Richard Perkins 's Profile
Richard Perkins
Details
Joined:
04/02/2011
Last Updated:
14/02/2011
Location:
Karlstad, Sweden
Climate Zone:
Cold Temperate
Gender:
Male
Web site:
www.ridgedalepermaculture.com/





My Projects

(projects i'm involved in)

The Panya Project

The Panya Project

Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, TH


Projects

(projects i'm following)

Gaia University Zaytuna Farm, The home of the permaculture Research Institute   The Panya Project Gaia University Northeast Grasslands, LLC Dehesa Felix WeTheTrees Crowd Funding Platform ridgedale PERMACULTURE
Followers
Following
Adam Dusen Adam Wilson Albert Bates Andrew Langford Angus Soutar Annie Sloman Aranya Gardens Bethany Warren Bill Mollison Cecilia Ferté Chris Evans Christian Shearer Darren J.  Doherty David West Deano Martin Declan Kennedy Eliza Pearson Eric Toensmeier Ethan Roland Geoff Lawton geoffroy godeau George Sobol Graham Bell Graham Burnett Grifen Hope Hannes Dettmann Helder Valente Holly James Irma Kinga Allen Janta Wheelhouse Jessamy Roulston jesus sierra Leah Galvin Liora Adler Maddy Harland Malia Akutagawa Marco Da Silva marko anyfandakis Matthew Lynch Michelle Asher Morag Embleton Mustafa Fatih Bakir Nick Huggins Nick Ritar Nicole Vosper Ole Deschout Owen Hablutzel Pascal Depienne Pietro Zucchetti Rhamis Kent view all(59)

Back to Richard Perkins's profile

Lebensgarten, Resilience built on shadows of the past

Posted by Richard Perkins over 5 years ago

Reflections on community stability @ Lebensgarten, Germany. An inspiring early ecovillage renewing the site of a WW2 forced labour ammunitions camp www.impermanencefilm.org

Declan Kennedy, co-founder of Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), was kind enough to host us for a very comfortable stay at Lebensgarten in Steyerberg, Germany. The eco-village, now comprised of about 150 residents, began in the 70s after one family purchased the abandoned World War II underground ammunitions factory staff housing and central buildings. According to Declan, it was the presence of these dwelling places from the start which supported the growth of the community into a resilient eco-village. One of the factors which allowed the community to realize resilience was the fairly swift acquisition of residents, allowing the necessary critical mass to create stability amidst change and influx. Whereas the whole balance and dynamics of daily life were affected when a couple left a community of sixteen, once they reached a critical mass of 40 to 50 residents, diversity and resilience were established. This simultaneously outshined the tendency for there to be a sole leader figure, giving birth to their current culture of equality, inclusion and diversity. As opposed to communities under the guidance of one individual, the community wisdom was born of the collective wisdom of its residents. Early on, diversity in opinion led them into what has become a mainstay of the community, education in nonviolent communication and mediation. Christoff, one of the three founding members and the first to join the original owner in the emerging eco-village, shared that it was at this time that the School of Mediation and … was formed based on their lived experience at Lebensgarten and that this wisdom can now be traced in many current mediation programs in this region of the world. The school also inspired the formation of the educational foundation which is still operating today at Lebensgarten and meeting the income needs of 1/3 of the community who use the venue to share their skills and passions with the public and one another. This leads to the second strongpoint to which both Declan and Christoff have attributed success of the community: the principle of financial autonomy. Since its beginnings, each resident at Lebensgarten has been responsible to find his/her own niche and means of surviving and meeting basic needs. This, coupled with the necessity to personally undertake necessary building renovations from the start, naturally selected for individuals from a wide range of economic background who shared a willingness to engage with and take responsibility for one's life. Historically, there have not been any payroll jobs created by the eco-village, rather individuals have created jobs for themselves as consultants and received payment for their contracted services via the foundation. This ensured each individual was intimately engaged with his or her own needs and budget requirements and avoided the societal norm of fulfilling meanial tasks without thought or reason. The autonomy of residents is similarly reflected in the policy that each individual member is responsible for his / her own membership fees rather than identifying families as units. This touches on the value the eco-village upholds for autonomy and equality. In fact, in the early days, residents agreed to pay one another double what they would someone from outside the community for their services simply to support and value the work of one another. This strategic move encouraged and allowed individuals finding their way in new professions and skilled labour to survive and thrive in the community. Later in its more established years, the community offered subsidy to a group of individuals caretaking the organic vegetable growing, as their income was low compared to the other residents, as a reflection of their true value for this resource. As time has gone by and founding residents and their children have grown older, a desire for more diversity in age emerged. For the first time, Lebensgarten put out a call for new residents, targeting young families. In the past few years, a number of young families have moved into the well-established eco-village, creating a bit of a rippple in the settled flow of life and events and modes of operation. In order to support newcomers, there is a system in place which allows each new member a probation period during which they are mentored by a long-term resident and encouraged to participate through observation, primarily, of the community in action. This is to safeguard a tendency for new ideas to come and go with individuals who end up staying only a short time, leaving some well-established system standing on its head. And to support a respect for the existing culture arrived at through much collective trials and experience. Nevertheless, the younger generation, represented in an interview with Mackenzie, a resident for the past 3.5 years, shared about the challenge of finding one's way in such a well-established system where not only obvious roles, but also physical space are limited. The community elders with whom we spoke acknowledged this apparent obstacle and, simultaneously, the reality of these challenges and others experienced and overcome by the community since conception. In fact, Chrisoff shared his observation of the younger generation confronting many of the same exact sticking points experienced by the elder community members at an earlier point in time. And that, whilst we all wish we could infuse our learned wisdom into another person or group of people, it is only through lived experience that growth and learning occurs. So, at least some of the elders accept their role to step back and let the younger wave of residents address and express themselves and their concerns. Mackenzie also spoke poignantly about the deep authenticity and personal empowerment to take responsibility for oneself which is effortlessly supported at Lebensgarten. It seems this important strength is intimately connected with one of the fouding principles of Lebensgarten...active tolerance. Christoff described active tolerance as each individual's commitment to allow others to get on with whatever they are getting on with...with complete trust and confidence that what they are doing is beneficial. Mackenzie echoed this principle when he shared how he feels supported in the eco-village to take responsibility for his personal differences and the overarching desire to be in relationship with every community member. To me, this gift feels precious. As does the support for each individual to stay engaged with his / her livelihood. I see a community of human beings in all their diversity.

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to comment.

My Badges
Consultant Aid worker PRI PDC Teacher
My Permaculture Qualifications
Other course verified
RegenAG
Type: Other
Teacher: Darren J. Doherty
Location: Cowdray Hall, UK
Date: Nov 2011
Other course verified
Diploma in Applied PC Design
Type: Permaculture Diploma
Teacher: Rod Everett
Location: UK
Date: Aug 2008
Other course unverified
MSc IESD
Type: Gaia University
Teacher: Andrew Langford
Location: California
Date: Sep 2009
Verified
Full PDC
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Teacher: Rod Everett
Location: Isle of Man
Date: Aug 2006
Other course unverified
Gaia EDE
Type: Other
Teacher: Pracha Hutanuwatr
Location: Wongsanit Ashram, BKK
Date: Jan 2009
57 PDC Graduates (list)
32 PRI PDC Graduates (list)
52 Other Course Graduates (list)
have acknowledged being taught by Richard Perkins
2 have not yet been verified (list)
Climate Zones
Richard Perkins has permaculture experience in:
Polar
Alpine
Cold Temperate
Cool Temperate
Warm Temperate
Mediterranean
Island
Sub tropical
Wet/Dry Tropical
Wet Tropical
Arid
Semi Arid

Report Richard Perkins

Reason:

or cancel

Hide Richard Perkins

Reason:

or cancel

Hide Lebensgarten, Resilience built on shadows of the past

Reason:

or cancel

Report Lebensgarten, Resilience built on shadows of the past

Reason:

or cancel