Living in the Future DVD

Maddy Harland | Saturday, 13th April 2013
Lammas is a good example of bringing new life to barren pastures, through building an eco-village that aims to sustain itself. This new film looks at how this low impact self-build community coped building regulations, and the challenges and celebrations of creating a bio-diverse community.
Author: Undercurrents
Publication year: 2013
RRP: £16.99

This is sequel to the film, Ecovillage Pioneers, that presented the case for ecovillages and included the story of Lammas Ecovillage's struggle to obtain planning permission.

Against the odds, Lammas in Pembrokeshire obtained planning, arguably a significant step forward in low impact development in Britain. It is, in Tony Wrench's words, "An example of what you can do to land when you put people on it with the right spirit."

From overgrazed sheep pastures, it is now home to nine families who have built their own eco-homes for as little as £15,000-20,000. The landscape is transforming into biodiverse, productive lots.

I take my hat off to anyone doing this work. It is really hard graft in the rain and mud with young kids, plus the challenges of Building Regulations, especially when you discover that low impact, offgrid developments are not automatically released from 'on grid' regulations.

Whilst this film is about Lammas' achievement and inspiration, it is also about its struggles: Getting the work/life balance right whilst self-building with a young family; setting up horti-cultural systems that have to provide 75% of the plot-holders income within five years (Pembrokeshire Local Authority's Policy 52); renegotiating with building control; and inevitably dealing with conflict within and outside the ecovillage. Ecovillagers and landbased projects the world over will recognise the challenges. 

As Tony Wrench observes, Lammas doesn't help young people in over-priced urban rented accommodation live low impact lives, but it is pioneering a land based example. We need many more places like Lammas to bring new life – human, animal and plants – to barren pastures. With each new project, lessons will be learnt and the journey will be easier, both for existing projects and for the ones not yet conceived. The story isn't over yet.

PAL, Region 0, 82 minutes 

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