Article by Jason Nardi, RIPESS Europe

For the second year, RIPESS Europe has been invited to participate in the European ecovillages gathering and exchange on the “Abundant economics” theme – which is emerging as an important aspect of the ecovillages sustainability strategies. In fact, what could be a better example of an integrated solidarity economy community and ecosystem if not an ecovillage where all the different “alternative” practices are applied and made concrete?  There are many of these ecovillages, in Europe and all around the world, have evolved in the last 30-40 years (and some even more) and are what we call communities of practice or intentional communities.

This year, the European ecovillage gathering, organised by GEN Europe, took place in Nature Community, in Bavaria, between the 13th and the 16th of July. The biggest yet, the event brought together over 800 participants from all corners of the world – ecovillagers, supporters of the movement, as well as people interested in joining or establishing ecovillage communities. The rich four-day program was based on the “Work That Reconnects”, dedicating one day to coming from gratitude, honouring our pain for the world, seeing with new eyes and going forth with the learnings and experiences accumulated together.

Organised under the motto “Together in a changing world”, the aim of the gathering was to provide the context for collectively reflecting on questions such as: how can we live together harmoniously in community?; how can we live peacefully together on our common planet?, and how can we create a planetary community of care? The gathering focused on community living, self-sufficiency, music, activism, forging deep connections and embodied learning in order to explore these questions through the unique experiences and practices of ecovillages, workshops, sharing and celebration. We connected deeply, expanded our wisdom and curiosity, and discovered tools to move towards a healthier, more peaceful, and socially just world.

If you want to have a peak at what took place, check the after-movie  and the foto gallery

On the first day of the Gathering, among the many different activities, there was a “fair” to get to Meet the ecovillages, each with it’s own unique characteristics and presentation and the the Project Market, with many Erasmus+ training initiatives and the Next GEN youth team presenting its experience.  And during the next days, there were spaces where the EXPO and Appropriate Technologies presentations, ranging from renewable energy and construction methods, to APPs and hacks for intra-community exchanges.

As RIPESS Europe, we lead the thematic stream on “Abundant economics”, a series of 4 interactive workshops approaching different topics, methodologies and tools.  The first one was titled “Community Supported Economy Lab from CSA to CSX), with Julia Rohamel and  Janna Ji from our new member CSX network – exploring the 6 core principles of “community supported everything” and their practical application.  The second was about the ”Commons ecosystem canvas” and other methodologies for solidarity economy based on commoning, caring and conviviality – based on an open and participatory economic management of a community, focusing on its needs and aspirations..  The third revealed the “butterfly economy” of The Imago Movement, using the wisdom of biological transformations to create one or more monetary systems that give power to transformational values – thanks to the experience of Oliver Sachs and Cornelia Angel. And finally, the last day with Grace Rachmany, we divided by territories and simulated the creation of communities around alternatives to the monetary system that honor our commitment to the environment and social values.

A profound economic systemic transformation was one of the main topics the Gathering focused on. Christian Felber of the Economy for the Common Good was one of the key speakers and proposed to redefine economy as a collective effort of meeting basic human needs of living and future generations within planetary boundaries based on values of solidarity, dignity, sustainability, and democracy. His speech was much appreciated, as he sought to challenge definitions and the ideology of the capitalist economy.

Our sister network ECOLISE was present with many of its team people and members, who participated and promoted several other activities.  Find their account of the event in the Communities for Future platflorm [link:] as well the one from the GEN Europe website [link:]