Karuna >> Introduction
"A Roundhouse for Karuna Campaign" is now active
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Karuna is open to the public via the folloing project www.permaculture.org.uk/land
It is also available to the public via educational courses & workshops or volunteering.
Karuna is a Sanskrit word meaning compassion. In “Island” a novel by Aldous Huxley (his last novel) minah birds were trained to repeat 'Karuna'.The island was a place where people were kind and happy, they had equality without mediocrity, compassion as well as intellect and science side by side with art. Islands happen to be our favourite places.
Karuna is located within an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) near Picklescott, on the upper fringes of the Long Mynd, it faces out towards stupendous far reaching open views of the Stretton Hills and surrounding countryside.
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The soil at Karuna is quite fertile, the area was once covered in trees, it is now naked compared to what it once was. Being lovers of trees and the land we have a desire to restore a small part of it and restore it's fertility through the Permaculture approach.
Aerial view of 'Sanctuary' field at Karuna (Sept 2010). Showing design of new diverse woodlands/nature reserve & arboretum ,Forest gardens, fruit tree nurseries, horticultural area, water holding & Low impact dwelling...Established over five years.
Trees are one of the most important assets on the planet, contributing to the solutions of many of the problems that challenge humankind. Trees make a positive impact on the environment, playing a vital role in the battle to reduce global warming; they take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen, they offer a means to meet the needs of an exploding global population from the finite resources of the planet; maintain water supplies, check soil floods and soil erosion. As trees are permanent crops, their cultivation does not require regular ploughing which damages soil structure. Life on our planet could not exist without trees and yet vast tracts of forests across the globe are being destroyed!
It is not enough to criticise the felling of tropical forests - we should all be working to restore our own forests, take positive action towards a sustainable future, by working with nature rather than against it.
At Karuna, an 18 acre site, three separate woodlands (approx 9 acres) of over 50 species were planted in the winter 2006, each year there has been additional planting, there are now over 9,000 trees planted, including many traditional fruit trees, nitrogen fixing trees, plus plants and herbs, thus laying the foundations for agroforestry and 'Forest Gardening' using permaculture and natural farming techniques/principles for production of fruits, nuts, vegetables and medicinal plants, based on interaction between different life forms in order to stimulate and support one another (symbiosis).
The project exists to demonstrate that sustainable land management is a major way forward if the present climate crisis is to be reversed. That is if there is to be any future for our children.
We know, from studying the rocks of our planet, that there was once a time when life did not exist here. Man, in seeing himself separate from nature and taking from it as he pleases is destroying all forms of life as he goes. If he does not change he will soon destroy himself.
Karuna possesses deep mystical magic in its soil, it has great potential and gives out signals and speaks to those who are receptive to its almost forgotten language. The land is calling out to be healed and be given the opportunity to heal. We have chosen to respond to it in order to share our love of the natural world, especially with our children.
Traditionally small wooded areas were often managed on the outer edge of the village, not simply for their raw materials and medicines. Trees offer us the opportunity to recognise inner peace and understanding when we place ourselves quietly amongst them. Developing and raising awareness of sustainability,Low impact living, climate change, wildlife conservation, holistic healing and art are the projects deepest concerns.
There is no better way to reach others than by example, and to offer the opportunity for all of us to develop through direct experience and serve human ends harmlessly while creating conditions conducive to all life.
There is a priority to develop biodiversity and true sustainable awareness at Karuna and links with local schools and educational groups etc have been made.We have been recording the increasing diversity of flora and fauna at the site.The land is nolonger grazed (with the exception of ducks) which leads to natural regeneration.
We need to get back to our heritage - our birthright - the land. Karuna aims to fulfill the opportunity for people to lovingly care for the earth which brings us into life, nourishes and sustains us, and ultimately takes us back again.
Agriculture is the very basis of our existence and is likely to go on being so, if we are to survive at all. Even agricultural ‘experts’ can now see and admit that the present system of agriculture in the west is unsustainable as it depends entirely on oil. There is now an agricultural depression, and this industry completely hooked on sophisticated machinery and huge chemical inputs is finding it very hard to carry on. Alternatives do exist but people are slow to change.
We have chosen to live a Low impact life style as a meaningful transition in the face of climate change,peak oil and economic instability which is nolonger a future possibility but a current reality.The transition to energy decent will be difficult.However the sooner we start preparing for it the easier it will be.If people continue on their current path for another 8-10 years our choice will be lost and we will have committed ourselves,our species and our planet to catastrophic climate change.
The good news is we can begin the transition process right now! So pioneers should be encouraged. Karuna serves as a demonstration as to some of the possibilities that exist to help revitalise the British countryside and help the nation feed and power itself.As time passes more mainstream people are interested in these kind of Low impact solutions and the project becomes a better working educational resource.Energy at Karuna comes mostly from on site renewables(wind & Sun).We recycle rainwater and waste including humanure which is fed back into the earth when used as fertiliser for the hundreds of fruit trees and shrubs.We also grow as much of our own food as possible,the fuel (trees) that we planted 6 years is now being used.
The project embraces permaculture techniques, especially temperate climate Forest Gardening. Robert Hart, Shropshire’s own world famous pioneer of temperate climate forest gardening, is a great inspiration to us and is held dear in our hearts. Forest Gardening supports the Raw Food Diet (the original diet of humankind). This diet is radically environmentally friendly, any minimal waste created through it is easily recycled into compost. Through adopting this natural diet we save on energy that gets wasted through cooking, a process which robs us of our food’s nutritional value. Eating raw fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods is a major solution to world pollution. Landfills are filled with products directly or indirectly related to cooked and processed foods, such as: packaging, wrappers, bags, old stoves. microwaves etc. The supply system is also dependent at every turn on massive use of motor transport (oil) which poisons and pollutes the environment we live in, the air we breathe.
We hope that more and more of the community will benefit from fruit and vegetables organically grown at Karuna and sold at the local farmers market in the not too distant future and possibly serve as an additional top-up for existing organic box schemes in the area. We are informed that there simply isn’t enough local organic fruit and veg supply.
The project mainly demonstrates… A) How people can take responsibility for themselves by producing some of their own food,fuel and power and B) that the food they are unable able to grow is best grown as locally as possible, with no harmful chemicals in its growing or storage.
Buying food that travels unnecessarily funds the polluting , poisoning process that is destroying the quality of our children’s future. Example: an apple flown from South Africa and consumed in Britain puts 600 times more pollution into the air we breathe than an apple grown and eaten in Britain. Apply this logic to all the food transported unnecessarily and the environmental damage is obviously horrendous… beware of food miles!
Karuna is neither politically nor religiously biased and we hope to cross these artificial divides. The project does not have any 'fixed idea' about the multitude of ways it can serve small groups and individuals within the local and broader community.
Karuna is oriented towards the experience of change. We are simply sowing seeds and what is the seeds destiny? We know that any real solutions must embody a change of heart - an emphatic connection with the fullness of life.Together we are creating an age of restoration, guided by the shared values of interdependence, kinship, cooperation, community and mutual aid. There is a dramatic urgency for us to share ingeniously effective solutions with the widest possible audience, inspiring them to join in our global work. Your support is needed with advice and assistance in fundraising, practical garden work (aftercare of trees, herbs and shrubs), materials, web site development, constructive creative ideas for new directions within the project etc.
We welcome people who share similar dedicated sympathetic nuturance of nature, and have some vision of creativity. You are invited to offer suggestions as well as participate.Dont hesitate contact us NOW.