After the success of the first build we did, we were ready to embark on the second experiment.
The build in Bundaberg was a stunning example of an Earthship inspired dwelling done on a very large scale with new materials adapted into its design for the climate. It then became time to do something simple on a very small scale. Something that people could replicate and expand upon after they were done participating in the workshop.
Let’s take a few steps back for a moment. I returned home to Nimbin after two and a half months of building. it was a fantastic thing to come home and reflect on the past workshop in all of its chaotic beauty. Not long after arriving, my landlord introduced me to her son who is a keen builder/dancer. For reasons of comedy he shall be affectionately named ‘Burt’.
Burt had been watching our progress and was fascinated with this type of building. We got to talking and thought ‘how cool would it be to do a small sub-tropic Earthship hut that we could bury completely in earth?!’, and that is exactly what we did! We didnt have much time to prepare. it was mid August and we needed to plan the entire build, advertise, go through applications and have it all ready by the beginning of November. It was going to be challenging yet sassy. Everything you want out of life. Finally the day came. All the material was onsite, all participants spoken for, all the curriculum set and ready, the food was all ordered so the fun was officially ready to start.
People started arriving in groups of two or more (the participants did well, communicating with each other for organisation and carpooling pre build). They all started making their way up the hill like hungry cows, searching for that one lonesome patch of grass. There were limited camping spots, so the arrangement was intimate. Everybody was very respectful of their neighbours space.
The build went off like milk in a hot car. Energy was high and laughter was loud.
Each day started off in the morning with local and organic breakfast put on by the boys from Levity Gardens. A lot of love and thought was put into those meals. Nutrition was a huge part of the entire experience. It kept people focussed, happy and productive. People tend to learn and perform better when they have a healthy gut.
The group would then file into the common area to be briefed for the jobs needed to be done for the day. This was conducted by Duuvy and Ian with the contribution of questions from participants and facilitators. This helped people get their heads around what was to happen for the day.
Just as stomachs and minds were filled with nutrition and information, the clan would then engage in a 30 Man group hug. This aligned everyone in foundation of the heart, thus making a harmonious worksite.
The work then started off with a bang! What a great bunch of humans. We had tyre pounding happening, back filling with soil to build up the earth berm, steel fixing for the roof cage, bottle brick making, it was a full production that operated like a caravan of well rehearsed musicians. We had a minimum of three facilitators on site at any one time. This meant that we had roughly around one facilitator for every five participants. The build site turned into an interactive learning environment where people get to take the theory they have learned and practice it in real life.
Once the sun hit that point in the sky where you become more sweat than man, the group retreat from the worksite to enjoy the hot section of the day. At this point lunch is served by the Levity crew. There was never a dull moment at the lunch table. It was either roasts or salads, wraps, pastas, fruits or stews. After that, some would pass out inside the communal area, some would read, play music, others would go for a swim in the local swimming hole and some would just hang around and chat.
This went on for some time until the lectures started. During the day, the lectures ranged from building with natural and recycled material all the way to decentralised sewerage treatment. This was a time for participants to understand why they were building what they were building and how each natural system is interconnected.
from there, the second round of practical learning for the day commenced. This round of work was never as intensive as the morning session. We went back out for a couple of hours before finishing for the day.
The night time sessions was where the fun rolled on into the deep blue of the evening. We had a range of guest speakers who came to share their knowledge in fun and informative talks and demonstrations. Here is a list of who came to speak:
Duuvy Jester – Introduction into Earthships
Dolphe Cooke – Back to Biochar
Johnny One Tree – Soil Fermentation
Carla Muhl – Food that Heals
Man Greg Francis – Common Law
Shane & Margaret – Plant Medicine
Deserae Blissmosphere – Guided Meditation
Poo Stu – Compost Toilets
Peter – Consciousness Wheel
Megan James – Life on Community, the early days
Muffudal Saylawala – Social Enterprise
Ben Grose – Levity Foundation
All in all, this workshop session was a fine example of what can be done with efficient organisation, client & facilitator communication, good food, knowledge and collective energy. Learning and productivity needs to be looked at as an entire universe of interconnected influences.
Everything operates based on that multi-dynamic so it only makes sense that we engage that when teaching and building. Some very important things to consider; theoretical knowledge, physical application, spirit, connection of the heart, communication, nutrition, humour, creativity, movement, stillness, getting things done, keeping in touch with the your ultimate goal and most important of all… Don’t take yourself too seriously!
Remember, you die at the end of it all so enjoy the ride while you can!