Last week I volunteered at Brithdir Mawr sustainable community in Wales. They are a group of people who try to live as independently as possible in terms of food and power consumption, they are completely off grid generating power from wind turbines, solar panels and a hydroelectric system, made by one of the previous residents out of an old washing machine drum. They grow the majority of their own food in four ploy tunnels and outdoor vegetable plots, this year however was fairly bad due to weather however they still have just enough for the winter to prevent them buying in much. They also have a number of working animals like goats for milk and cheese, bees for honey, chickens and ducks for eggs and slug control and working horses so they aren’t reliant on tractors around the farm. They have a large forest which they use for wood for fires; the stove is connected to the radiators around the house providing extra heating whenever the fire is lit the oven was built by one of the members. There are around 9 adults and one child who live there permanently and 3 children who live there 3/ 4 days of the week. They take on volunteers for work weeks if there is a lot of work to be done around the place or an individual can sponsor a person if they have a lot of work that needs to be done.
It was an amazing experience going down and seeing how the community gets on and manages to live with as little a carbon footprint as possible. Next door is a similar sustainable community however they are a lot more independent. In it each person has an individual plot of land which they live on and grow stuff on and then trade between the others that live there, whereas in Brithdir Mawr all land is shared and all produce is shared between everyone. People can either live in the large house or in one of the converted barns if they have a partner or family.
I spent most of the week clearing Bracon form around young trees to prevent them becoming overgrown, I also helped clear weeds in the garden and got soil ready for autumn planting. I also learnt how to milk the goats and make goat milk. I spoke to the other people who lived there and got a list of other sustainable communities and not plan to travel round working at them and maybe one day finding one to settle at.