BY: STEFANIE PHILLIPS
In the mountain range of the Czech Republic, beside the Slovakian border is a village of houses made from natural materials, all built by the residents that occupy them. The Ekoosade—ecoVillages in English—is isolated from the rest of civilization in a community where most of their goods and services come from a trade and barter system.
The village is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people realize that a healthy and self-sustaining lifestyle is within their reach.
They do this by living sustainable lives themselves and providing courses that teach others to do the same by building their own homes out of recycled and natural materials. Through retreat-like courses, taught by spiritual leaders of the organization, people learn the pros and cons of each natural material available in hands-on activities.
Some of the materials include hay, clay, sand, water, grass, wood, wool, straw, hemp and wood shavings.
Travellers Tania Sheehy and Jiri Suchanek of the blog, Plan B Didn’t Work visited the Natural Building School and completed a ten day course back in July and August of this year. The couple took the course to learn how to pursue an off-grid lifestyle of their own.
“We took the course to learn how to live a more natural lifestyle and surround ourselves with nature including our home and what it is made out of,” Sheehy told The Plaid Zebra.
The couple plans to take what they’ve learned and settle down in Australia where they will build their own off-grid home out of natural materials.
During their stay in the ecoVillages they learned how to make fermented natural plaster, where to get free recycled windows and bricks, and how to make clay ovens perfect for pizza.
EcoVillages is funded by the courses people like Sheehy and Suchanek pay for as well as donations. The organization won’t accept donations or grants from institutions that contribute to the collapse of nature and society, as mentioned on their website.
For a 10-day course the fee is roughly 11,000 Czech Republic Koruna or $455 US. Another school in Oregon provides a similar course for $4,500 US, although the Oregon program is six weeks long and provides graduates with a natural building certificate.