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
, 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. UK
The concept of the Kin Domain was developed in
, 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. Russia
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…..