In Northern Sweden,
250 km north of Stockholm, you find Söderhamn's municipality and the village
Mobodarne. Ten years ago a building project started here. It started out as
a small conference centre with an ecological signature. Today it has grown into
an ecology centre with many different activities. The found ation for all our
activities is the idea that the Earth should be used in a responsible manner
and not used up, as it is today. We want to develop tools and systems for longlasting
settlement, and we gather much inspiration from the concept of 'permaculture.'
We want to reach all categories of people, not just
those who already have an interest in nature and the environment. So we try
to have a broad range of activities and we cooperate with organisations, schools,
companies and authorities. Our aim is to greet people with a positive attitude
and to spread ideas about caring for and nurturing both people and the environment.
Växhuset is cooperating with the municipality,
the employment office, companies and many other organisations. Wide cooperation
is for us a necessary condition for running a large and successful project.
Växhuset is the name of the first
building at Ekocentrum. It houses a greenhouse with a café, a conference hall
and an idea workshop. Using reused material has been important in this building.
The insulation, for example, is made from recycled and ground newspaper. The
building was built with the electrically hypersensitive in mind and is built
completely without chlorine based plaster. The surface treatment is done with
linseed oil, soft soap and silt color. Wood and sun heats the building. The
air intake runs through two forty-metre long pipes two metres below ground level,
which preheats the air. The air further warms up in the greenhouse and from
there it is circulated into the adjacent conference centre. The sun brings heat
through the greenhouse, and the plants bring oxygen to the conference centre.
Almost all refuse is sorted and reused, including faeces and urine.
One current project is building a sewage facility.
A root zone will utilize the nutrients in the grey water - from dish- and laundrywater.
The plants can be harvested and composted, thereby returning the nutrients to
the garden. One basic problem in the industrial world is that nutrients constantly
end up in the wrong places. We want to show that it is possible to circulate
nutrients, thereby escaping the need to add additional nutrients. Our goal is
to be able to produce all of the food we serve our guests. In return, we expect
a donation of urine in our bathrooms. In that way we will maintain the nutrition
In addition to the conference centre, we have a workshop, a hen- and resource management
house and "Solcellen" (The Solar Cell), a 12-sided guest house. All electricity
to "Solcellen" comes from 12 volt solar panels. In the guest house it will be
possible also for electrically hypersensitive people to live. At Ekocentrum
we run environmental education, solar power courses, gardening courses, ecological
design and building courses and so on. We arrange lectures, receives study visits
and offer environmental education days for teachers and school classes.
Our latest project is the construction of an "earthship",
which is a solar heated house built with a rammed earth technique. The walls
and foundation consist of used automobile tires which are packed with dirt,
gravel and rock pounded hard with a sledge hammer. The walls are finished off
with a mix of earth and sand, and may also be painted. The massive walls provide
a storage unit for the solar heat received during warm summer days, which is
then released during cool nights and winter days. Large windows oriented towards
the south utilize a maximum of solar gain and provide a pleasant living environment
as well as ample opportunities for cultivation - in spite of our cold climat.
Wind power and solar panels will provide electricity and hot water.
Växhuset's youth group arranges environmental camps
and exchanges with youth in other countries. Our youth has visited other European
countries as well as some of the world's poor countries. These exchanges are
a very good way to engage youth in the environmental movement. They learn a
lot, and they increase their understanding of the world's need for environmental
and equality work. Changing the world must begin where you live. We must learn
to 'close the circle' locally and to use instead of use up the Earth. For this,
permaculture is an excellent tool. We believe that the best way to spread information
is by showing practical examples. That is why we keep developing Ekocentrum
Mobodarne. Our aim is to make Ekocentrum a living textbook in permaculture.
In the summer we welcome volunteers to come and
enjoy work and life here at Ekocentrum. Please contact us by email for more
information. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to come for a visit or to join a course or a camp here at Ekocentrum!
Address: Mobodarne 857 S-826 93 Söderhamn Sweden
Telephone: 0046 270 42 70 50