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Applied Ecovillage Living

Co-creating a Regenerative Culture

Saturday 11th February to 10th March 2017- for 28 Day Course
with optional 5th week

Craig Gibsone & Vera Franco

Click here to book

How do we live in a way that is fulfilling and respectful to ourselves and all life around us? With all the changes, paradoxes, and challenges of our times, where do you and I, as individuals, come in, create change and contribute to re-imagining the future?

Join us in February 2017 for the 18th year of the Findhorn Foundation's most complete and holistic ecovillage course. Together we will consider personal and systemic solutions that help us address the complex situations we are facing in our society in a creative, nourishing and sustainable way.

Taking a holistic approach, the course takes an in-depth look at a wide range of topics: social and ecological regeneration, economy and energy systems, governance and decision-making, nature, our inner nature, and much more.

“The course has helped me discover and connect with my own deep truth and honesty, given me space and tools to express it and inspired motivation and courage to act on it.” - Maria, 25 - AEL 2016

We will equip ourselves with the skills needed to create a diverse and re-generative culture that connects humans with nature, all life and ourselves. A culture in which we see each other as part of the bountiful and generous natural ecosystem that is the livelihood of every living being. A culture which gives us a greater feeling of belonging to the Earth and the Earth belonging to us.

Inspiration for this pioneering month-long course came during the creation of the Global Ecovillage Network and was promptly recognised by UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) in 1998. It contributed greatly to the formation of Gaia Education and the curriculum of its most successful international educational programme, Ecovillage Design Education.

"AEL reveals how far removed our culture is from the richness and diversity of nature."- Will - AEL 2016

Intentional ecological communities, ecovillages, are cohesive social structures, united by common values. They aim to restore the balance between the four elements: earth, air, fire and water, returning humans to a sustainable relationship with all other communities of life. Working with the principle of not taking away from the Earth more than they give back, they are consciously diminishing their ecological footprint. The ecovillage model can be applied equally to urban and rural settings, in developing and developed countries.

Ecovillages aim to restore the balance between the four elements: earth, air, fire and water, returning humans to a sustainable relationship with all other communities of life. With practical tools and living group experience we will cultivate an embodied sense of self and place. This dynamic world work opens you to vision, inspiration and insight into your true purpose in life.

Ecovillage communities are cohesive social structures, united by common collective and/or spiritual values. Working with the simple principle of not taking more away from the Earth than one gives back, they are consciously diminishing their ecological footprint, which can be applied equally to urban or rural settings, both in developing and over-developed countries.

You will learn:

  • Social tools for personal and group transformation, empowerment and community building
  • Urban and rural solutions for transitioning to a resilient society
  • Local organic food production and right livelihood
  • Comprehensive Permaculture design introduction
  • Renewable energy systems and energy efficiency models
  • Cooperative social economies and complementary currencies
  • Holistic decision-making processes, including nature and deep ecology
  • Earth restoration projects and biological waste water treatments
  • Ecological building and community design
  • Cultural and Spiritual diversity practices

The AEL month in brief

During the first part of the course we explore models for urban approaches to the Ecovillage concept by setting up our living classroom at Cluny Hill, a former Victorian hotel now owned by the community and home for up to 120 residents. The building contributes greatly to the reduction of the community's carbon footprint and is also located in the town of Forres, part of the Transition Town network.

For the second part we move our living classroom to The Park, the original site where the Findhorn Community and Ecovillage was born. Here we broaden our enquiry in a more rural setting with smaller, dispersed dwellings, using as a case study the restorative process of transforming sand dunes on an old military base into the famous Findhorn gardens.

Week 1 - People Care:
Building Effective Groups, Deep Ecology & Designing For Transition


In this week we introduce ourselves and our projects to one another, co-creating the learning environment we need by building group respect and understanding as a basis for concerted action. Using deep ecology, we place ourselves within the web of life as a creative, accountable species and examine our impact upon the Earth. The embodied expertise in the community and the three permaculture ethics: people care, fair share and Earth care, guide us to our next steps in living a responsible future.

Week 2 - Fair Share:
Economic Sustainability, Right Livelihood & Organic Food Production


In this week we explore how we can live well on the Earth, providing for our needs in a way that respects our own community, communities in other parts of the world and the ecosystems that support and sustain us. We will visit small community farms, studying their production methods, exploring their values and digging more deeply into underlying concepts such as right livelihood and voluntary simplicity that are needed to walk more gently on the Earth. The Findhorn Foundation community provides us with tools and examples, including a large and diverse organic food production network, a community bank and currency, and a range of other social enterprises.

Week 3 - Earth Care:
Human Settlements, Ecological Building & Wilderness Restoration


In this week we explore the design and construction of ecological settlements that fit harmlessly into the landscape and into different climatic regions, engage in hands-on learning about our biological waste water treatment and a diverse range of renewable energy systems, explore the Scottish wilderness and support the restoration and protection of our wild frontiers.

Week 4 - Next Steps Design:
Principles of Permaculture & Designing for the Future

With celebration and ritual, the final week weaves together the various threads we explored during the first three weeks, grounding the experience and preparing the next steps. Working on projects in groups and drawing on the human, physical and spiritual resources of the Findhorn Ecovillage, create practical designs for new initiatives that can be implemented in your home environment. Integrating and harmonising our human footprint starts at home.

Week 5 (optional)
Grounding and Integrating
After the end of the course, there is an optional fifth week to further integrate the experiences of this intensive month. It is an offering to those who wish to immerse themselves more fully in the Findhorn community, with time for deepening practical knowledge and having more space to feel into and plan next steps. The week has no set schedule other than the daily rhythms of the community, but there will be plenty of opportunities for completing projects, gardening, beach walks, sharing, and eating together.

This week does not need to be booked in advance.

Training fees
Tiered price* : £2440 / £2010 / £1840

Includes four weeks accommodation, full board (vegetarian meals), refreshments, the programme content and field trips.

Convert to your own currency using The Universal Currency Converter.

*Tiered pricing

We want to ensure that our workshops and events are accessible to a diverse range of people and recognise that one person’s financial situation will differ from another. So that money is not a barrier to participating in our workshops and events, we offer a tiered pricing structure and ask that you select the price appropriate for your personal circumstances. Please take a moment to read about our tiered pricing here.

  • If you cannot afford the full fee, you can apply for a bursary when completing the Application Form. A limited number of bursaries, funded by trusts and the Findhorn Foundation itself, are available to suitable applicants. Applications for financial assistance should be made as soon as possible. This will enable us to assess all applicants and allocate funds in the fairest possible manner.
  • If you can afford to pay more than the full fee for this programme you can make a donation to the bursary fund when completing the Application Form. Your donation will be gratefully received and used to help those who cannot afford the whole fee.

Book Online and complete an enrollment questionnaire.

For more information send an email to ael@findhorn.org

Credentials and Certification

The Applied Ecovillage Living now has a Gaia Education certified Ecovillage Design Education Curriculum, is currently recognised by UNESCO, and a contributor to the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development.

Learn more about Gaia Education here and about UNESCO's Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development here.

Findhorn Ecovillage is an ever-evolving, living demonstration of creative solutions for the future.

  • The largest single intentional community in the UK
  • Linking spiritual, social, ecological and economic domains
  • A pioneering ecovillage since 1985, receiving Best Practice designation from the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat).
  • A major centre for holistic learning serving 9,000 visitors a year from over 50 countries

The Findhorn Foundation has one of the lowest recorded ecological footprints for any community in the industrialised world, just half the UK national average, and has birthed more than 50 businesses and social ventures in the local region.

  • Over 60 ecologically benign buildings
  • Three wind turbines with a total capacity of 675 kW
  • A biological Living Machine sewage treatment system
  • Numerous solar water heating systems
  • Biomass boiler heating system total capacity of 250 kW
  • Comprehensive recycling and composting scheme
  • Published UK’s first technical guide to ecological housing
  • Our own community currency and community investment fund
  • Is served by a car-sharing club that includes zero-emissions electric vehicles

The Applied Ecovillage Living programme has institutional endorsement from UNITAR - United Nations Institute for Training and Research

50+ Years of Embodied Knowledge & Wisdom
The Findhorn Foundation participates in the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organisation, and is a partner of CIFAL Scotland, actively sharing our knowledge and experience of integrated and sustainable development.

Presented in association with

Findhorn Ecovillage The Park Findhorn IV36 3TZ, Scotland, UK