The annual meeting of the Iberian Ecovillages Network (IEN) took place in Lakabé Ecovillage in August 2017 in the Basque Country. During 4 days, 600 participants (mainly from Spain, Portugal and the Basque Country) gathered to discuss their communities’ activities and ways of life. Open to the public, this event was also an open door for curious city-dwellers who came to look for alternatives to city life.
The IEN has existed for more than 20 years. Its objective is to connect ecovillages of the Iberian Peninsula with each other (in particular through annual meetings), and to defend their good ecological, social and economic practices at public level.
Exhibition, round tables, connections
During this edition of 2017, the IEN produced an exhibition on the ecovillages of its network and organized numerous workshops, artistic performances, dances, courses of eco-building based on straw (with Tom), as well as the key element in ecovillages: dry toilets (with Teddy and his mobile workshop).
A multitude of themes were discussed during this meeting: new modes of community governance through sociocracy, ecology through water management, free energy, local economy, use of natural products and cosmetics, nutrition and vegetarian/vegan diets, worldview and dreams.
Spain, a hotspot for ecovillages in Europe
More than 20 different communities attended the event. Spain is one of the countries with the most rapidly evolving ecovillages of Europe. Their multiplicity not only means that they are very different from each other, but also that they are not at the same level in terms of ecological, social or technological dimensions. Exchanges of experiences took place to discover and share new practices.
Lakabe, nearly 40 years of stories
This year, Lakabé was chosen to host the event. This small village located in a mountainous forest of the Basque Country, was abandoned in the 1960s and then re-occupied in the 1980s by a group of young utopians. Almost 40 years later, Lakabé has become a reference for ecovillages as it is fully autonomous in water and energy despite its location in the mountains. Now, some fifty people live there in sociocracy, without a leader and share homes and economy.
The community is almost self-sufficient in food. It produces organic bread for sale in neighboring villages. To visit them, different options are possible: attend courses, come to open doors or labor camps when a building site is needed.
Relive the event in pictures