Kadagaya: Self Sufficient community

Categories: Green

The pilot project is aiming to construct a self-sufficient community of approximately 40 people, where all of the basic needs will be provided (and interaction with the monetary system will be limited as much as possible). The supporting systems (e.g. energy, water, agriculture, health, and education) are being holistically designed using appropriate technologies to increase efficiency and reliability while promoting the consciousness of the interdependency of all systems. We invite volunteers to work with us, experience life here and contribute their skills and ideas. After the initial set-up phase we hope to start working with the neighbouring communities tooffer tools, technology, and education to improve quality of life. All knowledge and technology developed during the project will be open source and freely available to the wider community (anyone who has the desire to use it).

Planning for the Kadagaya community started in mid-2013 in Copenhagen where we were working as scientists in a research laboratory. Despite enjoying our work and the comfortable living conditions in Scandinavia (arguably some of the best in the world), we felt unfulfilled. During a long process of self-education regarding the current economic, social and environmental problems we realised that the majority of the problems are a direct result of the monetary system. We decided to leave our jobs, separate ourselves from the system and join a community. The system that most closely aligns with our values is that of a resource-based economy (RBE). There are only a few groups (e.g. One Community and RBE10k) developing communities based on RBE concepts, and these are still in the planning phase, so we decided to start a community of our own. We have learnt a huge amount over the years and we want to share some of our experiences.

  1. Patience! Everything takes longer than expected.

We live in a fast-paced, highly competitive world where “time equals money” and being busy and productive are valued as signs of efficiency. Our highly technologized society allows us to have immediate access to information, fast communication and satisfy many of our desires without having to wait. This instant gratification is training us to be impatient and get disappointed when rewards aren´t delivered as fast as we expect.  

Although we recognised the ill effects of such a stressful lifestyle and chose a simpler life, it was very hard to slow down at the start! It is difficult to shake the feeling of being lazy and unproductive when “doing nothing” (i.e. resting). We are learning that everything takes a lot longer than you initially think (especially in Peru where the work ethic is highly informal yet plagued by bureaucracy). Slowing down has helped us appreciate the time to think through our plans and projects and enjoy our new life.

  1. Life is easy.

This lovely TED talk “Life is Easy: Why do we make it so hard” somewhat mirrors our own experiences in journeying away the system into a simpler life.  We learnt that we are more than capable of looking after ourselves; we designed and built our own house and workshop, installed our own electricity and plumbing, built a rainwater collection and wastewater system and started growing some of our own food. We were not experts in any of this - we used the vast resources of information on the internet, got help from friends and volunteers, learnt from many mistakes and experimented a lot.

We have shed a mountain of stresses and burdens (most of which we were not even aware we had) and are now valuing very different things in life. We never worry about what to wear or how we look. We have improved our lives beyond anything we could have imagined, are happier, healthier, less stressed and enjoying every day doing something we are passionate about.

We get as much sleep as want and it rarely matters what day of the week it is. As a couple we appreciate having so much time together, facing the same challenges and being able to really understand if one of us has had a bad day. We look forward to having lots of time to spend with our children, being their teachers and friends instead of being in work and day care.    

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