Below you can read more about our outline plans for the Retreat as we begin of creating a sustainable farm settlement which will demonstrate the viability of our goals, and, in time, our plans to scale up over more acreage as and when land becomes available to purchase or rent.
We have shared the basics of what Permaculture is and what regenerative farming is, so you have a broader knowledge of why we feel this is so beneficial and how you can be part of the future for generations to follow.
We are currently registering our retreat as a Not For Profit community organisation which will help us to provide a much needed safe place for people to come for nurture, immersed into the wild landscape, within the peace and solitude we often find missing in our busy, stressful lives.
This has been at the heart of our mission for many years - a deep knowing that our fast paced consumer driven society has brought with it a burden which we carry adding to it each day until we cannot cope and suffer many layers of depletion, from our mental health to our physical health. Our need to reconnect with nature, and our own wild self has become urgent, and by providing this retreat, we offer a place where you can come with no agenda other than to let go of all that has become too heavy, a place to just be in your natural flow, to release, and to feel the earth beneath your body once more, re-establishing that bond which supports all our basic needs for wellbeing, to become nature once more.
Our search is on to find a neglected smallholding where the land has been depleted and left in poor heart, in order to restore the natural, abundant balance of the environment where Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares are the central ethos.
Our farm will be a place for biodiversity, soil and grassland restoration through low impact, small scale mob grazing rotation, with ancient breeds of native sheep, goats for meat and raw dairy, and poultry alongside the planting of an abundant Food Forest, which will provide a variety of resources for all of the farms inhabitants and guests.
Our skilled team ensure that we are able to steward this homestead to our Primal and Ancestral patterns, which support all areas of health and wellbeing, from mental health to spiritual exploration.
Our Permaculture ethos on being the observer, primarily enables a mindful response to what the land wishes to show us over the years - observe, respond, implement.
Following our Ancient connection to the land requires far less input from external sources, such as need to buy in feed, seed and equipment, for maximum benefit to all who live here and therefore we are able to support our basic needs for food, medicine, fuel, housing and health, which we can share with our local community, creating self resilience in these changing times.
By implementing a number of Permaculture and regenerative farming practices we are able to create a place of nurture for all who seek to ReWild, themselves and their own communities, small or large, around the world.
WHAT IS PERMACULTURE?
Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living. It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere.
By thinking carefully about the way we use our resources - food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs - it is possible to get much more out of life by using less. We can be more productive for less effort, reaping benefits for our environment and ourselves, for now and for generations to come.
This is the essence of permaculture - the design of an ecologically sound way of living - in our households, gardens, communities and businesses. It is created by cooperating with nature and caring for the earth and its people.
Permaculture is not exclusive - its principles and practice can be used by anyone, anywhere, from inner city balcony to large tracts of farmland.
Permaculture encourages us to be resourceful and self-reliant. It is not a dogma or a religion, but an ecological design system which helps us find solutions to the many problems facing us - both locally and globally.
Writer Emma Chapman defines it as:
"Permaculture, originally 'Permanent Agriculture', is often viewed as a set of gardening techniques, but it has in fact developed into a whole design philosophy, and for some people a philosophy for life. Its central theme is the creation of human systems which provide for human needs, but using many natural elements and drawing inspiration from natural ecosystems. Its goals and priorities coincide with what many people see as the core requirements for sustainability."
Permaculture tackles how to grow food, build houses and create communities, and minimise environmental impact at the same time. Its principles are being constantly developed and refined by people throughout the world in very different climates and cultural circumstances.
WHAT IS REGENERATIVE FARMING?
Industrial farming techniques like deep tilling, mono-cropping and an overuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, have diminished our soil’s natural ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. This means that the C02 that would normally be drawn down into a healthy, carbon-pumped soil, is now staying in the atmosphere and contributing to the warming planet. We need to change this, quick smart!
Switching to regenerative practices will restore soil health and function, reboot plant activity aka photosynthesis, and enable nature to re-balance our currently out-of-whack carbon levels.
Regenerative farming techniques include: using cover crops and perennials to protect the soil, no tilling, no pesticides or synthetic fertilisers, multiple crop rotations and bringing grazing animals back on the land in ways that mimic natural herbivore migration.
Regenerative farming also offers many benefits beyond carbon storage! It increases the soils water holding capacity, stops soil erosion, protects the purity of groundwater and sets up the conditions for crops to become more disease and pest resilient. The benefits are many-fold.
This kind of farming system improves our health by increasing the nutritional value of our food, the health of our planet by regenerating our soils and increasing the ability for soil to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and the livelihoods of the farmers by providing better yielding crops in the long term.
So, now you can see just why we are preparing to follow these models for restoring the farm to abundant health (and our own, communities and guests), read on to see ‘Who Are We’ - The Team in our individual and collective roles.
WHO ARE WE?
Jeanette Carr - is an ambulance technician, Weleda Wellbeing Advisor and Holistic Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher, sound healing - for humans and animals, and Hopi ear candle practitioner. She can often be found hanging around in tents at Medieval Re-enactment events, looking rather fabulous! She is a keen (and brilliant) crafter and artist. Jeanette will be holding regular craft workshops throughout the year and processing raw fleeces into yarn and ready for felting and weaving, along with offering her extensive therapies and wellbeing packages.
Ant Ravenwood - Master Tree planter, planning and implementing the Food Forest areas, Ant is often found deep in the forest, communicating with the inhabitants!
Permaculturist and gardener, his love for this earth clearly expressed in such a quiet and gentle manner, this is often shared through his musical creations, he has been writing and composing for over 3 decades.
He is married to Revna - both of these souls are always found drinking coffee hidden away in the trees, giggling like children, plotting mayhem and magic!
Revna - Wild wood medicine woman, permaculturist, plant spirit medicine practitioner, ReWilding facilitator, Primal Health Coach and Weleda health practitioner, Revna loves blending some pretty amazing and potent plant elixirs, Ceremonial Cacao offerings and is our Mistress of Coffee for Midgard Coffee Company.
When she isn't in the Apothacary, she is to be found in the garden or wandering the trails in search of wild medicinal plants to bring home for our daily tonics, talking with the Elementals and sitting under the trees listening to what messages the land brings to share.
Married to Ant, who is her Rock, keeping her grounded!
Raven - Our resident Medicine Man, rune reader, tarot and crystal energy practitioner, he is a true Curandero/healer, immersed in the world of alchemical energy work, Raven keeps the energy of our Team in top order, and is a very humble, quiet soul, devoted to his path since a small child. His love of strong coffee is legendary, he has the T-shirt to prove it! When he isn't drinking coffee you can be sure to find him in the forest or hiding in the garden ready to share some deep conversations!
Bear Little Wolf - resident cutie pie, and excellent singer, Bear is our resident doggy, fluff ball guard dog! She loves to howl, even with bally ball in her mouth, even more cute, if that is possible!
This tiny fluff ball has a mighty spirit, do not be fooled by those eyes!
HOW WE INTEND TO INVEST YOUR DONATIONS
Below is our initial consideration on how we can turn all your donations into implementing the initial setting up of the Homestead. They will most likely be subject to some change due to the actual needs when we find the property, as we do not know what will already be in place and what exactly will be required.
- TREES!! Working with Agroforestry Research Trust and established Forest Garden projects in the area, we will be purchasing many edible and medicinal canopy, understory, shrub and ground cover plants in order to get the main Food Forest up and producing in year one.
- Central 'Big Lodge' Yurt - investing in a 24ft Yurt which will provide space for larger Ceremony space, workshops, monthly FREE soundbaths and meditation sessions and be the Hub for all our ReWilding Apprenticeships, Permaculture courses and FREE introduction to some of our weekend courses.
- 18ft Yurt for our 'space to emerge' retreat and respite accomodation, for those in dire need of nurture who may not have the financial resources to hand, yet 'need' to be on the earth to recover from burnout and stress.
- Timber and essential resources to build cozy, warm and safe housing for our sheep, goats and poultry - sourced locally from the forestry services, to sit in the landscape with minimal impact - roundhouse design, turf roof with internal 'rooms' for sleeping comfortably and a milking area. Space for sitting with the animals for meditation and therapeutic benefits central to this building.
- Timber, heavy duty perspex and reclaimed materials to build a large passive solar 'garden room' on the south side of the house, for year-round growing tender edible plants and vine fruit, for teaching space on growing and methods for passive heating, and so on.
- Construction of a composting toilet system in the Food Forest and outdoor kitchen/washing facilities for those staying for respite and courses.
- Construction of a Timber workshop/classroom which would house the craft space - for processing raw fleece into yarns and weaving into rugs, cloth etc.
Year One is all about being the Passive Observer in the main, and implementing the planting of the main Food Forest, with little other interference on the land in order for us to see and feel what is changing and what is possible moving forwards.
We will be inviting some of you who assist us in our setting up, to come and ‘be’ part of this observation process, in a very low key, low impact way, spread out throughout the first 18 months of cohabiting with the land.
**please see our ‘REWARDS’**
Careful siting of 2 very low impact structures which will become those all important ‘bolt holes’ for our visitors. The importance of being part of the landscape, unseen until you arrive at the entrances being priority, so as to have minimal footprint on the holding, yet being completely autonomous and comfortable for those who come stay and rest awhile.
Central to our mission is to provide respite retreats for those in dire need of ReWilding, to recover from their stressful lives, from ill health, from burnout and to boost mental wellbeing. We will be providing this on a donation basis, 'pay as you can' for those with low incomes, acknowledging how crucial it is for us to be able to immerse ourselves in nature, for recovery and strength, ready to head back into daily activites again.
Any surplus funds to the above expenditure will be placed into a holding account for those extra and hereto unknown costs, ensuring we can begin building the future of the farm, along side our ongoing income generation, allowing us to take that much needed, crucial time to witness what the land has to offer us in terms of knowledge and patterns of flow.
We plan to implement over 2-3 years, in stages, so that each element is carefully set into the landsape to maximise effective land use with minimal disturbance and impact visually, sitting within the Food Forest and home dwelling areas, creating space for teaching, resting, playfulness and beauty - Nurture With Nature.
"Nature does not understand urgency, She breathes in and out, as all life does when allowed the space to follow the natural cycles of creation.
As WE return to our wild nature, so we, in turn cease to expect that urgency to be followed, safe in the knowledge that we shall have all that is required to live a life unburdened."