Monique Wijn

Ecovillage Sieben Linden

Our host: Ecovillage Sieben Linden

For the 3rd Future of Food meeting the FOF members went to Germany to visit ecovillage Sieben Linden. Situated about 200 km west of Berlin in a region that once was part of the former German Democratic Republic, a new village was built from scratch completely out of natural materials. It is  now considered an internationally acclaimed model sustainability centre with visitors all year long and one of the major ecovillages in Europe.

As the story goes, the permission received by the initiator group in 1997 to build an entirely new village in Germany was close to a political miracle. The idea for the project  goes further back in time when a Berlin based core group was born that started to build plans in 1989 for creating an “autonomous, ecological village”. Due to the unification of the two Germanies in that same year, new opportunities arose to buy a property with the desired size. Near the former border between East and West such properties existed but it lasted until 1997 when 22 ha of land were bought and the first settlers moved in.

Since then much has changed. The pioneer group of twenty persons has grown to around 140 residents. The first persons born in the village have by now grown up. By subsequent acquisitions of land, the total area of the community owned property has grown to 80 ha, of which 45 ha forest and 8 ha at which building is allowed. When walking around still see the famous Bauwagen (wagons on wheels) that were used for living by the settlers, now standing next to a series of modern, energy-efficient houses all built out of natural materials. Sieben Linden is renowned for its straw bale housing and boosts a three storey straw bale apartment building unique in Europe. The former farm house has been transformed into a community centre and hosts an international educational institution. All the infrastructure (roads, wells, electricity, telephone etc. ) have been created by the settlers themselves.

Food production

Growing your own food was important right from the project inception back in 1989. The poor soil that the settlers found has been transformed by years of care and turned into beautiful gardens. The relation to the surrounding landscape has been recovere. Nowadays a small team of gardeners employed by the community makes sure that a lot of good quality food is available for the inhabitants and guest all year round.

If you want to know how it feels like to walk through a human settlement completely designed by ecological principles, go to Sieben Linden, it is definitely worth a visit.

http://www.siebenlinden.de/

 

This entry was posted in 4th Meeting, Dutch Partner, Growing & Collecting on by .
Monique Wijn

About Monique Wijn

Monique is fascinated with food since a long time. She studied biology and became a vegetarian. Food was her main topic, along with environmental health and complementary medicine. She created educational materials for school children and for analphabetic mediterranean women. In the ninetees she leaded a green consumer organisation raising awareness on the ecological and social impacts of food production. She leaded campaigns on the risk of genetic engineering and radiation of food; on the impact of global transport of food; on agri-biodiversity and on oestrogenes in food. Since 12 years she is a gardener in edible wild plants and a seedsaver, after studying biodynamic agriculture, permaculture and agroforestry. She has a diet of mostly raw, vegan and wild plants. She wants to explore the relation of food and health on all four dimensions (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and the relation of food and consciousness. For her, healthy food is only truly healthy if it is at the same time healthy for plants, animals and the planet. Recently she is involved in the transition movement: how local food production and urban gardening can contribute in creating sustainable and resilient communities. website: www.degodin.nl. Blog: http://degodin.wordpress.com/

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