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Hello! My name is Benjamin - father of two, physiologist, forager, first time builder
We are looking for people interested in natural building to help build our family home at the Narara Ecovillage, just an hour north of Sydney on the Central Coast of NSW.
We are an owner builder project for a unique home primarily using light straw earth and compressed earth bricks. In time there will be earthen floors, cob rocket benches, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, etc. All our toilets will be composting and we aim to be sustained by only the water which is captured from our roof. Our windows and doors are either recycled or made on site and we will use recycled materials where possible throughout the build. There will be earth tubes and a thermal chimney for passive ventilation and we have designed the home to be as healthy as possible with regards to material choices, EMF's and air quality.
At the Ecovillage there are also other projects at various stages of building and we will facilitate working on those projects as well where it times well with your visit.
The Ecovillage itself is an intergenerational community being developed with environmental, social and economic sustainability in mind and there are often interesting things going on. It's a genuinely peaceful place and most of the site is bushland. We're also surrounded by the Strickland State Forest with some great walks, some tracks for mountain biking and plenty of exploring including an old arboretum with some very special trees. There is a freshwater creek going through interesting layered bush, caves for meditation or contemplation, rocks and boulders to climb, and views all the way to Brisbane Waters from the top.
Help with Eco project
The Ecovillage is a beautiful, peaceful place with lots to see and do. We're surrounded by forest yet close to 'civilisation'.
Our members are eclectic and interesting and will be interested in you too. You might be interested about how the village has evolved, what plans we have for the future, and how we make consensus-based decisions. The Village always has things on which you might like to get involved with - you might be interested to see how Sociocracy operates or join in with some plant propogation, permaculture or bush regeneration, we have occasional movie nights, community dinners, talks (perhaps you have something you might like to share?), open days, all sorts of things...
You might be interested in how to build an eco house using a combination of natural and conventional building techniques... I can share with you what I've learnt as an owner builder with regards to building a sustainable and healthy home with budget in mind and within in the parameters of Council and Building Standard beaurocracy; and as a physiologist we've made many design considerations with a mind for healthy living. Our architect and natural builder, Will is often on site as well and is a treasure trove. With potentially you on board and extra hands on deck we can collectively get things done faster whilst keeping good company and learning from each other. I'm sure you've got a lot to share as well!
I'm also a keen forager - if you're into wildplants, wild food and wild medicine - let us know and we can go for a foraging walk! The site is an old horticultural research station with some interesting plants and we manage the site with organic principles, so it's great for gathering plants.
We're building a house and need all the help we can muster! There are big and little tasks, both heavy and light so can adapt depending on your desires and energy.
At the moment we are laying compressed earth blocks for the retaining walls, working on the waterproofing, laying earth-tubes and are about to prepare a slab to pour ourselves... if rains halts play, we might get a start on making windows out of recycled hardwood or getting on with things under shelter. Soon there will be framing, carpentry and then the fun bit: building the walls with clay slipped straw (light straw earth) and rendering... plus more as the project evolves.
We're looking for someone who could exchange a maximum of 4 hrs of help (with two days off) or we can mix things up depending. Hours and days negotiable but our big building days are Wednesdays and Fridays - these days are the ones we're looking for help the most. All things are negotiable and if in the moment you think it's been enough we're open to dialogue. Balance is key.
We can offer simple camping accommodation at the Ecovillage campsite which is on the doorstep of the Forest. It has a bbq and a community built camp kitchen plus toilets, showers and constant bird chatter.
Breakfasts are supplied through the week (let me know what you like, there are cooking facilities). I'm also stocking up some foraged herbal teas for you as well. During the week there will be a cooked lunch (either something we've prepared or something from our lovely Ecovillage Cafe) and on site during work there will be snacks (usually fruit and nuts).
For dinner we'd love to have you share a meal with our young family, and on the nights which don't work with our family flow we'll hook you up with someone interesting from the community or can help set you up with something to cook at the campsite, or there might be a community dinner on...
Whatever your needs are, please let us know how we could help you be comfortable.
The Ecovillage is surrounded by the Strickland State Forest which has plenty of scope for exploration, but there are plenty of places to go on the Central Coast. The closest beach is about 25 mins away driving, and the train station is about 20 mins walk or a short bike ride. On the Central Coast there are loads of very interesting places, sites, beaches, walks and local venues to explore. Let us know what you are interested in and we can point you in the right direction.
As an introduction we'd like to hear what your experiences are and what you hope to gain from this exchange. Please also include the dates which you might come for and how long you might stay. Please also mention the word 'rabbits' in your introduction e-mail so I know that you've read this profile.
Sorry, but we cannot accommodate dogs or other pets.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4 hours a day, with 2 days off