Day-to-day life in ecovillages

marker Publication Date: 2020-04-08
The most frequent question I'm asked when speaking about ecovillages is: what is the everyday life of people in ecovillages? And more precisely, how do they live in community and what are their daily occupations?

It's, of course, hard to answer this question by making generalities as each ecovillage has its own organisation and as it's impossible to find 2 ecovillages with the same configuration.
That's the reason why I decided to present an average day in the community of Arterra Bizimodu that I visited in February.

First of all, so as to understand better how is organized the day-to-day life of the community, some information have to be clarified:
  • the 8.000m2 building where the community lives is divided between spaces dedicated to the community and private spaces: each member, or each family of the community, has its own apartment with private bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen. The dinners are commonly not shared with the community but are taken separately.
  • the members' occupations are diverse:
    • some members have their activity directly on site (brewing, production of vegetables, companies hosted by the community, freelance workers...)
    • others work outside from the community (for example in Pamplona, the nearest city, 45 minutes away)
    • some are part-time workers: they spend therefore half of the week in the community and the rest of the week outside from the community to work
    • finally, children have school in the closest city, 7 kilometres away.
  • each member is expected to spend at least 30 hours per month for the community. The tasks to be performed are various: preparing the lunch for the whole community (to be done by each member once or twice a month), cleaning common spaces, administration tasks,...

A standard day in Arterra Bizimodu is therefore organized in the following manner:
  • after having breakfast in their apartments, all members start their occupation: children are driven to school and adults get to their offices whether they work outside the community or directly on site. Some of the community members, working part-time, spend some days in the community to perform their community duties.
  • around 10:30, the person in charge of the preparation of the shared lunch for the day starts cooking: generally, between 20 and 30 members have lunch together every day. The lunch preparation can be long and 3 hours are often necessary until the lunch is served at 13:30. In order to have lunch with the community, it's necessary to register by the day before: at the end of the month, all members have to pay for the lunches taken during the past months, to cover the expenses in food, water and energy consumed.
  • at 11:00, the community members working on site join in the community lunch room to have "el almuerzo", a short break during which it's possible to take coffee and a snack. This habit is a propitious moment for the members to discuss and is really appreciated by the community.
  • around 13:30, when the lunch is ready, the bell is rung so that everybody can be noticed: all members eat together in the lunch room, or outside when it's sunny!
  • After having lunch, everybody normally go back to his activity, and the building keeps quite until 16:00 when the children come back from school. It brings a lot of energy in the building and its surroundings! The community members regularly take breaks in their activity and meet outside to chat and take advantage of the sun, when possible!
  • From 18:00, some community meetings can be organized as it's generally the good time to have everybody available: small groups meet, on specific topics (circles meetings for example, click here for more information)
  • As indicated before, the dinners are commonly not shared and are taken separately. Nevertheless, it's common that some people gather into small groups to have a shared dinner. Besides, common dinners are regularly proposed for special events and the whole community (to celebrate a birthday, to welcome a new visitor, farewell party, carnival, ...) is invited to join in the living room, everybody bringing the food he wants to share!

Lunch preparation
Lunch Preparation
La Taberna: the community living room