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Plessis Ecovillage

An Ecological Living Community Adjacent to Amma's French Ashram

The Plessis Ecovillage is the home of several families who wish to embody an ecological and harmonious way of life. Designed to welcome 28 families, 12 eco-houses have already been built, in which 20 adults and 10 children are currently living.

Plessis Ecovillage

The village is located right next door to Amma's French ashram in Pontgouin, France, and has been conceived to support the aspirations of a group of devotees to live together in sharing, sobriety, simplicity, self-reliance and respect for Nature. To achieve this intention, residents seek to cultivate values of kindness, solidarity and responsibility, in order to take care of the ecosystem and of human relationships.

The project has been organized with private eco-friendly houses, common buildings, land and gardens which facilitate sharing and community living. A 250 m² (2,700 sq ft) common house in the middle of the village hosts a large community room, 5 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, a co-working space and other facilities. The members can use the facilities for personal needs, but they can also be used for activities by like-minded visitors who are interested in exploring this way of living.

Plessis residents tend the garden
Plessis residents tend the garden

At the onset of the project, the residents created regulations pertaining to the design and construction of the houses and buildings to ensure their carbon footprint is very low. The regulations include the use of bio-sourced materials, mostly straw, clay and wood, wood as a source of heat, installation of dry toilets (no-flush toilets that operate without using water, including composting toilets and container-based systems) and the use of solar power for heating water. As a result, they are almost passive (Passivhaus), a voluntary standard focusing on energy efficiency and minimal ecological impact which includes principles such as airtight construction, exceptional thermal insulation, high performance doors and windows, ventilations systems with heat recovery, etc. Overall, a veritable laboratory of eco-building techniques.

The group opted for eco-friendly sanitation by implementing three phytopurification systems for recycling greywater. This initiative is part of a comprehensive water management strategy that includes swales, ponds, and other features, enhancing the ecosystem's resilience to summer heatwaves.

The general plan for the 4.3 hectare (10.6 acre) property was created using permaculture design. In particular, approximately 100 fruit trees have already been planted and a food forest has been established. This design facilitates a progressive shift towards self-sustaining food production for the inhabitants, featuring communal vegetable gardens, two shared chicken coops, and an abundance of berry bushes.

The governance is sociocracy-oriented, emphasizing inclusive, consensus-based processes and collaborative leadership. The implementation at the ecovillage includes plenary sessions, a steering committee, different circles and working groups to manage different areas such as gardens, communication, community living, building works, common house. Debates and sharing circles are organized on a monthly basis. As more families move into the community, governance will continue to evolve in order to adapt to the new needs of the group.

Plessis residents
Plessis residents

For more information about this project, visit https://amma.org/news/fulfilling-the-dream-to-live-a-sustainable-life/?rd

Contributed by Divyanand, Project Coordinator for Plessis Ecovillage


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