Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Where are we now?

Where are we now?

If what you read (the previous article below) were true it would seem that it’s been a few years since we did anything at all. To be fair many of the members of AEC have busy lives and many other individual projects that they are involved in, myself included. I’ve been involved in a CycleRecycle project that ran for about four months repairing bikes and teaching bike mechanics to unemployed Lincoln people and it was relatively successful. In terms of how it served the local community and some unemployed people too gain a skill and transport for work.

Gregg has been busy with his Didge-sound therapy and another project called Peace Zone. (See links) Other members have been training and using new work avenues to fill the space for an inclusive cooperative community to flourish when we get the get go for our co-housing aims. Angela and others were involved in a program of assisting with the mental well-being of carers in the county and she is currently hard at work with the purchase of a property to be a Well-being retreat in the lower part of the county. I hope to be active in this also as it is a very worthwhile project and much advantage can be made towards the co-living aspects of our AEC at this site and others in the future. We have been offered the chance to buy a plot of land near to our storage facility near the Lincolnshire Wolds which may also prove valuable in the future of AEC.

A few of our members had collectively decided that whilst we waited for the Lincoln City Council to become more progressive in its thinking towards community projects and Low-impact self-build developments in particular, we would try and get the name and credibility of the group on the map, so to speak. In doing this we took on the running and management of a local Retirement homes allotment/kitchen garden. Stones Place is a progressive ally and keen supporter of what we have been doing and have achieved for the past year and a half. When we took over the site it was quite overgrown and desolate. Though the management and staff had made great efforts to contain the garden from becoming completely unruly they were finding it a constant strain to keep it tidy and it was effectively an off limits space to the residents. That has now changed dramatically with our intervention and efforts, we are well on the way to completing all of the three original requirements of the home.

They were firstly to make the space somewhat accessible to the residents. In conjunction with help and active support from the LindumHomes group a new concrete path was laid to give access to the raised beds initially. Roy, a newish member and hardworking gentleman had helped me and Suzanne to dig out the footings which were then levelled off with concrete. The costs were soaked up between the Home and Lindum, so no cost to ourselves except our labours. Though I’m certainly not a great fan of concrete or too much hard standing we have to be practical in consideration to the people who will want to use the gardens as part of their wandering the grounds of Stones Place.

Secondly we are hoping to be able to supply some of the foodstuffs that the kitchen can use to feed the residents on a weekly basis, as well as fresh cut flowers to decorate the tables in the dining area for residents. By next year we hope to be offering much more by the way of balanced diet abundance, and flowers to cheer.

Lastly we hoped to be able to offer some external activities to both the residents and other volunteers by way of workshops and other activities in the grounds and planting areas specifically. Already one or two of the senior residents have gotten involved in planting flowers they come to tend here. We hope to widen this part of our aims more in the coming year. We have worked successfully from the outset of course with volunteers from both Addaction and Framework in the city towards helping get people actively participating in rewarding and tangible group activity. Also members of the Birchwood big local project have been assisting us as we develop this space.

During the past two years I have completed a full training of the wonderful Permaculture Design Course, run by Hannah Thorogood a Lincolnshire based teacher, conducted at the University of Lincoln campus. This indelibly sold me onto the whole idea of working in harmony with nature as the premise rather than against it. As an activist and campaigner I’m perfectly aware of how damaging our behaviours can be to the environment, so this course definitely helped to set me on the right path of following three basic tenets of Permaculture. Earth care, People care and Fair share….
Stones Place has thus given both myself and the AEC a way into working at sustainability in food production and with respect to the planet and people in particular. We do not neglect nature of course and are working very diligently at re-establishing the bio-diversity on the site. We hope to dig and construct a pond over the coming months and have it ready before the spring. Please have a look at our AEC permaculture Stones Place Facebook page (LINK) to see for yourselves how this has been coming along. Of course again as part of our ethos of sharing we invite anyone and all volunteers to come along to get accustomed with nature and a connectivity with the earth and food. Roy and I are normally there every Tuesday from about 10.30am onwards till late afternoon, and happily entertain volunteers with teas coffee and cake… Oh and some interesting conversations to add variety.

Recently a few of the AEC members also became involved in the forming of a new activity food growing group in Lincoln called aptly enough Grow Lincoln. (LINK) This is an initiative to get food back into publicly owned spaces so that we can share the produce with others for free and try to help against the onset of food ignorance and restore some sort of food sustainability. This past weekend we hosted an event at Stones Place for this project and a couple of hours were spent happily enjoying the late summer sunshine on the allotment being inspired by two eminent Medical Herbalist practitioners. Andrew Stableford and Hannah Sylvester kindly gave of their time to offer a free presentation of herbs in both food and medical treatments as well as dealing with the more fundamental lack of general well-being issues that many of us face these days.

The project that Angela is currently guiding to a beginning is the Insight Community/Abundant Earth Community well-being retreat near to Sleaford Lincs. We are about to have some investigative reports on the site done ahead of making final offers for purchase. This is both an exciting move forward and a chance for us all to re-engage with the AEC group activities. Much is to be done and many hands make light work as we know, so please if you have skills, energy and ideas about how you could help make this an awesome venture, come forward without delay. If you can also help with any financial investment there are going to be great returns, both of a financial nature as well as the obvious feel good factor of getting this type of Cooperative living/sharing into the mainstream of our housing and accommodation needs.

For those of you that were also unaware, we had been working for the past few years with the University of Lincoln Architectural Dept. Mainly alongside one of the Senior Architectural lecturers, Prof. Marcin Kolakowski, and his successive 2nd year students. This has yielded both a wealth of experience for some of the core members of AEC but an opportunity to share the idea of Low Impact Sustainable Development, particularly in an urban environment. I have personally gained huge insights into what can be achieved in collaboration and interaction with students when there is an almost no holds barred freedom to design and creativity. We now have the two case studies of two separate sites available for any interactions with local authorities and planning groups.

Earlier this year Angela submitted a grant application which I had the pleasure and surprise of having to go to Birmingham to pitch for, with the UnLtd grant funding group. Of course a man armed with passion and some common sense ideas that are shared widely by our AEC group was too much for them to compete with. They capitulated and gave us a grant award of five thousand pounds as a first round which we are currently investing in the final stages of the Insight Community/AEC project well-being hub retreat purchase.

Angela has also completed the full course on straw bale construction with the accredited Straw Works Company earlier this year, and been active in assisting with a build project in the south of the county with Hannah Thorogood at her Ink pot Permaculture Land site. (Link)She has also been working in conjunction with other members on Nancy’s field, a willow plantation at South Leverton.

Going forward I’m also working at getting the website back up and running as there were one or two issues that meant it could not stay live, but have faith I am working with other members to get this back to the fore of our active campaigning. If you were once, ever interested in what we hoped to achieve with working both cooperatively and collaboratively please re-engage with us and help to make these things a continued success.

And please keep coming back to see what we are doing and how the new projects are progressing.

On behalf of AEC.

Inspiring the change we wish to see in our community…

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Couldn't we simply share?

Some updates as to what  the A.E.C. is attempting in Lincoln/Lincolnshire over the next year.

Our project is based predominantly upon an idea around sharing, and cooperation. Sharing knowledge, practical skills, craft skills, and cooperative principles and values in a more community minded way. In principle it is less about making money and more about getting things done, where every member can directly benefit as well as the local and wider community. (Which we believe to be the original aims of the pioneers of cooperatives, dating back at least to the Rochdale pioneers of the early 19th century) The workers cooperative aims would be to set up and run projects that can create an income (financially and through trade bargains, LETS), mentoring and taking a guiding role over them. A kind of management hub over the various income generators. Some of this would be domestic services, eco burials, end of life planning, training for all ages in new skills through workshops, craft apprenticeships, and development of existing cooperative ventures.

The housing cooperative would be a place for some of our members to live in and a space for others to come and live in through a type of hostelling trial of living and working on and in an eco friendly permaculture site. This would also potentially create a revenue for the combined cooperative (A.E.C.) People could come and spend a few weeks or a month living and working in a space where we make things and grow things. Ideally no-one would own a home, but rent one at a pre-agreed rent (set by the cooperative members). the homes/land and assets would be owned in trust. A number of core members would work at sharing knowledge and skills, with these Woofers/guests and spread the ideas of a much more sustainable and simple lifestyle. The community would be constantly open for the general public to view, witness and experience the ways in which we build environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings and harness energy from 'off grid' sources. Our knowledge and experience would be free and transparently shared with others, so that new and inventive ways of living could be brought into the homes and lives of many more people. We hope to self-build using low carbon/carbon neutral methods and materials that could be sourced from the site itself or very locally. We would also aim to find and use, recycled materials, up-cycle materials and use very little of anything that could not keep the carbon footprint at a minimum. We would hope to encourage anyone tipping or throwing away materials to donate them to us for a better end purpose than landfill. Especially other companies involved in the building trade. We would be innovative and practical in using these resources and try to help anyone in need of the learning opportunities that came from such a venture.


Following the permaculture principles of Earth Care/People Care/Share of Resources (Fair Share) that were pioneered by the Australian Bill Mollison back in the 70's and currently taught here in Lincolnshire by Hannah Thorogood, the A.E.C. would hope to create huge growing space projects in many and varied spaces/places around both the city and the county, for the benefit of anyone wishing to source affordable good quality food. Permaculture (permanent agriculture/culture) is a system for the design of any environment not particularly food growing spaces, hence being at the heart of our initiatives and planning. For more information about this subject see the link to Lincolnshire Permaculture web pages. LINK.

Have a quick look at our new website. CLICK HERE

Love and light.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Woodland Workshops.

Woodland management and Celtic gathering.
Kate @Living Lincs invites you.

Celebrate The Celtic Wheel of the Year 
With Kate E A Berridge. Celtic Priestess

You are warmly invited to the following gatherings:
Samhain on Sunday the 2nd of November 2014
3pm start
Winter Solstice on Friday the 19th of December 2014
Imbolg on Sunday the 1st of February 2015
Above 1pm start
Spring Equinox on Saturday the 21st of March 2015
Beltaine on Sunday the 3rd of April 2015
Summer Solstice on Saturday the 20th of June 2015
Lammas on Sunday the 2nd of August 2015
Above 4pm start
Autumn Equinox on Saturday 20th of September 2015
At 1pm
Gathering and Ritual at a woodland site near Middle Rasen Lincs.
Please bring food and drink to share.
Feel free to bring musical instruments, fire-wood,
Candles, tea-lites, sacred offerings, songs, poems, etc.
Please CONTACT KATE to confirm & get directions:
01507 328689 0R

Blessed Be

I am sending you this revised invitation to Celtic Gatherings in woodland near Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire.
These are open Gatherings, where anyone who is genuinely interested in experiencing the coming together of loving people in a beautiful space is welcome.
All we need is to know that you are coming, so we can accomodate you.
Most gatherings of this kind are have to have been introduced in some way, which can be a barrier to spontaneity and friendliness.The Celtic Tradition is everyone's spiritual heritage.Smiles will greet you when you arrive. Blessed Be.
The woodland is the main site of a new project called Living Lincs and I've attached a version of the previous poster about the Gatherings I sent out, as some people have found the first one hard to open.
This one's a pdf.
I am also sending you information about the Project itself and a new Woodland Management Course run by Living Lincs.
Membership of Living Lincs is open to anyone....just ask.
I realise you may have some of this info already, but please just pass on anything to any loving person who may be interested in any of these events.
The woods are called Temple Woods and they are a place where wonder-full things can take place.You are very welcome to get involved and bring your loving energy.
The future of these new projects depends on people supporting these exciting events...the one/s that interest you or your friends.
Temple Woods are dedicated to the Mother Earth, and Robert Paul Yorke, whose hard work made the purchase of the land possible, all of our ancestors who were deprived of their land and liberty and to the sustainable future of our Island. Children are especially welcome.
It is our sincere wish to be part of a movement for change, to nurture close kinship with Nature, wildlife, each other and to care for Temple Woods with love.

We are part of the Abundant Earth Community, based in Lincoln....good things are happening in our county...pass it on. Thanks.

All Love Surround you,
Blessed Be
Love from Kate at Living Lincs

If anyone want to get in touch for directions, please send emails to either of the addresses below.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The speed of change….

The speed of change….
Abundant Earth Community update.

It’s been a while now since Angela and I returned from our walking holiday in Spain, on the Camino de Santiago, and high time we got the work of our community back on track. We have, as many of you know been heavily involved in setting up and organising the new and somewhat revolutionary LincolnShare project opening soon on Beaumont Fee, in Lincoln town center. We have been working with volunteers on the needed work of transforming the Old Big Wok into a community space with a difference. Abundant Earth Community will be one of the main players in what we do there, alongside already established groups such as Revival Lincolnshire (a community craft and wellbeing cafĂ©), General Practice (fine arts graduates from Lincoln Uni) the Therapists Cooperative Consortium (health and wellbeing workshop practitioners) Cruise (bereavement counselling services) and many more likeminded and charitable groups, active in providing space and activities for the less than well off of our society, and a place for people to get a much needed friendly welcome.

In the past few months regrettably we have not moved on very far with our desires to find and provide space and activities for the A.E.C. in the wider community of Lincolnshire, but surprisingly enough many more people have been coming along to express a real desire and need to become involved. Naming no names, but we have a website being competently built which should come on-line very soon, watch this space….!!!!
Check out our feeds from Facebook and Twitter for constant ideas about what we hope to implement as we move forward.

Many new and potentially active members are displaying the same desire as the former members to get our movement of resilient activities under way, which will ultimately provide alternatives to the current drought of creative ways for development in housing opportunities. A few members have also been on some training courses for the cob style of construction at Lammas, which can and will be implemented into A.E.C. Another member is still keen to provide a bender building and a forest management course that can share her particular brand of expertise to our group and wider audience too. (Courses to be arranged for this autumn at a small cost/donation basis.) Another has been actively pursuing ways to include us in further collaborative involvement with the Lincoln University. And yet others have been sponsoring and supporting our message with connection to local authority and planning directives. 

There is little doubt that we are growing into a formidable alternative to current methods of design and construction in home building. What we are of course lacking is the place/space/permissions to get our programs up and running. We are working with the councils and local authorities rather than against them in efforts to collaborate in joint initiatives that can help everyone to grow in understanding of the situation and nature of resilience caused by lack of central funding and a severe lack of resources for the continuation of current building practices. And of course particular to our areas housing shortfall is the ever present reality of it not being feasible to build on certain large tracts of land adjacent to the city centre. This western growth corridor sits on a flood plane and is ultimately a flood risk to any development, despite its handy proximity to the city and especially the University of Lincoln.Whilst many things have been put in place to investigate these risks by the local authorities, the pressure is great to find solutions. However the decisions constantly come up against the wall of funding and central policy pressure, rather than common sense and practicality. What would potentially be better as a solution could be; not filling our city with more housing for people who will not find employment here, but to create other resourceful and longer term resilient options. Such as the re-purposing of existing homes, empty properties and even city centre apartments, and the building of smaller or shared living style accommodations, rather than big and lavish luxury unsustainable individual homes.

We have also noticed that people’s dependency upon the food supply chains and home expansion projects are not much short of resilient suicide. Perhaps A.E.C. initiatives for collective and individual growing spaces in our villages, towns and city would provide a better option. The food would travel less distance and be available at a faster rate if supplied locally. Local people would benefit directly, rather than huge conglomerates that syphon monies to their ‘off-shore accounts’ and foreign wars. Industry would have a less devastating effect on transport initiatives that are damaging the environment and resources. And good old common sense would have a new resurgence too….

Finding a path through the mire of world troubles and the shortfall of resources is of paramount importance for us all. We the A.E.C. see this more than most as an ever present danger and something that we should prepare against. In doing this we are proposing a fully operational organisation in the immediate future, which can stand up to be counted along with current players of policy and strategy. We have been working with the council and private land owners to establish effective links and projects to combat housing shortages and provide design and building alternatives. If you think that you are also of this mind and keen to give of your time and energy towards fortifying positive change, please don’t hang about and get in touch now. 

The speed of change is down to us both individually and collectively, but be assured it has to change. Whether by choice or inevitability we have to adapt to the local and global causes of our past actions. Even if we were not aware of the impact of those choices, everyone now faces the same determining factors. Less resources, less air, more Co2 and an ever depleting land space to support our welfare and nutritional needs.

So please take heart from the power of choice, we need not be an abuser but a saviour of the planet and its valuable life giving abundance.

Take only what you need and nothing that you want. Be the change that you wish to see in the world. Create the change that you wish to see in your community. Join with Abundant Earth Community in making this possible now.

Love and Peace in solidarity.
Peaceful Warrior.

O.B.O. A.E.C.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

I N V I T A T I O N to T E M P L E W O O D

I N V I T A T I O N   to  T E M P L E   W O O D

You are warmly invited to Temple Wood
On Sunday, 18th May
For an introduction to WOODLAND MANAGEMENT
With Kate Berridge of LIVING  LINCS.
From 10am till 12 noon.

And also, if the weather permits, an introduction to the first steps of BUILDING A TRADITIONAL IRISH and BRITISH ECO-DWELLING, commonly called a bender.
From 1pm until 5.30pm

Please bring wellies or stout boots, water proof warm clothes, your own food ( Sorry at present there’s no facilities to feed you ) and your own drinks and water for the day. Washing water for hands will be provided.
You need to be reasonably healthy for the second activity and willing to use a hole in the ground for a toilet.

TEMPLE WOOD is a woodland allotment in Buslingthorpe woods, near Friesthorpe, Lincolnshire.
Postcode: LN3 5AT
…you can find it on google earth.

This is a Mutual Aid Activity and all visitors will be very welcome. Please let me know if you are coming:

Kate 01507 328 689 or

Blessed Be

This is an event that Kate Berridge is hosting at her site in Buslingthorpe woods, as part of her activities in association with Abundant Earth Community, of which she is a core member. Please call Kate to get any further help with directions to the site which is off the road marked by the pointer on google maps.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Getting the flow flowing...

Encouragingly we have been doing some pretty amazing things between us all, and now that we have offered our individual talents, services, skills and resources to the A.E.C. we are likely to get to a place where sharing becomes an everyday feature of peoples lives. This will not be a bad thing, way too little real sharing (altruism) goes on presently in society, yet there are many wonderful examples to cheer us along being done both here in Lincoln and the wider community if we look and see. We are hoping that through the A.E.C.  a new wave of collective activity and collaboration, working cooperatively will flood the world around us with positivity and love, and set a bench mark of community spirit to be sought after. The skills and talents of each person whom have already expressed their interest in getting involved are wide and varied, giving us hope that everything can be seen as opportunities to learn and incorporate our determined efforts to do something alternative. Our world needs pioneers, people like the Rochdale Pioneers who set the Co-operative movement well and truly on its way. Almost two hundred years later, the ethics of those early men and women, their core Values and Principles are still a beacon of hope to people who see that the purely capitalist way of working is seriously flawed and bound by much greediness. Co-operatives are different, they are by the people for the people. Though some current  activities of the Co-op Group are being called into question, (and rightly so) the actual values and principles of co-operation when properly implemented, can be seen as a well thought out development tool for the common and hard working man in the street to feel as an equal in society. Solidarity is about working together and sharing the resources eqitably. 
A new project that is also underway here in Lincoln, and will heavily compliment the A.E.C. is being heralded as the best COMMUNITY ACTIVITY PROJECT FOR DECADES. Soon to open this summer in the old 'BIG WOK' building on Beaumont Fee it will have a hefty mantle to carry, but in many ways it will be the best chance Lincoln has had in a very long time to be truly a collective and co-operative venture. BECAUSE it has very little to do with making money. Of course there have been many projects paid for by us the taxpayers that have benefitted Lincoln and Lincolnshire, and we are grateful to all of them. The new venture, titled LINCOLN-SHARE is observably different. It will house a variety of groups that are offering their services to the community and general public that are provided for free or low cost activity participation. Groups such as the already established Revival Lincoln's community well-being activity centre, Therapists Cooperative Consortium, Hack-space Lincoln, The Social Science Centre, Transition Town Lincoln, General Practice, and newer recently developing groups like our Abundant Earth Community amongst others, will have space and resource facilities available to them for development and shared activity. 
So its another helping up hand to our aims and objectives. If you'd like to know more about what we are hoping to achieve then please read all the previous blog items. If you seriously want to be part of the creation of this group A.E.C. and or any of the others mentioned, then all you need to do is get involved and in touch with us, letting us know how you feel that you could co-operate effectively as part of this group. We are going to begin with more frequent meetings for the core group, strategising and directing our joint efforts, and also hold regular informal gatherings for new people to come and find out what we are doing and how we are developing the Abundant Earth Community.
The time is now for change, so please come and get involved with us. We are all about change that is both productive and sustainable and you are the key players in this....
 Click icons below
to contact us.
We look forward to hearing from you all.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Logo and brand ...

Some of the members have been having a discussion about the way in which we might try to move things on a bit with regards to the branding of our project and ideas. We think that we would all like to be involved in this undertaking, and yet observe and understand the time constraints of many of the group that will form the core committee/group of the Abundant Earth Community. Creating a change will take time and the speed we can travel is often limited to the participation of our members, so we urge everyone to at least offer your suggestions based upon what we outline here. A newer member has committed an amount of his time and expertise already to come up with the image above. It is hoped that anyone else who has any ideas to come forward and make those suggestions. The idea is possibly not to get too trendy and committed to branding ourselves, as much as being able to quickly indicate our aims through a visual tool. 
I like the images that describe Earth care for example. Another suggestion is that an Acorn and or Oak tree might give a clue as to the structure and strength we hope our movement can achieve. We feel sure that Permaculture principles of Earth Care, People Care and Share of Resources are key to what we can invest in our journey. But we just don't know yet. We also hope that a Consensus Decision Making process can be how we make all of the major determining factors of our venture run smoothly and give everyone a voice. So could anyone who is determined to become a fully fledged member, please both sign in as a follower of the blog and other connection tools, (Twitter-Facebook-etc) and leave their thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of the post or by email.
The way this all works is entirely up to us. So please let us, the current participants and blog posters have your thoughts and let's see what magic we can make in our city, environment and world.
We also have to work on a final draft of our constitution so anyone needing access to dropbox and the other relevant information please just ask, there are no big secrets here....

We look forward to all comments and debate.

Love n light.