Our planet is in crisis. Today humankind does not have a coherent story that will save us. Twelve thousand years ago at the start of the Neolithic age, we took our first step away from Nature when we started growing our own food. Ownership of land and agriculture began, and it’s been downhill from there. Three hundred years ago the Industrial revolution sped up our alienation from Nature and with today’s technology literally in our faces 24/7 we ask “Nature and the Web-of-Life? What’s that?”
We are so disconnected that we have brought this planet into the Sixth Major Extinction. All of us living here now at Khula Dharma have a deep respect for life and a strong commitment to work for environmental and social justice. Our aim is to start telling a new story by showing that it is possible to live and farm in a way that supports Life. Our farm is just a seed at the moment; we need people to join us to live the story, to make it visible to the world.
Our intention is for Khula Dharma to become a place where:
- People of all ages, races and creeds live together in harmony.
- There is support for mindfulness practice, rooted in self-observation.
- The setting is conducive to a peaceful and meaningful life.
- All life-forms flourish in harmony.
- All residents and their children have the care and support they need.
- All voices are considered in decision making.
- Conflicts are resolved peacefully.
- A rewarding livelihood can be gained here on the farm while maintaining time for family, friends, play, and creativity.
- We enjoy creative expression, playfulness and cultural stimulation as a way of celebrating life and having fun.
- We build our shelters, harvest our water, meet our energy needs, grow our food and use our waste in an environmentally sensitive way.
- Our services, goods and food are traded in a humane and Eco-friendly way. The land we are not using for food production or living space, is restored to its pristine condition.
- We are actively connected to others seeking to live this way.
We see ourselves as accountable to the land, as the human component to all the other life forms here, as kindred spirits with Nature, if you like. Our aim is to pioneer and regenerate this land by healing the soil.
We’ve also come together to create an environment that is ecologically healthy and nurtures our spirits; we like to focus on trust and openness. We embrace the diversity of spiritual paths and
welcome people of any religion or none.
We govern ourselves with a consensus decision-making process whereby all members are given the opportunity to be involved in decisions which will affect the community as whole.
In a nutshell we value sustainable ecological systems, Permaculture design, mindful living, spiritual diversity and healthy social relations. We are a plant-based community with most of our members being either vegetarian or vegan expressing our desire to ‘tread lightly on the earth’ and cause no harm to other beings. Some of us are “survivalists” which means we eat what we can forage.
The farm is separated into two inter-dependent and mutually beneficial structures, namely: homesteading and villaging and each structure has its own group of individuals responsible for maintaining it. We value sustainable ecological systems, permaculture design, righteous living, spiritual diversity, and healthy social relations. We are a plant-based community with all of our members being either vegetarian or vegan as a way of treading lightly on this earth and not causing any harm to other beings.
Annual Dues and Fees - There are farm expenses which benefit the whole community such as maintenance of roads, water infrastructure (and much more) which will require of
members to contribute a small monthly fee; we are however open to considering skills/talents as a form of value exchange.
Spiritual and Social life
We understand that it is vital that we each take responsibility for our own spiritual growth for the health and development of the village as a whole. Growing this way makes it easy to find our personal roles and ways in which we can enrich the life of all. We embrace the diversity of spiritual paths and welcome people of any religion or none.
We appreciate it to be reminded that unskillful actions cause pain and suffering. Therefore we find it helpful to cultivate:
- Compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.
- Generosity in our thinking, speaking and acting.
- Responsibility and learn ways to support the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society.
- Loving, truthful speech and compassionate listening.
- Good health, both physical and mental, by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming.
We enjoy coming together and connecting which happens informally most days!
We currently meet together every Sunday evening at 6pm in the main hall for group meditation followed by a reading of some sort and discussion.
Presently we enjoy at least 2 communal feasts/gatherings a month where each household prepares a meal to share.
One Saturday a month we come together to plant trees to restore the indigenous forest on the farm. We’re slowly cutting back the black wattle, lantana and gum and replacing with indigenous
We have early morning physical training sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7AM - 8AM. These sessions are open to whoever would like to join.
Making a Living
Khula Dharma is an independent income community, meaning that each member is responsible for earning his or her own living. We are however in the process of developing our own village-scale, ecologically sound economy to enable members to earn an income on the farm. Our localized economy will be built upon the foundation of a community-based organizational structure and business model.
At the heart of the business model is the retreat centre, which will be able to host courses, events and workshops centered on holistic healing and learning/education. We also aim to produce a surplus of produce from our food forests which can be used to cater for the courses and processed into value added products as a way of generating additional forms of income for the farm and its members.
Our ecological ethos is based on an appreciation for the wonder and the sheer mystery of all of Nature. We are responding to the environmental challenges of our time. We choose to be as responsible towards the land we are living on as possible; this means we build our shelters, harvest our water, meet our energy needs, grow our food and use our waste in a way that is as environmentally sensitive as we can be.
We have developed a Land-Use Plan based on Permaculture Design Principles. This means we identified our specific land-use needs at Khula Dhamma. They are: residential, recreational, agricultural, woodlots, forestry, dams, roads and wilderness. We are meeting these needs in a holistic and low-impact way that is ecologically sound and aesthetically pleasing. We have taken into account natural energy flows and ecosystem processes to create this harmonious whole.
All residents should rely on rainwater harvest as a primary source and use borehole water, if available, only as drinking water. All residents act responsibly with regard to the use of water, especially from the borehole and the dam. Everyone understands that the river is a precious resource which we leave untouched, only going there as guardians to protect and beautify the riverine forest. All residents ensure that there is no water run-off causing soil erosion on their homestead or beyond.
We use methods of food production that are cooperative with nature. We might put names like Permaculture, Co-creative science, Biodynamic or Natural farming to these methods, although what we seek to do transcends these names. Our aim is to be as self sufficient as possible. We believe that this will ensure our health, and the health of the planet. We are committed to conscious consumption by favouring and supporting local, organic agriculture for the food we cannot produce here. We are also committed to supporting local, small, ethical and fair trade businesses for our material needs. We research, and inform ourselves about how our food and product choices impact people and the Earth.
We realize that keeping some form of livestock may well be a natural and an integral part of a homestead design - Permaculture calls for the use of animals in its system. Including a limited number of animals in your homestead is perfectly acceptable. We see all animals being treated with love and respect, allowed to express their intrinsic nature, and to live out their lives in as natural a way as possible.
We aspire that the materials we use for our dwellings and communal living purposes, are sourced directly from the farm, or from local, small, ethical and fair trade businesses. We encourage sourcing 2nd hand items, (re-use, repair). We advise that a balance be maintained between building as naturally as possible, whilst building for sustainability.
We harvest wind and solar energy for domestic, farming and cottage industry usage. We encourage green technology, such as biogas digesters, to meet our energy needs. We suggest the use of petrochemicals for energy in machinery such as vehicles, generators and tools, to be kept to a minimum - balancing our current needs with the future we endeavor.
It is our aim to reach a state of zero-waste. Organic waste (vegetable and human) is used in our worm farms and compost. Non-organic waste is sorted and what can not be recycled is taken to the waste disposal depot.
REDUCE, REPAIR, REUSE, RECYCLE, AND ROT. If you commit to these five actions, there is little that must be thrown away. Choosing to follow the 5 R’s ensures that resources are saved and/or reused, and the volume of waste is reduced. By keeping these actions in mind when purchasing, using, and disposing of materials, you will have done your share to keep our village clean and beautiful.
It is our aim to restore the identified wilderness areas back to their pristine state. This means removal of some non-indigenous plants/trees and replanting with indigenous species. Our intention is to improve the quality of the soil, as we do at our homesteads for food production, through increasing plant diversity and increasing efficiency in harvesting sunlight and water. We create marked walking paths for the pleasure of walking and observing wilderness and rehabilitated areas.
As we explore conscious, co-creative living, may we become a vibrant village, a beacon of light for the benefit of future generations and all life on Earth.
These agreements and practices we have set out are a reflection of our vision and intentions. Our ethos is an expression of how we naturally aspire to be, not a set of
rules. As such we choose to periodically review our ethos and always remain open to discussion so that it may change and grow as we do.