The Living Projects at Pondfield is a thriving community led space that facilitates pioneering initiatives coming from our local area to tackle systemic issues around purposeful work, social infrastructure, rural youth opportunities and nature connection.
Founded in 2014 by local young people who wanted to see more opportunities for their generation, Pondfield has grown into a thriving hub for our community. We grow food, we explore pioneering techniques to help ecosystems and biodiversity through regenerative land management. We offer space for volunteering and learning about various horticulture approaches whilst we continue to support the local community through providing opportunities for connection to the land, social health and true wellbeing.
We are creating a thriving, land based learning hub for our local community that is primarily focused on supporting young people within an intergenerational community. We want to continue to explore how we can take a regenerative approach to working with the land whilst supporting alternative ways to create meaningful work in the local area and tackle the biodiversity crisis head-on. We are testing the waters and learning through experience how to take ecologically damaged land and turn it into something positive for the future. As we build on our successes and learn from our mistakes we want to lead the way for others to restore degraded land through community participation.
Multilayered approach to wellbeing and social health
We consider the mental, physical and emotional needs of individual and collective health
We listen to our local community and continue to develop in response to their needs
Regenerative Land Management
We are learning and teaching how to work the land in a way that leaves it healthier than when we found it.
We are growing organically, in a way that is nourishing to our team, our community and the land.
Land based lifelong learning
We offer space that strives to support all the different ways that people can learn from the land
Resilience and Sufficiency
We are resilience builders, helping our community to rediscover the skills that we need to live and thrive on our land.
We know that these are troubling times and collectively we are navigating Covid19, climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, a growing wealth gap, inequality, isolation, a mental and physical health crisis, and so much more. We understand that we each have a role to play in navigating these issues. At The Living Projects we are finding ways to build resilience, capacity and confidence for people to face these issues together. We want to foster qualities that support lifelong learning so that more of us can adapt to the challenges of these times.
We also believe that given the right type of support, funding and opportunities that Pondfield could become a prime example of how communities can collectively run, use and transform agricultural land into community assets, supporting learning, food sovereignty and wellbeing. Our mission is to grow The Living Projects into a space where we can support others to create similar initiatives and together tackle these issues.
2020 saw us grow, formalise and deepen our commitment as a project. 2021 is the year for us to really show what we are capable of. Our members are going to be essential to our ongoing development and growth, as well as a number of changes on the horizon that will hopefully open up new avenues of funding and, therefore, more opportunities for our project to serve our local community.
What we do
Everything that we do as a project revolves around nature, regeneration, community, learning and wellbeing and this informs how we grow together.
Our weekly community volunteer days are the staple diet to caring for the land, as we grow food and spend time being creative outdoors together.
We look at how we can give more to the land than we take, discovering ways to improve, restore and regenerate as we maintain and support habitats to thrive.
We offer space for our local community to put on a variety of events, workshops and courses around learning and education that have ranged from mushroom cultivation workshops to sweat lodges to film screenings.
We provide space for others to grow food like the Squash Cooperative, advising and supporting other projects that collaborate with us on the land.
Being a welcome space for young people to come get stuck in and find experience or support that will help them grow and thrive.
We are raising funds through our membership scheme to become more sustainable and self sufficient as a project which will help us continue to create a positive impact for the community through the space we offer for regenerative land practices.
Our project has grown out of providing a space for local people to connect with the land and rediscover vital skills. The time, energy and enthusiasm given by the local community has brought us to where we are today and we are really excited to see where this support will lead us.
2020 gave us the opportunity to expand and so we are finding pathways to become more sustainable in our long term vision as a project and we would like to offer our local community more opportunities to join us in the continued development of The Living Projects.
Through our membership scheme you can join a number of community events that we offer throughout the year and participate in shaping the project as well as book the roundhouse space from June - November.
Who we are
We are a group of local young adults, who are passionate about the regeneration and enhancement of land as well as fostering learning and education within our local community that supports wellbeing and social health.
Meet the core team:
Charlie Burls - Founder and project co-ordinator of 'The Living Projects' at Pondfield.
Charlie is an avid campaigner for community resilience, putting that into practice by creating 'The Living Projects' at 19 years old. He is committed to finding Regenerative solutions to support an environmentally sustainable, socially fulfilling human culture to emerge in these demanding times. He has a broad knowledge in permaculture design, agroforestry, ecological building/landscaping, and a driving passion to apply these skills to how we manage and envision the land at Pondfield. He spends his spare time searching out high adrenaline outdoor activities like climbing, camping, surfing, hiking and diving.
Dotty Speedwell-Walters - Dotty has been a core member of the project from the early days. She has been a part of the team in the garden, coordinating events and community gatherings. She works locally with families doing childcare and leads groups of children in bushcraft and outdoor learning.Exploring new models of supportive community culture is a passion of hers and she wholeheartedly brings this element to the Living Projects, creating an environment where everyone feels welcome. Dotty has loved watching the biodiversity of Pondfield change over the years; the flowers in the meadow, the insects, birds and new trees that have been both self-seeded and planted. By supporting this to happen it has given her lots of inspiration and hope for the change that we feel is needed in these times. Dotty loves spending her days outdoors, wild swimming, and playing with her friends, big and small. In the autumn she is beginning a degree in midwifery.
Alana Bloom - Passionate about systems change and building the movement for regeneration, Alana got involved with the Living Projects in early 2020 after over a year involved with climate activism and has since been supporting the project to grow and thrive organically. She has been a facilitator for over five years, and is committed to creating spaces of deep transformative learning in support of systemic change. She is a host, host mentor and learning designer with adult peer-to-peer learning organisation Enrol Yourself and with over 10 years experience and training as a performer she infuses her work with creativity and play and uses art and theatre to create imaginative responses to climate breakdown. She’s founder of Regenerating Rhythms and part of the 2020 Design science Studio with the Buckminster Fuller institute. She loves long walks in nature, moving her body, amateur photography and emergent strategy.
Zac Goodall - Since 2017 Zac has been a part of the Living Projects team, helping to continue the work to bring the veg garden, woodland and meadow at Pondfield to life. Zac is interested in developing regenerative food systems, and helping bring communities together through learning to eat from and regenerate our landscapes. Working as sustainability and ethics manager for a leading organic vegbox business, and with an MSc in food security and sustainable agriculture, he has gained valuable experience in improving agri-environmental and business sustainability. Zac loves surfing, growing veg, and exploring the coast with his family.
Matthew Bailey - Matt is an Architect, who specialises in designing strawbale buildings, using all natural and healthy materials. He is interested in regenerative land management, and how the construction of the built environment, food and energy production can all be done in a way that has a positive impact on a site and improves the health of people and landscapes. He also has an interest in wild food and harvesting both plant and animal foods from the wild.
Joseph Rose is a South Hams District Councillor, workshop leader, musician, and DJ. In 2019 he supported the formation of the UK Student Climate Network, initiating the first youth strikes for climate in the UK. In particular, he worked with school children across Devon to catalyse what is now a large movement of young people campaigning for climate justice in Devon. Volunteering for the Pachamama Alliance, as a 'Be the Change facilitator' from the age of 15, he has always searched for ways to share a message of both urgency and possibility. Joseph first came to Pondfield in 2015, whilst looking for a venue to hold an event, and became more deeply involved in the project in 2017. He has since run regular sweat lodges at pondfield and several other events including a Be The Change Symposium. He is deeply passionate about the project, seeing it as a vital and inspiring part of a global movement of relocalising, nature connection and community regeneration, creating much-needed solutions to the challenges of our times.
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