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
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.
- 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.
Tiered price* : £2440 / £2010 / £1840
Includes four weeks accommodation, full board (vegetarian meals), refreshments, the programme content and field trips.
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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.
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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.
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