One family’s attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way
In July 2014 we had a crowdfunding campaign which unfortunately didn't reach its target. As a result of it though we gained a lot more exposure for what we're doing here and many many supporters for which we're very grateful. Many said they would still love to donate, so for all those wonderful people and for those who come after, this page provides a means of doing so!
For the previous 4 years I’d helped support the growing off-grid community here by giving part-time work to local engineers, trades and crafts people. In this way, the project has been able to fund both its own development and help the emerging community through these crucial early stages, ie. most of the money invested in the project has been invested in sustainable development twice over, doubling its impact.
I wanted to continue to do this, but no longer have the personal financial resources.
This video tells you all about it ...
The help asked for was to complete the communal building here. Almost
all materials are already onsite so donations will go mostly towards
paying other members of the off-grid community here to come and
help, so consequently will also support their own projects.
At the moment, we can only accommodate a very limited number of visitors/ volunteers/interns at any one time and we have no facilities for running workshops and courses. Once we've completed the communal building (kitchen, grey water-processing greenhouse, store room, library and social/classroom space) all that will change. The building will be the hub of the quinta's activities for interns and volunteers, and an educational facility for workshops and courses in natural building, permaculture, rural crafts and off-grid infrastructure and technology, with particular focus on the latter.
The building will also exemplify some of the systems we've developed for cooking, heating, waste processing and power generation. The emphasis is on simple technology that's easy to reproduce; solid, practical systems made from low-cost, recycled and scavenged materials (or local and natural ones) and based mostly on open source or original design. Working examples are the best teaching tools and advertisement for themselves. They're also an opportunity to collect data that demonstrates their practical efficiency.
The work involved in constructing and testing this technology (some, like the hydro electrical generation system, built from scratch) has also opened up the possibility of future self-employment for team members. This is crucially important given the state of the Portuguese economy. None of us want to be taking local jobs from the people who need them. We want to create new opportunities which remain true to our regenerative and sustainable ethos, and help others make the transition to this lifestyle in the process. For the community to be truly sustainable in all senses of the word, this needs to happen.
We already plan to offer short stay immersion courses in the basics of off grid living just as soon as the accommodation is finished.
With the communal building completed, we will be able to take our work to the next level and involve larger numbers of people. Some of the workshops and courses we’ll likely be offering include -
Many of the people who've worked here are available to help people new to the area, whether that involves installing a solar system, building water storage tanks, devising sewerage solutions, helping out on building projects, developing a permaculture design for effective land use, or just offering advice.
The off-grid community here is the default kind of community - unintentional, haphazard, diverse. People arrive here having followed their own paths and ideals to their own properties. So we have no dogma or shared aims other than to live in a more planet-friendly way.
We’ve come from all over the world, mostly Europe and many from the UK, and there's a wide range of ages. There are many Portuguese too. It’s a truly international community. We come here because land is available and affordable in a way it isn’t in any of the places we’ve come from. Most of us aren’t rich so we’re evolving many ways to help and support each other and the local people here. We exchange goods, labour, skills, services, techniques, plants and seeds, music, knowledge, enthusiasm and (mostly) good humour. We try to reconcile the differences of opinion and outlook that diversity brings, but generally recognise that diversity is the signature of a robust and resilient ecosystem. I could say we're pretty much like community anywhere, but that seems to be becoming something of a rarity in many places.
We also help ourselves through collaborative self-education, raising the capabilities and options available to the whole community as we increase our levels of self-sufficiency. The quinta’s communal building will also be available for community use to pass on knowledge, specialised trades, and rural crafts.
If you would like to contribute to the continuing development of the project and indirectly to the community here, all donations are very gratefully received. You can donate any amount you want via PayPal using this button.
If you'd like to support us with more practical hands-on help, then come and work with us!
Funds raised since July 30 2014 ...