Eco-villages, Kin’s Domains and New Farmers: 25 Years of the Modern ‘Back to the Land’ Movement in Russia/CIS.

Horse farm “Nest of Winds”. Belarus. Photo by Elga Papova

The first version of this text was published in the GEN Russia Newsletter in 2019 (GEN Russia is the ‘Russian Ecovillages & Initiatives Union‘). The version below is updated and expanded (January 2020). See also this text’s version in Russian. Internet links refer to the sites with English versions where it’s possible, otherwise its Russian or Google-translated links.

Introduction

Over the last four years of my life among those who have moved from cities to rural areas on the territory of the former USSR, I began to develop several sets of “generalized portraits” of such internal migrants. From these sets emerges the “classification” or “typologization” for the modern post-urban lifestyles.

I propose to consider the presented generalizations as a base for reflection, and the “sets” — not as hinged and nailed labels, but as the sets that can be rearranged and to be changed in their structure. Please, feel free to add examples that confirm and refute the classification.

I write this text taking in mind the reader who is not familiar with the back-to-the-land theme. He or she can get into it without prior preparation. In some cases, I give links to my reports on places visited. I have not been to the Urals, Siberia and Altai (in particular, the Vissarion’s community in Siberia and the Roerich’s community in the Uimon Valley), so I did not take into account the processes in these regions. I do not do quantitative estimates — this is a question for scientists. I’ll be glad to the proposed adjustments and extensions of the lists below.

I describe two classifications.

First classification: by residence type and ideological basis

“Population” — ‘Settlements-in’ (Заселения)

Newcomers in an existing village where there are local people (with the idea of ​​developing a local community/territory or without it). Moving with a clearly expressed idea of ​​village development is a rarity, but noticeable. For example, Resource Center and NGO “Kaykino’s Creative Projects” (Leningrad Region) by the Grachevs family and NP “RESURS” (Arkhangelsk region) by Kulyasovs family.

The village field near the Kulyasovs’ farm. Photo by Stanislav Ankudinov

The largest “settlement-ins” I’ve been are in Adygea Republic (part of Russian Fedearation) and the Absheron region of the Krasnodar Region (since you can buy an old house in good condition, and locals are not so prone to alcohol ailments). One of the obvious motives for people there is to “move into the warm climate and live under the sun”. Newcomers integrate into the existing infrastructure, just barely changing their way of life. On average, it is from 10 to 25 redeemed houses per village.

An adobe dome house in the Barakaevskaya village. Photo from the album https://vk.com/album133694510_239353373 the hostess of the house Alexandra Kabanova

In the post-Soviet space, both the countries’ local nationalities that have become independent (Latvians, Belarusians, Kazakhs) and the Russian-speaking citizens living in the country are moving from cities to the land. I visited “back to the landers” in Latvia and Belarus (see the report’s second part).

Ecovillages (экопоселения)

In Russia, each founder or group of founders put in this concept their own set of values ​​and rules. More or less general characteristics are about ‘attempts to respect nature’. On the Russian Ecovillages and Eco-Initiatives Union website there are 8 participants, the self-identification of which contains the word ‘ecovillage’. In Russian Federation, there is at least one more lived-in collective farm field, the founders, who called their initiative ecovillage — “Tsitsa”. I don’t know of any general text (manifesto, feature-list or something like that) where it would be written what can be in the ecovillage in Russia and what cannot be in it. Geographically, ecological villages are created both based on existing traditional villages, and as ‘grassroots’ on former agricultural lands.

Kin’s domains settlements (Поселения родовых поместий — ПРП)

The ideological basis of the kin’s domain villages (ПРП) is a book series (10 volumes) by an author and entrepreneur Vladimir Megre. Its ‘back to the land’ ideas are given in the literary epic form. It’s about:

  • family values,
  • restoration of the kin (family continuum in the past, the present, and the future);

and the way of living, e.g.:

  • hectare format (each family creates its ‘space of love’ on a land of 1 hectare or a bit more),
  • vegetarianism,
  • growing own food on the own hectare,
  • green hedge.
The “The Ringing Cedars of Russia” asian edition bookcover.

Geographically, these are redeemed collective farm fields or extinct villages. Land may not be owned by specific people, but by a non-profit partnership (NP), the share of which belongs to a person or a family. The NP has a charter that regulates the new members’ admission to the community, the exclusion of the rules malicious violators, decisionmaking formats and other important to the community questions. According to Russian religious scholars, the Anastasievites (‘анастасиевцы’) — Ringing Cedars’ Anastasianism movement (as its often called), as they call people who have accepted ideas from books, cannot be called a sect. According to scientific terminology, this is a new religious movement — see the link to the Yulia Andreeva dissertation at the end of this text. ПРПs are successfully established not only in Russia, they are also in Ukraine, Belarus and other countries around the world. The list of foreign ПРПs on Anastasia.ru now counts 131 villages (I visited one of the oldest Belarusian ПРПs is ‘Zvon-gora’ in the Vitebsk region). Belarus ПРПs are listed at a web-site created by a back-to-the-lander in a half-abandoned village.

Thematic intentional communities (тематические поселения/общины)

There are unifying values ​​and/or common purpose/business. For instance:

Village “Orion”. Photos from the village site.

The social village “Svetlana Camphill” (Leningrad Region), founded in 1992 as part of the international Camphill movement, rooted in the Rudolf Steiner philosophy. About half of the 40 inhabitants of the latter are people with mental disorders or in need of a special approach.

Since 2015, it has been developing dynamically in the Tula region “Yasnaya Sloboda”, an eco-village with a Waldorf kindergarten and a school.

The ethno-village SVETOGORIE (СВѢТОГОРЬЕ) in the Pskov region, a team specializing in research and education in the field of Russian and Slavic traditions and culture, has been looking for a place for years working in a festival format at different venues. The team settled on their land in 2017.

An old oak in Svetogorie (“Light Mountains”) ethno-village. Photo by the author.

In the Pskov region, since 2009, there is “Skvoshino”, which began as a succession of the urban squats with a communal form of life. This is currently a network of households. I’ve never been there, but as of the fall of 2019, I know that life goes on there.

Sub-villages, sub-settlers (to ПРП, eco-village, thematic intentional communities) — Подселения

If for any reason it’s impossible or inconvenient for a person or family to join a ПРП, ecovillage or other type of back-to-the-land projects in some territories, it is possible to find land in the neighborhood and settle down without being obliged to follow the all community’s rules and values and negotiate all the details with the core team and at the same time live not far from them as with comfortable neighbors.

The most remarkable of all the examples I know is the sub-settlers in the ПРП “Milenki”, where kin’s domains and sub-settlers’ households are often just separated by a road. Another example is when a Slavic-Vedic citizen moves in a village, where the cluster of villages is populated with those gravitated to an Orthodox monastery.

Probably, the project “Dobraya Zemlya” (Kind Land) in the Vladimir region, which originated in 2011, can be attributed as sub-village (not limited only to this category). This is a regional public association and a ‘hectare settlement’ with family values ​​and a focus on educational projects (e.g. annual “Festival on Kind Land“).

Photo from the music program “Festival on Kind Land 2019”. Photo: Lyubov Svetlova.

The “Kind Land” specific is that it is located and operates close to the emerging ‘cluster’ of ПРП, which not all of the ПРП’s residents approve of.

Standalone Small Farm (farmstead) (хутор)

The owners often have large-scale or simply successful businesses in the city and therefore are self-sufficient in their desire to live on land — you can live without close neighbors nearby. Examples: the German Sterligov’s farm (Moscow Region, founder is a quite notorious media person and the first post-soviet miillionare), a former collective farm apple orchard in the Krasnodar Region, now owned by an entrepreneur from Yaroslavl, Kormilo farm in Karelia, inhabited by the family of an entrepreneur from Nizhny Novgorod, Viktor Sergienko’s “Koshasty” survival farm in Ukraine.

For the Baltic countries (as well as for the Republic of Karelia and Finland) the standalone farm format was initially familiar.

Also noticeable is the “subspecies” when the farm lives a full lifecycle, and the owners come over from time to time. Usually, it is under operation by workers from neighboring with Russia states (since local people disagree to employ themselves on similar conditions), ensuring the continuity of the annual farm cycle, caring for animals, and preserving food, etc. This form is usually subsidized by the main businesses of the farm owners.

Non-core individual/family forms within classified communities

These people ‘fill’ the mentioned above five community types.

“Summer settlers” (дачники) come in the summer and on holidays, preparing themselves for years to leave their city jobs or waiting for retirement to move to the land for permanent residence.

Dead souls (мертвые души) — people own land (and sometimes buildings) in a settlement/village, but they do not appear there.

Returnees (возвращенцы) are local village-rural people who left for cities to work and/or get an education; for men, it is also a military service in the Soviet/Russian army and further jobs at the service’s places. Unlike the majority of fellow villagers who had left their relatives in the “village” and got used to urban life, they found that their interests lie outside the cities and returned with their “expanded” experience and horizons to their motherland (a family house in the village or a bought or newly-build house in surroundings). It is easier for them to live for their life in rural areas and they value it (often in contrast to their non-traveling fellow villagers). They easily find contact with newcomers from cities, including earning money from them. For back-to-the-landers, “returnees” are often an important source of experience and a “bridge” to the local community, its values and lifestyle.

An outstanding story of the return may be the Old Believers relocation from Latin America to Russia. There are precedents and the process may continue — this is reported material by Mitya Aleshkovsky.

Nomads, sycophants (кочевники, приживальцы) are often single men, single mothers, although there are families. They do not rush to settle on a specific place. The reasons are different. Someone needs a partner to settle down. Someone, very slowly, chooses the neighbors, climate, jobs, lifestyle. Someone simply does not have the financial resource to buy land and build a house (in the latter case, it may be refugees from the conflict regions of the post-Soviet space). They collaborate with any permanently living family that provides them with shelter and food in exchange for help with the housework. It happens that they rent housing themselves and earn money by part-time work, remote work, alimony, pensions. I found myself just in the category of “nomads” in roles:

  • the viceroy on the estate of the “absentee” for a month or a year of owners (house and animals care)
  • volunteer helping with the household and children, and a tutor in school subjects

Probably, the well-known Russian ecologist Roman Sablin with his family are such nomads. They live in the suburbs across Russia, involved in various ecological projects.

‘Evictions’ (выселенцы) — individuals and families who have moved to the foreign state’s land (without changing citizenship or with a change). They do it in favor of a better climate or social environment. I am aware of cases of eviction with resettlement in Serbia (more than 3 households) and Abkhazia (more than 20 households). I believe that geography is broader.

Foreigners are citizens born in countries that are considered prosperous, successfully conducting business on Russian soil. The most famous are:

  • Farmer Justus Walker (funny milkman) in the Altai Territory (on his YouTube channel talks about his everyday life) — a native of the United States.
  • Businessman and cheesemaker John Kopiski was born in London. Head of the dairy and agro-tourism complex ‘Bogdarnya’ in the Vladimir region.

Town-shifters — (move from big cities to small towns) this phenomenon is noticeable. There are options for: from Moscow — to regional centers (Sebezh, Borisoglebsky) — professionals in creative industries, entrepreneurs, pensioners. Life in a small town is more familiar and there are usually more opportunities for employment and culture activities. I have repeatedly met options for a double shift: from capitals to villages (eco and ПРП), and from there (after several years of settlement experiments) to towns nearby the settlement (Kaluga, Sortavala, Sukhumi) for work and a school for children. A well-equipped country house turns into an “advanced” nearby dacha or already something more, but not yet a self-sufficient household. I later described the phenomenon in a separate text “Town shifting — from big cities to small towns. Demegapolization of common sense”.

Second classification: generations (waves)

I’ve found three generations or ‘waves’. The dating boundaries and processes are also very, very arbitrary. Just to have something to build on.

I — the 90s. Intelligentsia and Orthodoxy

The intelligentsia goes to the land to farm, the first eco-village are founded (“Grishino” and “Yasnoe” in the Leningrad region, Nevo-Ecovil in Karelia), the thematic villages of “Kitezh” (adopted children) and Svetlana (CampHill). In terms of the number of residents of more than 7–9 wintering families, these early initiatives did not grow. The success of “Kitezh” can be called the fact that its graduate founded a new similar village “Orion”.

The Russian Orthodox Church gets monasteries back. It is the start of the migration process to the countryside — neighboring villages and small towns begin to be populated by Orthodox people from cities. I met one of the most noticeable such a cluster in the Nizhny Novgorod region, in the big village of Diveevo (which according to orthodox prophecy will become a city in the last times) [see the context in stories about bread and goats].

In this period, a large Orthodox community had started in the Yaroslavl region, uniting at least 5 parishes and communities, including a public school with an Orthodox community and one community that broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church. This is one of the largest “back-to-the-land cluster” I have ever seen. I will not undertake to accurately estimate the number. I think more than 120 families. The cluster’s spiritual and geographical center is the Borisoglebsky Monastery.

Borisoglebsky on the Estuary Monastery. Photo from Mikhail Aritkin’s LiveJournal https://aritkin.livejournal.com/33422.html

Many monasteries, starting from these times, began to build subsidiary farms (up to breeding ostriches and in some cases reaching almost industrial scale for the production of, for example, dairy products in Nilo-Stolbenskaya Pustosh’).

II — 2000s. Kin’s domains

Initiative groups by Megre’s books readers redeem former collective farm fields and create kin’s domain settlements (поселения родовых поместий — ПРП). The most noticeable in the west-central part of Russia for the current day:

  • ПРП Kovcheg (‘Ark’), which also positions itself as an eco-village, about 60 families in ​​120 hectares area, founded in 2001),
  • ПРП Milenki. Founded in 2006. From 25 to 60 wintering families (according to various sources), as well as about a hundred on a ‘dacha’ basis.

Both villages are located in the Kaluga region. In the Yaroslavl region, there are variations on the ПРП topic — СРП (commonwealth of kin’s domains) “Blagodat’” and СПРП — the community of kin’s domain settlements “Blagodarnoe”. In the Pskov region, the founder of one of the oldest The Kholomki has become a regional deputy. So she continues to improve its living environment — fixing the nearest roads and advocating the interests of settlers in front of state bodies. In the Belgorod region, the kin domain ideas are supported by the governor, back in 2010 there was established the law on kin domains, which, however, did not significantly affect the situation with ПРП in the region. There are ПРПs in the Krasnodar Region and in the Crimea. In the northern regions, I managed to find only ПРП “Karelskoye Zales’e” (“Karelian Forest”) where at least more than two households reside permanently and there are external events. The ПРПs are also noticeable in Belarus.

Vegetable garden in the Mishurny family kin’s domain in the ПРП Zvon-Gora (Republic of Belarus). Photo by Alla Mishurnaya

III — 2010s. Mixed types of settlements and another wave of “back-to-the-land” farming

The land, ‘fertilized’ by the life and labors of those from the first two resettlement waves, is already becoming much more attractive for the wider audience from cities. The local population, which was often heavily drunk, drank almost to self-destruction, and the availability of the Internet in terms of geography and cost became more than acceptable for any needs. The results of the settlement by the first two waves (acquired territories, newly built or well-maintained infrastructure, back-to-the-landers’ reports about their wonderful life in nature on social networks) are noticeable — all this reduces the entry threshold for newcomers. Families that are well-established in their citylife start to move to the land. Their sentimental and dream expectations are relatively low, and the practicality is high enough.

The main idea of ​​the third wave is to improve the quality of one’s own life.

Their features are:

  • “eco-consumption”,
  • respect for the environment,
  • tolerance of the neighbors’ values and lifestyle,
  • understanding the need for collaboration with each other, local residents and institutions and the cities.

Examples are the already mentioned “Kind Land” in the Vladimir Region and the ‘free families village ‘Chistoe Nebo’ (‘Clear Sky’) in Pskov Region on the basis of three extinct villages, 2–3 hectares per family, (25 wintering families, + 5 over the past year).

In the summer of 2019, the “Chistoe Nebo’ residents organized The Pskov Shining” (Pskovskoe Siyanie) — a holiday-meeting of Pskov Region residents of the kin’s domains and eco-villages. Where, in fact, two meetings happened — one for children about acquaintance and games, and one for adults — about cooperation.

The Pskov region the back-to-the-landers meeting in “Chistoe Nebo”. Photo: Alexander Aleksiev

Settlements/villages were initially created based on the Megre’s books, for example, one of the oldest settlements, the Kovcheg, gradually come to this mixed type. In the Krasnodar region, there is the noticeable Zdravoye village (founded in 2013, more than 30 families — I have not been to it, therefore not a verified number), less known eco-village “Tsitsa”, a “mixed type” example.

The third wave back-to-the-landers are less likely to become new villages founders (apparently due to their practicality). More often they settle in existing projects, bringing their energy and business (making things done) experience. And if they nevertheless decide on a new initiative — they become founders, then they manage to avoid some of the mistakes of the founders of the first two waves. I have seen such an example in proto-ecovillage on the Kilpola island in Karelia.

Lists and a map of settlements (ecovillages and kin’s domains villages) are maintained on the site http://poselenia.ru/

In the same period, I discover the “second wave of farming”. The citizens’ well-being and their interest in “eco-food” are growing so significantly that it becomes possible to feed a new generation of farmers, which is again appeared from the back-to-the-landers involved in animal husbandry and diary, and even not far from the capitals (see stories about Moscow and Petersburg). It can be “returnees”. In the Pskov region a local resident, after military service, returned to his native village in the Sebezh district, where he began to grow vegetables. A significant number of his clients are the ‘Chistoe Nebo’ villagers and Sebezh customs officers.

Photo from the VK group “Andrei Mulinsky’s Farm” (Pskov Region)

New farmers sell their food via both their connections in the city and social networks and organizations that combine trading platforms (taking into account the suppliers’ reputation) and delivery services, for example:

Community supported agriculture (CSA) model is in use at Tula region — ‘Forest Gardens’ farm (“Лесные сады”).

In the same ‘new farmers’ league agrotourism is becoming one of the key activities. The farm in this case can contain very exotic forms of animal husbandry — from snails in the Yaroslavl region (see the middle of this report) to reindeer (the ‘Forest Hut’) and ostriches on the Australian Farm in Leningrad and Alpacas in Karelia. Ostrich breeders — veterans of agrotourism — they started their business in the first wave of relocations. Someone focuses more on the farm, for example, The Green Mile, someone at the equestrian club — Akulovo Ecopark, successfully succeeds somewhere. combine several directions — the YasnoPole Ecopark. Those who are closer to Moscow are doing better.

The First Private Cheese Factory in Sebezh (photo from https://vk.com/deliciouscheese)

Probably the most popular form of processing their own or neighboring products among new farmers is cheese making. ‘New cheese makers’ is, perhaps, an interesting phenomenon not only economically, but also sociologically — and requires a separate large study.

‘Lazy’ Gardeners

Interest in growing food for self-sufficiency and sale is growing gradually and is characterized by a diverse ideological and theoretical basis. Agriculture practitioners and experimenters in this area can be found in any of the previously mentioned migrants’ types. I briefly describe here a “theoretical context”.

Traditional summer cottage (dacha) planting with regional gardeners’ clubs and such authors, smart and “lazy” gardening approach popularizers like Nikolay Kurdyumov, Boris Bublik, and Valery Zhelezov have gained significant applied experience. There are more authors and their number is growing. I helped with planting to a gardener from Omsk in a village in the Krasnodar Region Sergey Sidorenko. He does localization for various plants and writes books about smart gardening.

Book by Sergey Sidorenko about smart gardening

From the everyday routine, the growing food becomes a spiritual practice. This approach is supported by the stories from Vladimir Megre’s books about Anastasia. What is also narrated by another author, known within back-to-the-landers — Vladimir Serkin. Serkin’s character in the series about the “shaman” living in harmony with nature, has been gardening in the Yaroslavl region for some time.

In line with this background, there is growing interest in the foreign experience of nature-friendly organic farming without chemicals and the agricultural machinery intensive use. The most popular theory and practice is the permacultural approach formulated by the Australians Mollison and Holmgren, as well as Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer experience. At the junction of these two approaches in Russia appeared “Holzer Permaculture Center”, a company that since 2009 has been researching and teaching environmental technologies for self-sufficient households and industrial farms.

Books by Masanobu Fukuoka a japanese scientist who became a peasant philosopher were also translated. Maria Thun’s biodynamic planting calendar has been published in Russia since 1998. Calendar’s publishers, founders of NGO “Biodynamics” — a married couple from St. Petersburg themselves annually work on their biodynamic farm, collecting good harvests and organizes international biodynamic agriculture seminars.

There are a significant number of disappointed readers of such inspiring books — they say they tried it, it does not grow, and the Holzer’s beds do not help, etc. While others successfully grow figs in the Lipetsk region, and tomatoes in the open soil in Karelia work out, and walnuts in the Moscow suburbs.

Figs in the Lipetsk region. Dacha gardener Nikolai Selivanov https://vk.com/id319134196

(Self)writers

Some of former citizens have enough time to write about their back to the land theories and practices. There are hundreds of bloggers, but those who dare for a book (or a film) are still a few.

Alyona Sterligova, ‘Beaten by the Husband’ book author. She is the aforementioned German Sterligov’s wife. Alyona writes about the ideological and practical foundations of their family life in the countryside and how they came to this life. ‘Beatiness” is surely a hyperbole, so of the Sterlgovs’ media language.

Cyril Pristaychuk’s book “Transformations by the Village”. Cyril and his family at first tried to live in a settlement, but then settled in an ordinary village. Cyril writes about the changes in his worldview and practices.

Murmansk born Alexander Ivanov, a psychotherapist with the nomadic soul, manages to magically combine hitchhiking (with his children) with life in Chachzhaevka, an ecovillage in Altai. Only on a back to the land topic he published books “We Build a Village”, “Sustainability as a Way of Life”, “Living in the Forest, Praying to the Wheel” and ‘Together’.

Bookcover ‘“Sustainability as a Way of Life”, from author’s site http://ivanovishe.ru/

Mikhail Ermakov, up on his living in the ‘Tsitsa eco-village’ (without electricity from the grid and roads) and participating in the Rainbow Gatherng festival and analyzing the intentonal community history describes an alternative vision for community life in the countryside in the book “Free love Commune”.

Ivan Kulyasov, the “Ecovllages” book author. Among the scientists studying the topic of modern rural life and really living in a village (doing appropriate life/economy), I managed to find only eco-sociologists Antonin and Ivan Kulyasovs. Antonina writes only in the scientific articles ‘genre’, while Ivan combines his articles into books.

Vadim Karabinsky, a well-known the “Ringing Cedars of Russia” movement’s activist, resident at the ‘Karelskoye Zalesie’ kins doman settlement. He made the film “Kin domains of Russia” in 2009. In 2019–2020 he started the latest version and crowdfunds for it.

Migrants Incubation: Festivals

The story of the townspeople learning to live together in nature will not be complete without festivals that you come with your tent. There are temporary settlements (usually from a week to a month), where the interaction between people and nature is “dense”.

In the post-Soviet space, one of the prototypes of this format was probably Rainbow Gathering, imported from the US. From the “Rainbow”, other healthy lifestyle/musical festivals gradually budded or appeared independently. I participated in the ‘Otkytie’ (“Discovery”) Festival (there is a report) and in the Russian “Rainbow” and has dropped the ‘Nature Man’ (‘Ditya Prirody’) and ‘Voskhozdenie’ (“Ascension”) — positive creativity festival in. Such “congresses of seekers” often play the incubators’ role — people get used to living without the usual urban amenities, and some get to know each other and move to the land as a family.

‘Nature Man’ (‘Ditya Prirody’) Festval. Photo from the official VK group

If a festival’s venue allows it, then gradually a permanent settlement may start in its vicinity, as, for example, in the case of ‘Ascension’, which takes place annually in the Janet river valley (known for its dolmens) near Geledzhik town in Krasnodar Region.

Conclusion

Fourth wave

The first three “back-to-the-land waves” formed a completely prosperous and sometimes even a “vanilla-rainbow” way of life in the countryside, created not even “growth points”, but local communities to which newcomers can join and choose neighbors who are similar in spirit, beliefs, and practices. In people, texts, photos, and videos gained experience on the most successful ways of moving and forms of arrangement.

The journalists’ view has changed from:

“These strange people”

into

“Maybe we don’t understand something, but they’ve gotten well settled!”

For example, documentary ‘Alienated Happiness’ (2017, the channel “Russia-24” ~ 30 minutes) exclusively about ‘Chistoe Nebo’. There’s also Moscow Times’ short video about one of the families in this ecovillage with English subtitles.

What will be in the next wave, can it be expected in the 2020s, what changes will it bring? The future has already arrived, it’s just not evenly distributed — fragments of answers to these questions can be found in the history of various forms of back to the land in Europe and the Americas, where these processes began back in the 60–70s of the XX century.

Charlottendals Gård eco-village in Sweden. Photo from the settlement page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Charlottendal/

For a year now I have been immersed with great interest in the rural environment and farm work in Scandinavia (on the one hand, it is Europe, on the other hand, population density and climate are closer to Russian than, say, Germany or Holland). In Sweden, a local scientist Dick Magnusson has already counted four generations of eco-villages. The trend that I see in Scandinavia at the moment is that one of the key ideas in moving to land and living on it — is self-sufficiency — at least for food and electricity. This is what Dick writes about Sweden and Eeva Houtbeckers about Finland (see links at end of this article).

References

About the author

After 12 years in IT/Telecom/Education industries as an engineer, analyst, community builder, university relations coordinator, writer, and social entrepreneur I’ve started to live a simple life in the countryside researching and practicing approaches to ecology, self-sufficiency, and zero-waste. My notes on this research are at Medium’s ‘Country Side Settlers’. I’m an associate member of Global Ecovillage Network Russia.

I also write a blog about education and business ecosystems since 2005. I’m a co-founder at Mathlingvo initiative — community for computational linguistics in Russia, apartment project ‘HomeWork’ one of the first coworkings and education hubs in Russia and Game|Changers program — the ad-hoc environment for bright students to learn and acquire ‘can do’ skills and attitude doing real-world projects.

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Горожане на земле. Села, деревни, поселения.

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