Future Planning at the Findhorn Park Community/Ecovillage in the face of Climate and Bio-diversity crises with special reference to food July 2023
What we can expect:
1. More unpredictable and extreme weather
2. Significant sea-level rise
3. More intense pest pressure and fewer pollinators
4. Reduced access to imported and non-local foods
5. Pressures from economic and social breakdown including climate refugees and
shortages of inputs for food production
How can we develop a resilient, engaged community in the face of these pressures?:
1. The community needs to own its own land in order to make decisions in the best long-term interest of the Community. The present owner, the Findhorn Foundation, as an educational charity, is not responsible for, or answerable to the people who actually live in the Park. Thus some kind of asset transfer to a democratically
responsible body is essential. (Ref. Park buy-out Group)
2. The demographic of the community must change in favour of a younger age-group. We are suggesting an additional 100 people in the community aged under 40 would contribute substantially to our resilience. Affordable housing for this number of people therefore needs to be built. This can be achieved within the current policy of replacement of caravans by housing in Pineridge plus a terrace in the North end of
Cullerne. Hopefully this could avoid major spending on roads and new entrances which seems to us more in the service of cars than People or Nature. If a new entrance is essential it should not be at the lowest point of the site.
3. More local food production. A diversity of scales and approaches to growing brings more resilience. Although individual gardens are great, co-operation on a household cluster level such as at Soillse is more productive and community building. At the next scale of production Cullerne should be encouraged to flourish as suggested in the recent Scottish Government Just Transmission Fund submission. Finally a farm-scale enterprise is needed to ensure local availability of staple crops. This could be on a scale of around 100 acres where regeneratively grazed cattle and chickens maintained the fertility for around 20 acres of staple crops whilst providing high quality protein. Most logically this would be on land at Cullerne Farm but a strategic partnership with a farm in the local area may be more feasible.
4. Ecological Context. Food production and all other activities need to be undertaken in the context of a deep understanding of our complete identity with and dependence on the whole environment understood through spirit, art, science and community itself. This will require special sensitivity around development in Pineridge to maintain and indeed improve its environmental value through a complex woodland garden at its centre. (Ref Pineridge Nature group)
5. Community composting. Food and green waste can best be composted on 3 or 4 sites through the Park using Ridan or similar hand-powered composters to minimize both the capital cost and the cost of collection of food waste. The recycling of human waste needs to be researched and developed beyond the level of the current living machine.
6. Other areas of concern. More housing (as mentioned above), more local green energy production and storage, our own potable water supply and a more diversified economy are the other elements our group identify as key to resilience in the face of climate change and related impacts.
7. Building regional resilience partnerships. It is essential that all adaptation is planned with neighbours and on a bio-regional scale. No community can or should do everything.
1 See www
2 This combination of 20 acres of tractor scale cropping with the output of Cullerne was what enabled EarthShare to feed 200 families in the ‘90s and early 2000’s