Community vegetable garden & initial courses
At the same time the hunt was on for suitable adjacent land that could be used for serious growing. This proved more difficult than anticipated as the landowners considered anything as ‘hope’ land – ‘hoping’ to obtain planning permission for building which would have raised its worth sky high. We pursued various avenues with three locals, all of which proved to be cul de sacs and took up valuable time. Then as luck would have it, at last, we managed to rent an acre immediately opposite our site on a 5 year lease. Work started immediately on fencing and creating raised beds, so we could finally prove we were walking our talk. It was a great moment when the first spud crop went in, helped by our youngest resident, Vita.
In parallel to all the planning work we were running courses, offering B&B and applying for Green Tourism status. (We were awarded Bronze at that stage and now have achieved Gold.) Alongside the Creating Cohousing courses – run every couple of months, we also hosted individual courses (linked to sustainable living in the widest sense). We ran Sound Healing with international musician Shirley Roden, Creative Ageing with local healer Persephone Arbour and The Way of Council with another international course leader, Pippa Bondy.
We hosted visits from interested groups and introduced our Open Lunches on the first Sunday of the month for anyone to join us, observe our progress and have a guided tour. Our emailing list had been growing with each media coverage and we sent out a newsletter – initially monthly, finally settling down to quarterly, detailing where we had got to, courses being run, spaces to rent and the natural delights of being here.