Everyday life in Ecovillage
The everyday life of the ecovillage consists of many things to do, depending on the seasons. Things to do all year round include taking care of common things like cooking, cleaning and maintaining the grounds. However, a big chunk of the work takes place in the summer when there is endless work to do in the gardens (we have a short growing season here in Finland so we have to make the most of it!) and building renovation projects.
A weekly residents' meeting is held to discuss common issues in the village. Ecovillagers participate in the housework of the village within their abilities, constantly learning new things. Everyone is united by an interest in an ecological lifestyle. Some of the residents work outside the community, some have their own company and some work through the Ecovillage cooperative. Each resident is independently responsible for their own livelihood. Common dining moments bring people together from all over the Ecovillage. Communality manifests itself in participating in the work of the Ecovillage, as well as in joint meetings and speech circles, which are held almost weekly. Some of the residents have their own animals, and in the yard you can meet dogs, goats, cats, horses and chickens. The ecovillage is surrounded by swans and numerous other birds, whose music fills the yard in the summer. The ecovillage offers a wide range of cultural activities, art and celebrations according to the annual cycle.
Organic gardening and herbs
Gardening is an important part of life in the Ecovillage. Large-scale cover cropping is used as a cultivation method. We grow indigenous varieties of apple trees, berries and grandma’s lovely perennial beds. We preserve the harvest for winter by making jams and cordials. The extra fields are rented by a local organic farmer.
There is skill, knowledge and enthusiasm for using herbs in our Ekokylä. Both home-grown and natural herbs are collected and used in a variety of ways. Herbal tea is served with every meal, and herbs are also widely used in cooking. Herbal courses and herbal excursions have also been organized in the ecovillage.
Ecovillagers engage in creative activities in many ways. Music is important; singing and other musicianship is often practiced for one's own pleasure and for the pleasure of guests. In the common areas you will find three pianos, guitars, flutes and various percussion instruments. Djembe drums have been played and danced to here for a long time. Burkina Faso griot musician Zoumana Dembele has visited us on four occasions.
There are also several artisans and art enthusiasts in our community who you will find weaving, knitting, felting, wire-weaving and wood-working. The ecovillage has also been a venue for groups of ceramicists, painters and contemporary dancers. Numerous workshops and facilities enable people to come to the ecovillage and discover new creative pursuits.
The Rajatalo Project
The Rajatalo is an ongoing environmental art project. Set in a decommissioned 1950s wooden house, The Rajatalo or ‘Border House’ is a constantly evolving space which exhibits professional artist’s work from all over the world. The art work spills out into the courtyard and the forest and here you will find art ranging from relational aesthetics, contemporary ceramics to sculpture.
The border house has been produced in collaboration with the Art Promotion Center and the City of Keuruu. Artists are selected via open calls a few times a year and then invited to stay at the Ecovillage whilst creating their work.
Admission to the border house is free of charge and the house and its surroundings are open to the public all year round 24/7. You can access the border house's own pages from this link.
Outdoor and Sports Facilities
The magnificent nature offers a wide range of activities, such as hiking, swimming, rowing, jogging, skiing and cycling in the woods. Ekokylä's work is largely physical anyway, so exercise is always guaranteed here. Physical work includes chopping trees, composting, cultivating, foraging, fishing, yard maintenance, cleaning, and various construction and restoration projects.
The ecovillage has its own gym hall and weights room. In the gym hall you can play badminton, table tennis, boules and basketball or volleyball. Outdoor games, such as darts, petanque, woodpecker, or bouncing on a trampoline are practiced in the yard. Bicycles can be borrowed if desired. Yoga, free movement and other guided exercise classes are also sometimes held in the community.
Since 2005, all of the Ecovillage’s energy needs have been renewable. The energy sources of heat are wood chips, pellets, firewood and the sun. Electricity is purchased as eco-energy certified green electricity.
In 2016, the Ecovillage completed its own land filtration plant which filters the village's wastewater. In order to maintain the right bacteria in our land filtration we are careful not to let harsh chemicals and certain foods like dairy go down the drain. After the completion of the ground filtration plant, we have largely switched to using dry toilets.
The long-term goal is to make the energy production of Keuruu Ecovillage fully self-sufficient by using various renewable energy sources. The vision for the future is to have our own green power plant to produce the necessary heat and electricity and to sell the surplus to the national grid.
Construction and renovation
The ecovillage has almost 30 different buildings of different condition and age, which are being repaired by the residents of the ecovillage and occasionally outside contractors.
The farm’s two old buildings, the Vanha Päärakennus (The Old Main Building) and the Väentupa (The People’s House), have been renovated using traditional building and repair techniques. The old main building has four apartments, and the people's living room serves as a gathering and party space. The roof of the grain warehouse was repaired and in Autumn 2015 volunteers cleaned and painted the bricks. The renovation of Kivitalo (The Stone House’s) Sauna and shower room was completed by Christmas 2015. During 2017, most of the ecovillage's water toilets were replaced with separating dry toilets, and the renovation was done especially in the accommodation on the 3rd floor of the Kivitalo (The Stone House.)