Located in rural Scotland, the Findhorn community began in a caravan park in 1962, when the late Peter and Eileen Caddy became unemployed and moved to the park with their three children. Together with Dorothy MacLean they set out to live a more sustainable and spiritual life, starting off by growing their own food. This resulted in the highly productive Findhorn Garden, which became renowned for the quality and quantity of its produce, grown in the adverse weather conditions of northern Scotland and the sandy soil of the caravan park. The community now consists of a network of small holdings that grow organic produce, combining an ecological way of living with a strong spiritual dimension.
Findhorn has grown over the years in size and stature, from the original six it has now 300 residents living on the main site of the original caravan park, and a larger community of local businesses and organisations gathered around this main hub. They gained charitable status in 1972 as the Findhorn Foundation, which is also a founding member of the Global Ecovillages Network. The network brings together communities working towards a more sustainable way of living, defined as ecological as well as economic, cultural and spiritual.
A recent study indicated that Findhorn has one of the smallest environmental footprints of any community in the industrialised world, at about half the UK average. This is achieved through its organic food production as well as through its energy independence, the four windmills on site allowing the community to sell energy back to the national grid. Findhorn also employs the 'living machine' system developed at the New Alchemy Institute, which uses a mixture of plants and aquatic life for waste water treatment. Other initiatives include the replacement of the original caravans with eco-friendly buildings, a local currency, the Eko, which is accepted at other Ecovillages, as well as the many small community businesses associated with the Findhorn Foundation. These include the Findhorn Press, which has published many books on ecological and spiritual living, an organic food store and vegetable box scheme, and a complementary medicine centre. The complex also functions as a training centre running diverse courses on sustainable communal living.
Caddy, Eileen, Foundations of a Spiritual Community, 2nd edn (Moray: Findhorn Press, 1991).
Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden Story, 4th edn (Findhorn: Findhorn Press, 2008).
Parker, Martin, Valérie Fournier, and Patrick Reedy, The Dictionary of Alternatives. Utopianism and Organization (London & New York: Zed Books, 2007).
Riddell, Carol, The Findhorn Community: Creating a Human Identity for the 21st Century (Findhorn: Findhorn Press, 1990).
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