Foreword: Keep in mind that this page explains all the different aspects of the project we want to co-create in the years to come and we are in the early stages (water arrived in September 2016). We have some simple rustic housings, storage containers, outside kitchen, artistic shower, clay oven, yoga platform, a dry-toilet, meditation stone-circle and a camping area as basic infrastructures. Many gardens, wind-break, fruit trees and endemic plants are getting in the ground on a weekly if not daily basis.
For the latest updates and pictures of the project please visit our facebook page.
This pilot project aims to create an ecological settlement, as well as a therapeutic and educational center, which will serve as a model and living reference for an integrative and symbiotic way of life with our natural environment. Everything will be surrounded by permacultural gardens of great beauty.
The educational center, built with cutting-edge bio-constructive and sacred geometry techniques, will also host an ongoing research in agroecology, renewable energies and the different aspects for sustainable living, providing workshops and lectures given by all types of professionals, including personalities of international renown in the area of new technologies, science, bio-architecture, permaculture, etc.
As part of our retreat center, will be created a welcome center, a macrobiotic and vegetarian restaurant and a small shop with natural products, arts and crafts, which will be developed in the community, as well as all kinds of products and materials that are in coherence with our ideals of sustainability.
In our commitment to perfection in a respectful relationship with the environment, we have embarked upon the study of all the different areas that make it possible for a human settlement to thrive in perfect symbiosis with Nature, not only without polluting or damaging It, but striving to repair and revitalize degraded ecosystems as well as creating new ecosystems already designed to integrate the human presence into an environment of abundance and maximum self-sufficiency, in the continuous betterment of the richness of the soil. In parallel with the Retreat center, will be constructed several sustainable homes with their respective permacultural gardens, to host the participants of the project.
This initiative is co-financed by an entire team of professionals, integrated by families and
individuals of various nationalities, that will help raise and manage the center and will also
finance their respective homes.
There will be created a cooperative, foundation, company or any other format that will best suit
the needs and purposes of the project (open to suggestions to define the most suitable
Elements that build the project’s foundations
Permaculture and Agroforestry
We use systems of Permaculture and Agroforestry to maximize the biodiversity and long-term sustainability in food production, construction materials, fabrics, provision of medicinal plants, etc., as well as the incorporation of Art with into the natural Beauty, creating multi-layered and complete ecosystems where the symbiosis between different species orchestrates unique and inspiring environments, that also provide, not only food and raw materials but also joy, health and peace of mind. The production of food unfolds in synergy with the Botanical Art, attracting not only the curious ones, but a myriad of diverse birds and other animal species that may naturally help with the prevention of plagues and strengthen the ecosystem’s balance.
A complete and diverse seed bank will be created, protecting the purity and quality of the seeds, preserving ancestral varieties, encouraging the seeds exchange and promoting self-management and self-sufficiency.
Pests prevention and mitigation with natural methods
- We develop strategies that strengthen the immune system and health of the plants
- We work with special biodynamic preparations of plants and microorganisms, to prevent and resolve potential pests.
- We study the use of possible controlled predators that can rebalance the ecosystem
Composting and soil creation
We use multiple methods of composting and improvement of the life within the soil, including:
- Cultures of EM (effective microorganisms) and beneficial micro-bacteria
- Use of ground-covers and mulching to help either avoiding evaporation and protecting the soil life. Also some species help restore the nutrients and moisture in suspension into the ground
- Use of legume species to either generate organic matter and restore nitrogen into the ground as an efficient way of fertilizing
- Recollection of discarded organic matter in the neighborhood and surrounding population, or its composting and subsequent soil enrichment (food scraps, pruning and weeding material, coffee grounds, cardboard, etc)
Even though the most ideal self-sufficient means would be to choose land with its own source of water, this situation is not easy to find on the coast of Tenerife, where we consider the most optimum climate for the purpose of the project. We have no need for the municipal treated water as we have developed other alternatives that we consider more ecological and healthy. We’ll certainly need agricultural water
of the best quality available that we will use and treat for both agricultural and domestic use. As the food forest gets established with time, the need for watering decreases exponentially and a whole microclimate is created in a new integral ecosystem.
We will use the following strategies:
- Distilling or appropriate filtering of the water for domestic use
- Intelligent design of swales (levelled water channels) to maximize the use of rain and irrigation
- Creation of beautiful ponds and “flow forms” (special and artistic cascades in which the water flows in spiraling infinite shapes that help to energize and revitalize water)
- Using special devices to capture the dew, atmospheric moisture and rain
- According to the proximity to sea water of the chosen land, we will study the possibility of ecological desalination systems which may provide greater self-sufficiency in terms of water
Wastewater treatment: The management of the waters will be restricted in accordance with ecological standards of phytodepuration, through various tanks with purification systems, using appropriate aquatic plants, microalgae and beneficial microbacteria, as well as filtering systems that enable the safe reuse of these waters for agriculture.
In accordance with our principles, we will try to minimize the use of non-renewable energies and install the devices of clean energies as soon as possible, to meet the internal needs of the Retreat center as well as of the community.
In addition, the design of the living areas, as well as the infrastructures related to agriculture, the center of education and the healing area, will be made with advanced techniques of green building and using natural and recycled materials, also trying to avoid as much as possible the pollution from the transportation process.
As a model of holistic health, as well as promoting sustainability and local development in the fruitful collaboration and exchange with other local organic farmers, our internal policy and our principles of deep respect for Nature, lead us to promote ways of living which do not generate any kind of suffering or animal exploitation.
Animals shall only be allowed to receive a kind of nutrition exclusively coming from sustainable sources, and to live in freedom and friendship with the rest of the community members. Hives are permitted, provided they are managed in a conscious and respectful manner, extracting only a small percentage of honey (thanking its medicinal properties), to allow the bees their own maintenance without the need to feed them with sugar or other techniques. The members of the community adhere to dietary habits; essentially vegetarian associated courses will be taught in the center.
The infrastructure includes a small spa with a swimming pool, sauna and hydrotherapy, as well as treatment rooms where visitors can also experience massage sessions, naturopathy, phytotherapy, acupuncture, kinesiology, dietary counseling, psychotherapy, etc., at the hands of a team of professionals.
According to our principles of care for our waters, our earth and the atmosphere, it shall be prohibited on the full extent in the community the use of any contaminant product, either for agriculture, domestic use or personal hygiene. Each and every product used within this settlement will be natural and not harmful to the environment, preferably of our own production or local, and in sustainable packages.
In our idea of becoming “prosumers”, i.e. producers of what we consume and responsible generators of what we use, we will strive to minimize to the maximum the use and/or acquisition of materials not easily biodegradable, except for recycled products or useful necessary materials for the maintenance of optimum family and community balance (household appliances, tools, computers, phones,…). Waste that cannot be internally recycled will be carefully separated to then be brought to the corresponding containers for recycling, or, as appropriately, to the recycling center.
There will be courses and workshops with qualified teachers of all the subjects related to healthy and sustainable living:
- Macrobiotic and vegetarian nutrition
- Natural medicine
- Creative recycling
- Yoga and meditation
- Production of crafts and natural products
- Body awareness and expression
- Non-violent communication and group dynamics
- Permaculture and organic farming
- Renewable energies
- Education on responsible consumption, food sovereignty and supply, collaborative production, sustainable productivity, …
- Sacred Geometry
- Tai-chi, Qi-Gong
- Song and dance
Each family unit will build their own home and private garden of the size and design that matches their taste and needs, while respecting the collective guidelines and the planning of the water and waste distribution and management, to ensure maximum hygiene and sanitation of the spaces. Boundaries will be marked preferably with live fences.
Co-Creation of Community Spaces
The design of the communal spaces shall be agreed by consensus by the community members present at that stage of the planning phase, and will need to be accepted by prospective participants that can join the community at a later stage. It includes:
- The creation of access
- Piping and water storage infrastructures as well as water recycling
- An educational center with dining room and kitchen, and a community building with a special area for children
- Community gardens which will also include a children section
- A spa and therapeutic area
- A parking area
- Accommodation for visitors, volunteers or students
- Infrastructures for agricultural use
- Recreational outdoors area including tables, grill, etc
- Art integrated to both the natural spaces and the infrastructures
- Family veggie-gardens where outsiders can also receive assistance in developing their own little gardens, welcoming as well children, teenagers, disabled and vulnerable minorities.
Solidarity and Cooperation
In the joy and spirit of mutual assistance and co-creation, the group will take turns to help in the creation of their respective individual homes and gardens, and in the co-creation of the community spaces and the therapeutic
educational center. The level of dedication in effort and hours of work, as well as the economic investment from each
member in the community spaces or the management of community affairs, will be taken into account and valued
by the community that will decide the appropriate way to reward each person’s participation.
Social Integration and Economic Viability
Although the community is multicultural and multilingual, its purpose is to integrate with the surrounding neighbourhoods and communities, as well as with the local, regional and national authorities, including the European Union and the international community as a whole, in the spirit of cooperation and mutual assistance. As a project with high and noble goals, we join in partnership with multitude of NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations), associations and organizations, working tirelessly for a more humane, fair, sustainable and healthy society, offering a living example of the principles being taught. A percentage of the income generated by the courses will be redirected to provide scholarships to people without the resources, or to disadvantaged minorities who may want to learn and participate in the different workshops and educational programs as well as in the
family gardens. Also, there will be a volunteering system. A percentage of the income from the therapy center will also enable the treatment of people without resources, who may be in need of assistance from the different professional fields available. There will be specific workshops and courses for children and adolescents, and organized guided tours of the community for schools, universities and other interested groups.
The uniqueness and value, both architectural and holistic, of the Retreat Center and the Community as a whole, will attract a more conscious tourism and a multicultural interactive flow of people that will enrich the island of Tenerife as one of the preferential worldwide destinations in the area of sustainable development.
The ambition of this project is to be self-financing, and all activities: the accommodation provided, the restaurant, …, as well as the production and sale of organic foods, natural products and crafts, will enable the long-term viability and good maintenance of the facilities and all personnel involved in the management of the retreat center.
However, as an innovative unprecedented place in the Canary Islands, School of International impact and exemplary ecological settlement for sustainability, beauty and integrative healthy living, the project deserves the support of both institutions and government agencies, as well as of the Canarian community as a whole, to facilitate its implementation within a legal framework, and also be able to access all kinds of grants and subventions.