The first wild greens are poking through! These last weeks, ramson, ground elder, nettles and many others have been busy covering the land with her spring jacket.
Walking around and picking these fresh and healthy goodies is a great source of seasonal joy for Suderbynians. A bit before our own garden starts to give its first real harvests, Nature's supermarket opened its doors and provided for us. (When you have to work to get your own food growing, it is easy to appreciate something tasty that grows on its own and that you just need to pick!)
But it's not only that we appreciate the amazing healthiness, the colors and flavors of the wild greens in our soups, spreads and teas.. They are also a reminder of our need to connect with the wild, to be in it, to be it.
Picking wild plants forces you to know and understand them, their landscape, their ecosystem (mistakes can be deadly!) and eventually reintegrate ourselves in the Natural world. Foraging is an amazing platform to reconnect with the nature in ourselves and realize how much we need to become natural beings again.
When you think about it, it is actually a pretty clever design trick from Mother Nature to include a bait in the landscape. To encourage humans to wander in the woods and in the plains, just to get them to wonder in awe at the perfection of such a creation.
Thanks JingwenYao Art for capturing this beautiful moment! ❤️
In Suderbyn, we only use compost toilets. Three weeks ago, our middle latrine compost box finished its decomposition process of roughly 12 months. During this period, various microorganisms and bugs actively ate, pooped, reproduced and died, turning human feaeces, leaves, sawdust and toilet paper into a well balanced rich compost!
The pile heated up to 55-60 degrees, at which dangerous bacteria such as Ecoli and Salmonella get killed.
After taking out the compost from its box, we will spread it on the fields where "heavy feeders" (plants that need a loooot of nutrients) will grow.
Even though we are 99% sure that all the nasty bacteria that we don't want in our food died, we are still careful: the plants that will grow in this compost, like corn and pumpkins, will produce their edible part away from the soil and since these bacteria cannot travel through the plant body, the only way to get contaminated by a potential survivor would be to eat something that got splashed with compost still containing harmful bacteria and that didn't get washed properly. Very unlikely, especially if one considers that such bacteria are in a hostile environment as soon as they get out of our bellies and that if they don't die in the compost, the other beings in our lively soil will surely take care of them mercilessly.
By now, you should probably be convinced that compost toilets are an hygienic, simple and efficient way to process humanure on site and turn it into a resource.
Sounds a tiny bit better than mixing poo with 10 liters of drinking water (especially on an island like Gotland suffering from water scarcity in the summer), disinfecting with chemicals and releasing it into rivers, knowing that many heavy metals and hormones will poison the wildlife...and maintain a costly sewage system for this.
But composting humanure is much more than this. It's our connection to the land, the way we close the loop and remind ourselves that we are animals.
It's a sacred cycle that allows us to make atoms travel from plants to humans to microorganisms and back to plants in a never-ending magical loop.
From this unique perspective, humans of Suderbyn acquire a new function: processing units turning plants into food for bacteria! It might sound a bit reductionist but it is actually a way to reintegrate ourselves in the complex web of life, as one humble step in a perfect system.
And from this humble soil we sprout as happy stewards of the land.
nspiration and connection! In these unprecedented times communities appear as an alternative – stronger than ever and more connected than before. While growing our local resilience, we in Suderbyn and thousands other communities also strengthen our large systemic actions. Though ECOLISE (European umbrella-organisation for community-led initiatives) could not meet physically for the General Assembly, it gathered for a great online assembly with over 50 delegates from national and regional networks of Transition, Ecovillages and Permacutlure movements, urban and rural community-led initiatives, research activists and policy changers. Folk from Suderbyn is typically there as besides being an ecovillage we are also an active hub for international and regional networks! 3-4 April 2020 will be remembered by as the celebration of our resilience and adaptation, strong connection and mutual support.
“Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it” — the quote of E.F. Schumacher was shared by the keynote speaker Daniel Christian Wahl and echoed in the group. These weeks we feel how the experience of community-led initiatives can serve the times of COVID-19 and the following crisis: how our tools and solutions for food and energy sovereignty, strong local communities and international solidarity, ecosystem restoration and climate change adaptation can also serve fundamental needs and happiness of the society.
When the world and its old socio-economic paradigm are facing an upcoming crisis, we see how resilience, practical solutions and social support cultivated by communities offer a strong alternative. When "business as usual" does not provide illusionary safety anymore, we turn towards our families and neighbours, friends and like-minded companions, towards land and local resources, towards homes and gardens, and ask What we can do differently.
ECOLISE represents a strong trust in communities and local actions, as well as the multi-local connection between networks all over Europe. We have so much to offer! Let the time of the crisis be the time of mainstreaming the solutions already developed and practiced by the communities!
Warm greetings and deep inspiration from #EcoliseGA2020! #ecolise
Ecovillages National Organization (ERO) took the opportunity and celebrated its 33 years of service for a more sustainable Sweden!
ERO is currently a participant in the EU project "Community Learning Incubator Partnership for Sustainability" (CLIPS II) which will strengthen ERO's ability to support those who want to start ecovillages in Sweden. We started the day with a mini-training about supporting and developing ecovillages / communities in CLIPS way with Nara Petrovic from Sunny Hill Ecovillage, Slovenia and Alisa Dendro from Suderbyn Ecovillage & NGO Relearn on Gotland.
After a healthy lunch and fresh air, we listened to Anders Nyquist, one of the real ecobypioneers in Sweden and experiencsd with Rumpans ecoby (founded in 1967) and Linda Nordfors, one of the promoters of Sweden's latest ecoby project, Ekoby Tallberget in Gnesta. She shared her view of a different kind of entrepreneurship in the "passionate economy".
We also held our annual meeting, with updates of ERO's work with CLIPS and what it can mean for Swedish ecovillages.
What's happening in the ecovillage? What projects are we running at the moment? Here you can follow our work and find out about exciting news and events!