Lakabe is a pretty village of stone houses in the Spanish province of Navarre in the Pyrenees. It was abandoned in the 1970s and occupied 23 years ago by a group of dreamers determined to prove that their utopian ideas could actually be implemented.
Participants at the congress Photo: © Selba Vida Sostenible
There are now some 35 inhabitants who are gradually rebuilding the village houses, tending livestock and making mountain bread, which they sell far and wide. Self-sufficiency is the objective and entails collecting wood, growing vegetables, tending their flock and struggling to avoid sliding back into consumer society. It is one of 12 eco-villages already operational or planned in Spain.
Last summer Lakabe welcomed more than 300 adults and children from the rest of Spain and Portugal to participate in the sixth annual eco-village congress, organised by the Iberian Eco-village Network. The main purpose of such events is to bring together people interested in becoming involved in eco-village projects and to allow village dwellers to share ideas and experiences. Workshops included communication, conflict resolution, education, perma-culture, eco-building and renewable energies. Significant attention was also paid to the potential for eco-village projects inside towns and cities.
“All the villagers worked around the clock to make the congress a success,” said Mabel, one of the founders. “Even the teenagers looked after visiting children and served lemonade or herbal teas in the village bar.” Each evening, after a fruitful day attending workshops, participants were treated to concerts by the village youth band, local txalaparta dancing and spontaneous performances by poets and theatre groups.
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