Frequently Asked Questions
Who is behind the project?
Currently, the project is backed by a growing group of conscious volunteers who are not indifferent to interpersonal relationships and care for our planet Earth and perceive the need to change not only themselves but also the existing economic and monetary system to support regional development, local communities and regeneration of our vital ecosystems
And what about the land?
We managed to acquire a plot of land in Pěčkovice near Karlovy Vary.
We were looking for a suitable land for a couple of years based on the following criteria.
We were looking for an integrated plot of min. 24 ha with an active water source (stream, spring, pond), possibility of partial fencing and construction / reconstruction, without HV wires, motorways, airports, producers of pollutants and chemical pollution. Electricity should be within reach, the possibility of farming within 1 year, the access road and ideally accessibility within 1 hour from Prague, because we also want to be part of the overall transformation, which should be supported by the state. We have an agreement that each member will pay an entry fee of 300 thousand CZK and then through the company, which will probably be a cooperative, we will buy the land.
We are also looking for donors and philanthropists who want to support the initial 6-year phase of launch and development of a full-fledged Czech ecovillage serving as a real demonstration of sustainable inspiration, educational practical demonstration center for villages and cities and the general public and support of our story on transition to sustainable and regenerating future.
What do you need to implement this plan?
The key is to accept new members and to establish cooperation with experts who resonate with this project, are experts in one of the above listed areas, have a holistic view of the world and actively want to participate in the implementation.
Specifically, it is about strengthening our team by:
marketing and PR experts for the ecovillage awareness campaign
translators from English into Czech and language proofreading and editing of the concept of the ecovillage
contacts to employees of universities, research centers and specialized workplaces focusing on above-mentioned topics
community skills guide (non-violent communication, sociocracy, conflict resolution, community projects and teamwork)
IT specialists (creation and administration of websites and social media, internal system of agreements, selection, setup and administration of software for local currency)
holistic lawyers and tax specialists for completing the selection of legal entities ecovillage, preparation and establishment of legal entities, contracts and the introduction of local currency
accountants for individual legal entities of the ecovillage
economists to complete the economic model of the ecovillage, calculate costs and membership fees and introduce the local currency
specialists for the introduction of solidarity and circular economy and the calculation of the ecological footprint of the ecovillage
fundraisers to ensure the financing of infrastructure projects and the initial phase of the ecovillage
experts in permaculture design of villages or larger units
gardeners for permaculture growing of fruit, vegetables and animal husbandry
builders for natural buildings, root wastewater treatment plants, composting toilets, aquaponic systems
guide to conscious education for children (home kindergarten and primary school)
negotiators for official permits, building permits, or. change of the zoning plan
community chef, meeting organizer, new member admission coordinator, ecovillage agreement manager, etc.
What is the main difference between ecovillage and ordinary village?
We can perceive the ecovillage as the coexistence of people who have a common intention to live in harmony with nature and others, to live sustainably in the social, ecological and economic spheres and at the same time to be an inspiration for others around. The content of the course I completed is exactly three basic areas of sustainability as well as a holistic perception of the world.
As far as social sustainability is concerned, it is not very well established in the Czech Republic. It should be based on empathic communication, group decision-making, conflict resolution or community projects. So far, there is no comprehensive program or direction in our country that would go this way, but it is gradually beginning to appear. On the other hand, the ecological part is already quite visible, whether it is the germs of natural construction or various realizations of renewable energy sources or projects in permaculture at the level of individual housing.
The last economic dimension can be built on a solidarity economy that connects production and labor, but also consumption, as well as investment in a closed cycle. If supported by the local currency, this economic cycle can have a significant impact on regional development. Last but not least, there is also an effort to reach a waste-free ecovillage.
What will the ecovillage look like?
In its center, we plan common shared buildings for relaxation, meals, as well as a children's corner, a library, a relaxation room and work spaces and workshops. The ecovillage design itself will have various zones from common, such as playgrounds, natural swimming pools, kindergarten and school facilities, permaculture agriculture, outdoor kitchens, herb fields for natural medicine or a theater, to private ones, in which there will be houses with a small garden or quiet resting meditation places in the forest or wilderness.
The ecovillage will also include the partial provision of work positions, mainly part-time, as well as spaces for teleworking or experimental sites for applied research realized with universities and research institutes. On the basis of real examples, it will be possible to subsequently build, for example, a larger educational center for the general public, which will be separate from the ecovillage itself. Here we get inspiration from already developed foreign ecovillages.
Will the ecovillage be able to provide for all human needs?
Our ecovillage will focus only on providing basic human needs. In time, we would like to achieve regional self-sufficiency. We focus on ensuring healthy food without chemicals and GMOs thanks to permaculture agriculture, joint storage and the possibility of joint cooking. We also want to ensure sustainable natural living, energy from renewable sources, drinking and utility water thanks to permaculture design and maximum water retention in nature, as well as conscious education of children and personal and spiritual development.
In our view, the ecovillage is only a stepping stone to creating regional sustainability, but above all to regional adaptability to climate change. Regional sustainability in basic human needs is strengthened by the creation of a local currency for members of the ecovillage, its community and also the near and distant surroundings within the region. Our goal is not to build a fully self-sufficient ecovillage, but to work together within the region and, through strong connections, spread trust and courage among people to gradually transform surrounding communities into more sustainable and regenerating places to live in harmony with nature and other beings of the planet.
What stage of creation are you in now?
The key to building an ecovillage is not so much the land and buildings as the community. It's a bit like a marriage. You also don't go to buy an apartment together right away, but first you have to get to know each other. And at that stage we are now. We are gradually creating working groups focused on education, economics, technology, construction, education and more. We create new website, move to G-suites to improve communication and sharing, discuss the division of responsibilities between communities and between individuals and the economic model and business plan, start preparing to create the first mobile homes and form the foundations of a conscious education system and our local currency. It's really very interesting.
How many people are currently in your community?
We have three types of membership - tribal, there are three of us now, then there are waiters, there are now about twenty of them, and the last group are supporters, there are about thirty-five of them. The age composition is quite heterogeneous, the goal is not to build a one-generation, but rather a diverse group. Interestingly, very often it is young families who are beginning to think about how to live sustainably. That is our core.
For how many people should an ecovillage be?
The preparatory zero phase of the establishment of the ecovillage aims to create a membership base of 100-150 members (tribal and waiting - they intend to live in the ecovillage) and 100+ supporters, so that we have a strong enough base and financial strength to buy land. A holistic view of the world, our values and principles, and completion of basic community skills courses are one of the criteria for accepting a waiting member as a tribal member who has full voting rights in the ecovillage. In the first phase of building the ecovillage directly on the land, we expect 20-30 tribal members, who will be part of the team of physical implementation of the ecovillage from the very beginning. The ecovillage proposal envisages a target number of 100-150 members with children as permanent residents and additional capacities for volunteers and visitors to the ecovillage and course participants. The goal is a multifaceted ecovillage, where different generations will be represented, from children of different ages, youth, adults to the council of the elderly, families and individuals.
Who can live in such an ecovillage?
Permanent housing will be here for tribal members and their children, who are financially interested and also have the right to vote and decide about the functioning and further direction of the ecovillage. Temporary housing will be possible for waiting members and supporters, as well as visitors, volunteers and other interested persons. We also plan to have space for caravans and a tent town as temporary housing. Visitors and residents will be asked upon arrival to respect private and common areas and follow the basic rules of the ecovillage.
Is there any community thinking, common faith or something like that?
Our agreed common values, visions and missions based on a holistic perception of the world are a fundamental unifying pillar of the community ecovillage. At the same time, we give space for spiritual development - spirituality - expansion of holistic perception of the world - awareness of the essence - consciousness. We support common rituals based on the wisdom and spiritual values of our ancestors as well as space for those interested in common meditation. We provide children with a general overview of various religious trends. We are open to any religion and its practice as long as it is in accordance with our principles and values.
Who decides on the project?
The so-called Great Circle, which is composed of virtually all members, but there are significant differences by membership. Core members has the right to vote, to participate in decisions and to be elected. Waiting members have the opportunity to express their opinions, both during the drafting of proposals and during the voting. As a result, one can see how they will fit into the group as future core members. Supporter members have the opportunity to get involved in the proposals. The Great Circle then decides by consent, which means that if no legitimate objection is raised, the proposal is accepted.
How does the local currency work?
It is just a supplement to our common Czech currency. The local currency can be obtained either for the work done or by a unilateral exchange for Czech crowns. We will open this second option to smaller investors, who will be able to support us financially and at the same time get their investment paid in the future in the form of our future products and services. This allows us to raise funds at the beginning and at the same time gain our customers in the future.
At present, we are all volunteers and each of us has an account where our hours are converted into our currency using four rates. Of course, this currency can only be spent locally, so one automatically becomes a customer of the ecovillage. At present, we have the opportunity to draw "lilies of the valley" in the form of discounts on our internal courses. In the future, we assume that part of the income from work performed will be paid in local currency and part in Czech crowns. We will then be able to pay with local currency for agricultural production, the possibility of eating together, internal repairs, educational courses or education for children or mutual assistance. This type of local currency operates in some ecovillages and is gradually spreading due to trust in the surrounding regions. From the point of view of taxes, taxable income in local currency is then converted into crowns and further worked in accordance with applicable laws.
What about private property? Will it be like "everything belongs to everyone"?
We are not completely moving towards this model, but the costs of meals and housing will be shared. This means that we will move, for example, to centralized catering, which will be supplied through centralized purchasing and also from our common farm. Thanks to the fact that other things, such as internet connection or energy, we will buy in bulk, we will be able to go at wholesale prices, which are not available for normal households. At the same time, we will move the family administration with the payment of bills and negotiations with suppliers to the level of the ecovillage.
And as for ownership, the individual tribal members will have their shares in the individual cooperatives within our ecovillage. From a legal point of view, it is exactly the same as an entry in the title deed. Land, some common areas and infrastructure will be provided through the initial membership fee, but also through investors or donors, or if possible through some subsidies. A regular member may have deposits in cooperatives, for example, for the joint use of land and shared premises. A contribution to private land and construction is also planned. It is basically similar to housing cooperatives, which have been practiced in the Czech Republic for a long time. And when leaving the ecovillage, he will subsequently be paid a deposit reduced by administrative fees. We are still discussing whether inflation or the market value of real estate will be taken into account in the paid-out shares. Thanks to cooperative ownership, we will be able to preserve and expand the idea of an ecovillage even in the event of members leaving. We do not currently consider the possibility of personal ownership.
Having your own education, farming and lifestyle gives the impression that you want to separate a little from society. How important will cooperation with the outside world be for you?
We definitely want to work together as much as possible. The connection can be, for example, at the level of organizing various educational festivals or social events, which we already participate in. It can also be at an economic level, where we will be able to supply some food or services to the region, for example. And we, on the other hand, use "outside" agriculture or expertise in crafts, knowledge and skills. And at the ecological level, we can help ourselves to various changes, both in negotiations with the councils of the surrounding cities and the general public.
We are currently in contact with major universities such as Czech Technical University, Charles University or University of Chemistry and Technology and we cooperate with various organizations and experts both in the world and in Czechia. These include, for example, the World Network of Ecovillages, Ecoliga, Bioregional UK, Permakultura CS and others.
It often happens in the world that when the ecovillage begins to expand, it gradually begins to spread its ideas, helps within the region and in other cities and tries to move towards greater harmony with nature and people, and becomes an inspiration for others. At the same time, for example, the Findhorn ecovillage in Scotland or the Damanhur Federation in Italy are so interconnected with the surroundings that it is no longer possible to determine their exact boundaries, and they are beginning to transform the whole region, which is also our goal.