Ethos and Principles
Global trends of destruction of the natural world have become the norm. Our support of industrial systems of production have fueled these developments, defining a narrative of unbridled consumption and infinite growth on a finite planet. This has all culminated in an extractive economic system that commodifies and exploits nature, which has lead us to the current sixth major extinction.
We believe we share a collective responsibility in challenging the current extractive paradigm.
Our mission is to restore ecosystem functionality on this land and to provide a space conducive to living in a way that allows the earth to heal.
Homesteaders and villagers will provide us with clean air, healthy soil, water, and life-filled food through methods of natural farming. These groups will build mutually supportive roles and provide a space for people from the wider community to heal and learn how to live in a life-enriching way.
Our intention is for Khula Dharma to be a place where:
- People of all ages, races and creeds live together in harmony.
- Mindful awareness is cultivated, rooted in self-observation and action.
- The setting is conducive to a peaceful and meaningful life.
- All life-forms harmonise.
- All voices are considered in decision making.
- Conflicts are resolved peacefully.
- A rewarding livelihood can be gained while maintaining time for family, friends and play.
- 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 manage our waste in a regenerative manner.
- 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. 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 deeply desire to lead a life of generous and genuine service for the sake of the greater good, and also freely receiving those mutual gifts and offerings from people with whom we share relationships based on principles of:
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 a whole.
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.
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.
Mindless actions cause pain and suffering and we therefore find it helpful to cultivate mindfulness and compassion in our thoughts and actions and learn ways to support the safety and integrity of the community as a whole which include good health, both physical and mental, by practicing mindful eating, drinking and exercising.
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 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 Dharma. 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 practice sound land management ensuring that there is as little water run-off causing soil erosion on their homestead as possible.
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 systems. 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.
The farm is covered with what most humans see as “alien invaders”, Black Wattle and Lantana, but from
the land’s perspective these plants are part of the regeneration process that now needs human
intervention to speed it up. The next step in the land’s partnership with humans happened when the new owner bought the farm on which to grow moringa trees. Fortunately he quickly realised that moringa trees, like the land itself, need great diversity to thrive. He has very successfully demonstrated how moringa thrive in the diversely planted food forest which he is establishing on The Hill where he lives.
We explore conscious, co-creative living and are a vibrant community challenging the extractive paradigm 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 evolve and grow as we do.