Keuruu Ecovillage Association and Keuruu Ecovillage Cooperative were founded in 1997 by a group of eco-spirited people. The ecovillage is a lifestyle experiment to combat global threats. We have increased our understanding and knowledge of organic lifestyle and living in harmony with nature for almost 20 years, and a lot of tacit knowledge has emerged along the way.
In 2001, the renovation of Väentuva, built in 1840, was completed according to the instructions of the National Board of Antiquities. In 2007, the renovation of the Old Main Building, built in 1867, was continued, which was largely completed in 2011. In recent years, e.g. wastewater filtering land filtration plant, Kivitalo (the Stone House) drainage, and water toilets have been replaced by dry toilets.
Today, Ecovillage is a communal home and organic farm, as well as a location for the third sector. The ecovillage is being built by voluntary work. Food is prepared, premises are cleaned, buildings are repaired, roots, vegetables, herbs and berries are grown in our organic garden. The fields are organically grown. The forest is grown according to the principles of sustainable forestry, and there is a small natural preserve in the forest. The fishing right covers 1,500 hectares of water and extends to Lake Keurusselkä.
The ecovillage constantly organizes learning situations related to the ecological lifestyle. Training has been organized especially on human interactions and problem-solving methods. Renovation-related training has been provided on construction sites.
The ecovillage offers a wide range of cultural activities, art and celebrations according to the annual cycle.
Anyone can come to see the ecovillage during the bee weeks, just as anyone can aspire to become a resident.
History of the Kivijärvi Farm
The Kivijärvi farm was entered in the land tax list in 1766, when the area was mainly uninhabited wilderness. The first clearers of the Kivijärvi farm were Matti Juhonpoika Kortemäki from the village of Suojärvi, and Kaisa Yrjöntytär from Lankkua.
In the early 19th century, a people's house (Väentupa) and a granary (Viljamakasiini) were built, and they still grace the courtyard. According to tradition, the old main building was built "during the famine year with turnip gruel."
In 1922, the Poverty Care Act came into force, which entitled municipalities to send those who had failed to pay their maintenance obligations to the penitentiaries. The Finnish-speaking municipalities of Vaasa County chose the Kivijärvi farm, as well as other farms adjacent to it, as the location of the penitentiary. The dormitory building was built and the work facility was inaugurated in 1927. According to the wall map of the lobby, the total area of the farm in 1947 was a whopping 23,310 acres.
The penitentiary era in Finland ended in 1980, and in the same year the Keuruu service station became a wholly active substance abuse treatment unit. In the early 1990s, the Kivijärvi farm became a reception center for asylum seekers, and the number of asylum seekers rose to a maximum of 150. As the state’s refugee policy changed in the mid-1990s, the operation of the reception center also ceased.
The farm was empty for a couple of years, until in 1997 Suomineito Association rented it out to promote a sustainable lifestyle and develop permaculture. In 1998, Suomineito Association changed its name and Kivijärvi farm (except for the carpenter's workshop and the sawmill with its equipment) was taken over by Keuruu Ecovillage Association.
Keuruu Ecovillage Association bought the Kivijärvi farm on April 1, 1998. Since then, Väentupa and the Old Main Building have been thoroughly renovated, and the premises have undergone a complex energy renovation. The fields have been taken for organic farming, and the forest has been managed according to the principles of sustainable forestry. Community life has developed and daily routines have been honed to work better year by year. The understanding of the idea and possibilities of the Ecovillage and the role of the international ecovillage movement has become clearer.