Three Eco Villages: local productions and rural cooperative traditions

Organised by public works and Ispara

The trip is visiting three "eco-villages" and one Berlin based cooperative which represent very different aspects and scales of ecological living and production. All initiatives started during the 90ies in areas of the former GDR and have developed their own specific forms of economical and social structures.


Large scale organic farming and nature conservation.

Brodowin is a privately owned commercial enterprise which was founded in 1991 by bringing together two former GDR cooperatives. The business employs 60 local staff, many who have been members of the former GDR cooperative. The Demeter Farm produces organic food (veg, dairy, meet) for local and regional distribution - mainly Berlin. It is involved in creating sustainable local and regional employment, organic food production and nature conservation. A current research project looks into the development of economically viable concepts for integrating conservation objectives into modern organic farming, and to test them in practice ("Conservation Farm").

Gut Stolzenhagen

The former estate was also used as a LPG cooperative during the GDR, but became abandoned and started to decay after 1989. Since 1994 different groups and initiatives have tried to inhabit and develop the estate for communcal living and activities. In 1999 it became the association Gut Stolzenhagen/Oder e.V and in 2004 it was transformed into a coop which also introduced consensus as the governing rule (instead of decisions by majority). The coop is organised in neighbourhoods which are self-organised and are involved in numerous forms of production. One of renowned cultural initiatives is the annual "Tanzland Festivals" organised by ponderosa dance.


Siebenlinden started in 1989 as a collective initiative to create a self-efficient ecological village. Since 1997 it has settled "on the green fields" outside the village of Poppau and is in a continiuos process of constructing a village with its various social and physical aspects (sustainable building, permaculture, culture)

It's structured in three organisational strands, a settler's cooperative whch owns the land (82 members), Friends of Siebelinden who run the cultural and educational activities and a Housing cooperative (78 members), and is organised in five neighbourghoods.

Siebenlinden is going to be Germany's Centre of "straw bale constructions" (in German "Deutsches Strohballenzentrum") and the founder of its national professional association, plus already showcasing numerous constructions in the village.


The second phase of the COLCHESTER INN project has started and we are beginning to collaborate with three new groups: a group of 3D students from Colchester Institute, the Colchester Timebank group and a group with individuals who for their own very different reasons want to get involved.

The last group will be meeting this Friday, 9th April at 18.30 at firstsite in Colchester. Please feel free to join, and just bring along something you might use at home to host others. A cake, a nice table cloth, a special dish, a table...?