Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Walking the low-impact talk - Access to land

From November Ruth and I will be exploring low-impact life for real, living in a yurt and caravan combination based at Treflach Farm. Ian Steele, farmer at Treflach, has been very friendly and helpful while we have been running Permacuture courses at the farm over the last year so I'm looking forward to working with Ian and all the others there. It's an amazing three years plus since I started making my yurt in the garden at Debi's house near Brighton (making the thing turned into an epic Icelandic Saga all of its own, check out some of the many posts about it here, hereherehere and here), so it will be truly wonderful to be using it at last. There's lots of stuff we want to explore, like putting the yurt inside a polytunnel so we can get some solar gain and put lots of insulation on the outside of the yurt without it getting soaked. I want to try out Lucia stoves and a rocket stove/thermal mass combination rather than the usual log-burning variety and we'll be growing some food of course. I'd like to try using a fan to take warm air from the top of the polytunnel down into a thermal mass store under the yurt .... and lots more .... will be getting in touch with some of the great eco-boffin types I've met for advice on developing all that stuff.
We have the sort of arrangement which I hope will help many other people gain access to some land in this transitional phase, swapping some work on the farm in return for living space - so I feel it's all an important as well as fascinating process. Farms will inevitably have to use more human labour as we are all forced sooner or later to make the transition away from oil dependency. I feel Treflach will be an excellent place to be as the farm is already confronting transition issues and adopting Permaculture principles. I think access to land is the key for peoples' future security, in cities as well as out in the countryside, and learning to live a simple land based life as much as possible, regenerating local Earth capital and abundance instead of being a consumer-unit cog in a global Earth-destructive corporatocracy. I hope some of the solutions we develop in the farm will help people everywhere.


cgb said...

Hi Ian and Ruth,
All this sounds very interesting, and thanks for the link to Lucia stoves - great stuff. Have you followed it through further, eg what biomass would you use? From Lucia's Youtube video it seems you need it pelletised. Also he says the cost of his stove -excellent technology! - is related to the income of the country. Do you know the UK cost? Here in rural Portugal I can imagine these stoves would be ideal. I wonder if you could use pine cones and sticks?
Love to you both, Clive.

Ian Watt said...

Hi Clive - yes the Lucia stoves look really interesting, they don't seem to be available in the UK, I emailed them to see if distributing them here was a possibility but I never heard back. There seem to be lots of different designs and some seem to burn waste eg husks and shells so think pine cones would be a great fuel. The Biochar Solution is really worth a read - the Lucia stoves make charcoal which can be an excellent soil improver or used to filter water - more here: http://ians-eco-blog.blogspot.com/2011/04/biochar-solution-by-albert-bates.html - great to get your own news - lots of love to you both Ian and Ruth xxx