Hi everyone, first of all let us welcome you and show you why we are here.
Federico and Darren are a married couple living in Swansea. They are foster carers and we have two children Jordan and Justin living with them, as well as their 3 dogs Benji, Sammie, and Mylo and Lucy the parrot!
As a family, we are dreaming to build an eco-retreat to start a new life for us and to help other foster children, families and the community to understand natural living. We are committed to our world, the environment, our community, and to the amazing gifts that our planet and our lives bring to us on a daily basis, so we want to do their bit and give back.
Our eco-retreat is based on the One Planet Development guidance and the example of the Lammas eco-village. We are hoping to create a thriving community and a new way of living alongside nature, by connecting people to and educating about local food production, promoting permaculture, improving young people’s health and nutrition, lowering our carbon footprint and developing sustainable energy and revenue from the land we purchased in the Gower.
The individual elements of the project:
The permaculture garden and farm
There will be a permaculture plot, a fruit orchard, a medicinal herb garden, and a poly tunnel for all-year-round crops. There will also be a coup and a small pond for rescued ex-battery hens and ducks, and a few billy goats to help keeping some of the grass down, creating manure and top soil, and produce eggs for the farm. We will also produce honey and a fermented tea drink infused with medicinal herbs for visitors to purchase. The produce from the land will be used on the farm as well as sold locally to help us sustain the projects and courses that we are planning to deliver.
NaturAlly KIDS courses
We will run courses to teach foster children and families about living in harmony with nature, including: eco-friendly building courses, permaculture, naturopathic nutrition, foraging and herbalism courses, natural cooking courses, healthy eating, and craft techniques. Find our more by clicking here.
Ty Enfys - our home
We will build a straw bale house for our family which will feature a turf-roof planted with a rainbow of local wildflowers to create a natural habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. The house will be a necessity for our family, but nevertheless it will have as little impact on our field as possible and test out lots of sustainable building techniques and renewable energy. Our house will also be used for tours to teach visitors how full-time sustainable green living works.
The eco-farm retreat
There will be one central hub building with communal space, therapy rooms, and a kitchen/cafe for cookery courses and to provide food and refreshments to customers, visitors and volunteers. The eco-farm retreat will include year-round activities and classes: eco-school, summer camps, farm to school programming, Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) and more programs to provide an ongoing educational experience that includes all ages. The retreat will also work with local professionals and therapists to offer complementary therapies and holistic long weekends providing customers with the opportunity to experience meditation, spiritual awakening, vegan/raw cooking, and detox techniques. The retreat will be a meeting space for other course providers and community groups too, delivering extra income for the farm.
The campsite area
The retreat will offer a small environmentally-friendly space for people visiting the retreat and for volunteers. The campsite will have very basic facilities, with a composting toilet, and cold water only. As the project develops we will install solar-panel heated water. The whole campsite will operate strict guidelines about environmentally-friendly products, recycling, and strive to help customers lower their carbon footprint whilst visiting the retreat.
We will be providing opportunities for adults to volunteer on the project on a regular basis on our straw bale building, our permaculture garden and in all other projects that we run. If you are interested in volunteeing with us, please click here.
A little background about us
Federico (aka Fed) is a qualified nutritionist and reflexologist, he was chief exec of different charities, worked in the social care field for a long time, and was also a diplomat. Darren has been working in administration for Panasonic UK for the last 24 years and is a keen DIY and decorating enthusiast. Jordan and Justin are little bundles of fun often on a rollercoaster of emotions, but learning how to live a healthy and happy life whilst in long-term care with their forever family.
Since moving to Wales, Fed has always been fascinated with the Gower peninsula and took every opportunity to travel to it, taking family members and friends to visit it at every opportunity. With a desire to live closer to the Gower, in 2007 Fed bought a property in Swansea. In 2014, when Fed and Darren got married, they took their wedding pictures on Rhossili which were broadcasted on the Welsh and Italian media – since the couple was the first same-sex couple to get married in Wales.
In August 2017, they purchased a parcel of land in Pitton, close to Rhossilli on the Gower Peninsula, where they are starting to cultivate the land using permaculture techniques and looking to keep rescued battery chickens, ducks, and billy goats. They are also currently looking for funding to plant fruit trees as well as developing a coppicing area with willows plants for firewood.
We are looking for your help to make all of this happen!