The Lammas project has been created to pioneer an alternative model for living on the land. It empowers people to explore what it is to live a one-planet lifestyle. It demonstrates that alternatives are possible here and now.
The project centres around the ecovillage at Tir y Gafel, in North Pembrokeshire, which has been designed using a model that can be replicated across Wales. It combines the traditional smallholding model with the latest innovations in environmental design, green technology and permaculture. The ecovillage was granted planning permission in 2009 by the Welsh Government and is currently part-way through the construction phase. At its heart it consists of 9 smallholdings positioned around a Community Hub building, and it is supported by a range of peripheral projects and networks.
The concept for the Lammas ecovillage is that of a collective of eco-smallholdings working together to create and sustain a culture of land-based self-reliance. The project supports a permaculture approach to land management – in which human beings are considered an intrinsic part of the ecosystem. As a result the approach to environmental management is one of stewardship for future generations rather than exploitation for short term gain.
The residents of the ecovillage have come from all walks of life and whilst some have experience of low-impact living and natural building, many have none. They have all purchased plots costing between £35,000 and £40,000, and have 5 years to establish their holdings. Water, woodland and electricity are managed collectively and the plots are largely dedicated to growing food, land-based businesses, growing biomass and processing organic waste. Land-based enterprises include fruit and vegetable production, livestock and bees, woodland and willow crafts, value-added food production, seed production, and permaculture (the farming of composting worms).
Under the planning conditions the project reports to the Council each year, setting out its progress against a series of performance indicators that include traffic generation, land-based productivity, and ecological foot-printing. The project is required to substantially meet its needs from the land and demonstrate positive environmental, social and economic benefit.
The ecovillage began construction in 2009/2010 and is currently midway through its set-up phase.