Andy Langford of Gaia University
I have been visiting at Factor E Farm (of Open Source Ecology) now for the past five days. This project has immense potential. We have been discussing marketing strategies, organizational wants/needs etc., upcoming projects etc.
I have several areas of discussion concerning the entire scope of this project, but I want to cut through the chase here and get to one or two items right away: Education and Village Design.
Is there any potential in imagining a sustainable engineering cirriculum and/or agro-ecology cirriculum through Gaia (assuming the reaching-out to and acquiring of appropriate advisors et al)? It seems to be the perfect venue for such innovations but, currently, I am not seeing the direct and explicit connection within the current curriculum. Am I overlooking something here? I believe that Marcin's project offers a truly unique approach to technological innovation and development. He is offering open-source designs at an almost inexplicable reduced cost--obviously, as "True Fans", we recognize the value of this work. He is also envisioning this potential within the format of a permaculture/eco-village. The opportunities for self-reliance and prosperity are truly real...but there is much work to be done.
Something I have expressly stated to Marcin is the need for a total permaculture site design. As the project currently stands (in my view) we have: Great vision, Great minds, Great work ethic, Great innovation, Great mechanical skills, Great Comprehension. BUT, I have indeed encountered a subtle undertone of disenfranchisement from previous inhabitants due to a lack of "comfortability" or favorable living conditions. In other words, the scope of the project so large and requiring such energy that common comforts have been thrown on the back-burner so to speak. This is partly due to jumping in head first but can be remedied with a proper design and resulting implementation. SO, with this in mind and with the future of this project in my utmost of thoughts, I am trying to imagine how can a world class permaculture design course be developed for Factor E? How can this class lead to future installations of the design? I see volunteers, students and eco-village participants as logical individuals. Is this a realistic possibility? It seems to me the perfect venue for a two week course, actually, wherein the participants actually spend significant portions of their time in 'hands-on' skill(s)-building activities...something that isn't necessarily offered at many PDC's.
I have spoken at length with Greg Landua about this very thing. Prior to arriving here, Greg discussed The Farm's "Global Village Institute" being very interested in the overall scope of the OSE project (Oh, and P.S. my fiancee and I are inn-keepers for the year down at the Eco-Village Training Center). SO, as I see it there could be a potentially very powerful relationship and synergistic energy flow/person flow created within, and among, Factor E, Gaia, and GVI. Is this a plausible vision? Or am I just swimming in convoluted ideas?
Thank you kindly for your time,
Love and Peace,
I am delighted that you have been to Factor E Farm and made the analysis below. I too believe the project to be worthy of full-on support and I am due to write a short proposal to Marcin that outlines a M degree in, lets say as a working title, "Open Source Engineering for Eco-social Regeneration". This to be run by Gaia U international for the time being so as to access the adviser capabilities we have been developing for the past 3 years. Long term the whole program could, of course, be serviced by a local team using the Gaia U Regional Organizing Group model.
I would like to continue this conversation with you by skype (I am having issues typing) and, in any case, the ground around this situation is quite complex - for example, GVI (i.e. Albert) is hard to read right now so what level of practical involvement can be expected from there remains a question ( I would assume 'not very much' right now but that we should leave the door open).
I would also like to get a sense of the community that is surrounding FeF ( the TrueFans Club stands at 20 or so I think) - is this a vibrant enough network to pull together 25 student for a pdc, 15 for a Gaia U Orientation ...
Can you make a time for a Skype chat and/or send me a telephone number and I'll call you ( I am in Mexico on Central Time and Skype-Out calls to USA are cheap).
All the best