Thursday 27 January 2011

Ötzi in Hethersett

Over the last 12 years, I’ve been to 8 ecovillages and smaller ecological communities in 6 European countries. Although I would have liked to talk about that experience as a whole, I haven’t found the words yet to do that. It’s partly because these 8 communities differ as much from each other as they differ from the status quo society. (Although there definitely is a common denominator to them, which is why they’re all part of the Global Ecovillage Network.) So what I’m left with doing is taking out one particular experience that is easy to write down, because it came to me in words.

In 2008 I visited Damanhur in Italy as a volunteer. One of the people there said that for three years he had eaten only food grown in the valley. (He had stopped doing this because it was such a hassle.) Damanhur is a community with a spiritual leader, who has a weekly question hour for visitors. I asked him what the connection was between the ecological and the spiritual aspect of the ecovillage as a whole and that example in particular. His answer impressed me a lot. He talked about Ötzi, who was born and lived in Italy about 5000 years ago, and who died in a glacier on the border with Austria, where he was found in 1991. Scientists had a field day, because his body had been frozen all that time. They analysed the trace metal composition of his body, which was so specific that they could pinpoint exactly which valley he had lived in before he set off for Austria. That is, his body had the same composition as that valley*. Talk about local food!

For those of you who don’t know me, and still wonder about the title: I grow all my fruit and vegetables in my garden in Hethersett, and this year intend to add honey and dinner carbohydrates

Photograph from wikipedia.
* I’ve followed Falco’s lead, and simplified the story for clarity.

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