Friday, 6 July 2012

The Kin Domain


When Amber and I moved to Cottarton people often asked, “Why are you moving to such a remote place?” “What are you doing there?” Truth to say, we weren’t sure, except that we  wanted to be closer to the land, partially supported by her bounty. So did our friends at Coldhome, though in addition, they decided to build their space from the foundation up. Next to our cottage stands a field: one grassy hectare that we’d no idea what to do with. For four years we developed a vegetable and flower garden --- but what next?


















Recently I discovered that we’re part of a greater movement throughout Russia, Australia, the US and Europe, of families establishing themselves on a hectare of land with the vision of building a home for their children, and their children. A place that will provide food, energy, water and most importantly good physical and mental health through work with the land. In Russia such a smallholding is known as the family hearth, “Rodovoje Pomest’e”  or the Kin Domain. 

In the UK,  the movement of families to the land is slower because of high land prices and obstructive planning regulations, but it is growing. There are a few eco-villages --- communities of energy efficient houses made of natural materials. The Findhorn Community for example. Not all houses have enough land for self subsistence. The concept of a family home passed down through generations isn’t yet in the UK zeitgeist. Mobility of family members is taken for granted. Generations are often separated by large distances.

The concept of the Kin Domain was developed in Russia, following the publication of books by Vladimir Megre,  The Ringing Cedars. The books, presented as the teachings of Anastasia, a Siberian recluse, became best-sellers and inspired thousands of people to move closer to the land. Within five years of the books’ publication over 150 new eco-villages took shape. In Russia, the Kin Domain expands on the Dacha (country cottage), and is made possible by the high availability of empty land in central Russia; Siberian ghost towns waiting for people to revitalize them. See the reference article Ecofarming and Agroforestry for Self-Reliance for how micro-farming works in practice.


These days, the nuclear family is on shaky grounds, the family table disappearing fast, children are ferried rapidly from one activity to the next, food is grabbed on the fly. In the Kin Domain, families work together to build their space, promote a sense of cohesion, an appreciation for the land and how it works. Unrealistic, nostalgic, a step backwards or all of the above? Perhaps not. As our social fabric continues to disintegrate with crime, high unemployment, violence, mental and physical illness and the breakdown of the family, it seems to me that the prospect of people working together to build a healthy life has much to commend it. If it becomes a mass movement it could emerge as the force that turns the tide for the better. Green shoots of a new civilization.

 One can be cynical and assert that Kin Domain people will booze and fight each other just as much, as folk living in council flats. Isn’t alcoholism worse among country people? Haven’t we seen it before in the sixties with people moving onto the land and growing weed? This movement appears to have a different ideology. There’s less talk about getting high and having fun,  and a lot more  about what the Earth needs: an emphasis on clean living, hard work, a spiritual connection to the land, natural healing, home education of children and building a solid foundation for a family through a monogamous relationship. Each topic could be a separate blog.

Here's the plan of Cottarton.



We’ve already dug a pond and plan to plant 600 trees early next year. Within 20 years they’ll form a forest that will break our winds, provide homes for birds, squirrels, a wood supply to keep us warm, and building material.  Our present plague of slugs suggests to me that our ecology is out of balance. We need to restore it, increase biodiversity so that the land can not only support us but a wide variety of flora and fauna (deer excepted --- they’re NOT welcome). We'll also have herbs, perennial vegetables, and one or two cereal crops to support us. All for not an unreasonable amount of work?

To be continued…..

4 comments:

  1. "The concept of a family home passed down through generations isn’t yet in the UK zeitgeist."

    I think the concept is in the UK Zeitgeist now to some extent. It wasn't until fairly recently that it was revived though. The English have little memory of sustainable family living. Their land enclosures and industrial revolution were a long enough time ago for families not to remember having their own piece of land. I remember friends in the 1980's saying, "I don't want to be a peasant!" when I raised the idea with them. They saw it as demeaning, and would rather go into business. In Scotland the clearances of people from the land is far from forgotten. Ireland I know little about myself.

    But the sustainability movement is growing (pun intended) Have you checked out the Zeitgeist Movement?

    http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/mission-statement

    "Founded in 2008, The Zeitgeist Movement is a Sustainability Advocacy Organization which conducts community based activism and awareness actions through a network of Global/Regional Chapters, Project Teams, Annual Events, Media and Charity Work.

    The Movement's principle focus includes the recognition that the majority of the social problems which plague the human species at this time are not the sole result of some institutional corruption, scarcity, a political policy, a flaw of "human nature" or other commonly held assumptions of causality.

    Rather, The Movement recognizes that issues such as poverty, corruption, collapse, homelessness, war, starvation and the like appear to be "Symptoms" born out of an outdated social structure. While intermediate Reform steps and temporal Community Support are of interest to The Movement, the defining goal here is the installation of a new socioeconomic model based upon technically responsible Resource Management, Allocation and Distribution through what would be considered The Scientific Method of reasoning problems and finding optimized solutions."

    I agree with them that human nature is not intrinsically negative. If people are not subjected to state sponsored education and grow up in a natural environment then I think they will recognise themselves as a co-operative part of nature.

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    1. I think that the Venus Project, which underlies zeitgeist is scarily similar to the "Alien Invasion Plan" that Anastasia and Vladimir witness the planning for in book 4... "Their souls will self destruct because they will be required to render service to the machines which outwardly serve them"...

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  2. Thank you Roy. Yes, the Zeitgeist movement is definitely interesting, something I'd like to follow. However I'm disenchanted with political movements and I'm not sure that they result in meaningful change. However a grass-roots movement, coming from the people, such as people returning to the land to make their homes there --- that is happening already, and may result in a paradigm shift.

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  3. Hi there. Are you still blogging and more importantly, are you still developing your land in the spirit of Anastasia's kins domain model. Please get back to me on Facebook or on the website. Join our community of people who are all heading towards co-creating these outcomes for all who want to participate across the UK and Europe. Thanks :)

    http://ringing-cedars.wixsite.com/takebackyourland/
    https://www.facebook.com/lillyllew

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