trained in team building.Maybe some of the present villagers would demonstrate some of their crafts and traditional skills.Naturally much of the focus will be on the nearby Bouzov (where we hope we can be allowed to lead tours in English and Danish.), the cave systems, the river and the forest, along with day trips to Olomouc. It is a possibility that in the near future a ‘medieval village’ will be opened in the vicinity. Read more in “The Ciderhouse”
- The Orchard: PermaLot owns a large apple orchard situated between the above mentioned meadow and farm. We envision that products (dried apple slices, apple jam, etc.) could be produced from the apples locally instead of sending them out of the area, thus keeping more of the profit in the area. The kitchen in the farm will serve as the approved facility for the production when not in use by groups. Throughout the year the apple trees have to be tended, pruned etc. which will incorporate the local labor force into the PermaLot project. The orchard and surrounding land is currently in process of being approved for organic production.This process will last until December 2004, at which time the layout of the orchard will have changed tremendously due to the implementation of permaculture techniques.
- The School of sustainable living: As outlined in:”1) The Fields of Dreams” a focus will be on teaching sustainable building and living techniques, often in line with traditional Czech skills.
A possible venture is the installment of a rope course in the forest owned by PermaLot. Together with the surrounding nature this could be utilized to teach team/self confidence building for corporations as well as troubled youth. A good additional offer to the groups staying in the Cider House.
3) The Land Trust.
All the property of PermaLot is certified as a land trust. We intend to gradually change the existing non-native plants and trees to native species, thus creating small pockets of natural habitat for the wildlife and for educational purposes. We offer to manage and maintain the area in accordance with international guidelines for Permaculture forestry and nature sanctuary. We envision a co-operation with the Department of Ecology, (University of Olomouc), hnuti DUHA and hnuti Brontosaurus in order to carry out this task.
The forest will serve as a healthy habitat for animals and birds. Simultaneously the forest could host a ‘rope-course’ for leadership/teambuilding courses.
4) Co-operation with the local community.
In all of the above the main focus is to use local materials and labor when appropriate. It will always be a focus to produce and process the main part of what is needed for this development locally, to keep the money in circulation in the region. This will be facilitated by an initial analysis of goods and services within the micro region, as well as emphasizing using alternative technologies for transport, heating, construction, gardening and forestry.
Throughout the growth of PermaLot there’ll be an emphasis on public input from the locals and systems to disperse information. We intend to be actively involved in arranging the various traditional celebrations throughout the year. The village tennis court, (part of the land trust) will be open for public use and a couple of pieces of land (total of 1 hectare) adjacent to other houses was sold to the real users.
Part of the plans for the new community entails the possibility to buy bulk (organic) food from wholesale distributors. This food will also be made available for the villagers at cost price, possibly even through a barter system supplying eggs, milk etc. to the Cider House kitchen.
5) The Eco Village.
When the above has proved successful, the fundamentals of an Eco Village has been created. The central theme for the participants will have to be the social factor, which will be secured through mechanisms (such as the Forum) adapted from existing old eco villages/ communities.
We are in contact with many other eco villages through our position as national coordiantors of the Global Ecovillage Network in order to learn and exchange experiences and support.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe/David Brower
Permalot’s site: https://www.permalot.org.