We are Matthew and Martina,
We wish to share our project, simply because we have benefited greatly from many blogs and websites over the years, and we hope that this can help anyone researching sustainable building, organic farming and the quietude of low impact living.
We would like this to be both a diary, and a source of practical information.We will post photographs where possible, and disclose plans and diagrams of projects we undertake. We are constantly learning, and as time goes by, we should be able to provide advise on ‘what worked’ and ‘what didn’t’ as we build and plant and sow.
MAITREYA comes from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘loving kindness’ and it is the chosen name for our future small holding on a 1 hectare plot of land in Czech Republic. (maitreya is also the name of the best vegetarian restaurant in the UK)
In a fortnight we will stand on this land for the first time and begin planning the project. It will be the culmination of 5 years of experiences, revelations and decision-making, that has shaped our vision for our future.
In 2009 we moved from a rented two bedroom house in London into a 7″ by 21″ caravan on a working farm near Bristol. This was an experiment in reducing our impact on our environment, living in a small dwelling and learning how to grow our own food, build basic structures, and climatise ourselves to a slower, simpler and more fulfilled lifestyle.
The Caravan : our porch going up and the garden going in
(we had to wood clad and stuff straw underneath the caravan to keep the heat in)
Land plots in the UK are beyond financial reach for most people (let alone a property to put on them!) the housing market , like many systems of modern society, is totally inaccessible and unsustainable. The decision to move to Czech where land remains a sensible price* was born from a necessity as well as a desire.
We are planning to build our own house, from the ground up, using low impact building techniques such as dry stone walling, straw bale, cob and timber frame building, employing materials from the locality and treading lightly on the land we have available to us.
Our small holding will be centred around the keeping of horses, chickens and vegetable growing – based on Organic ethics and Permacultural design. We aim to meet all our household needs – off grid – by growing fuel and food and drawing our own water.
We wish to start a family and by choosing this lifestyle, afford to spend the majority of our time with our children and our land. To found a family domain that can support itself through the transition we all will have to make – beyond fossil fuels – into a sustainable future.
All our actions on this land will be performed with loving kindness – hence the name MAITREYA
* BUYING & OWNING LAND IN CZECH REPUBLIC : Currently Czech Law only permits Czech Nationals to own land in Czech Republic. This we found appealing, as this prevents foreign investors creating a real estate / housing market problem. Since Martina is Czech, our land will be in her name.