8th Winter Assembly of Hungarian Ecovillages (23-25 January, 2009)

biofaluIt was the greatest interest ever shown in the Hungarian Ecovillage Winter Assembly this year. More than 140 attendants participated in Máriahalom. Perhaps global crisis, high unemployment, gas scarcity on the coldest days of winter together forced a lot of people to think over how to continue in Hungary. What shall they do and how, if they do not want to continue their wasteful, unsustainable city lifestyle? What kind of knowledge and financial background do you need to start village life? Where to go? What are the requirements of settling down in different ecovillages?
These were some of the main questions the meeting was meant to answer for numerous new interested guests.

At the beginning representatives of each ecovillage gave an introductory presentation and told a bit about the happenings of the year. They also described the method of joining.
Delegates of Krishna Valley expressed that everybody who is interested in getting involved in life of Krishna Valley for shorter or longer period are most welcome, though only Krishna believers are aloud to settle in the Valley. However, on the other hand anyone can settle down in the neighbouring Somogyvámos. If you are longing for village life, vegetable garden, clear air, dynamic and creative community you can find it right there and you can participate in this unique Europe-wide eco-program as well.
The delegates stated the following too: “We would like other parts of Somogyvámos to be turned into an ecological cultural and folk handwork and crafts centre – a model village. This previously aging, dead-end village already developed a lot in the last decade. Thanks to Krishna Valley the elementary school and the post office were not closed down and 25 000 tourists visit the village per year. In the last couple of years more and more people buy houses in Somogyvámos.”
In between the presentations village tours were organized in Máriahalom. During these tours guests were invited to enter those houses which have special stoves built in. These stoves are called “Finish stoves” or mass stoves. All of them are hand built and have different shapes, but thanks to their special structure they burn wood perfectly as they gasify it and they radiate heat effectively inside the building with the lowest level of heat loss through the chimney. These special stoves will be tested in the next four newly built houses in Krishna Valley as well.

Thanks to the great work of the staff of Natural Lifestyle Foundation of Agostyán (http://tea.uw.hu), the organizer of the event and Biofalu (ecovillage initiative at Máriahalom, http://www.biofalu.hu), the host of the event all programs went well even with the unexpectedly high number of guests. Special thanks goes to GEN-Europe (www.gen-europe.org) for their financial support of the event.

The following ecovillage meeting in Hungary will be at summer. Until then we wish all the best for existing ecovillages, new initiatives and enthusiastic community seekers, too.

Szilvia Rév, Partha dasa, Gábor Tóth

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The 2010 Sustainability Conference financed by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund co-financed.