On a hill below a pre-Viking hillfort ruin and above an open meadow, is Charlottendal’s farm. We have built a small ecological community here, with six households using alternative energy and sewage technology, a handful of yurts and buses, and a Waldorf kindergarten. The purpose of Charlottendal is to develop different types of activities on a small farm, with a permaculture perspective that integrates animals, gardens and nature with social and educational aspects.
The place is home to about twenty people – four families, individuals young and old, a new women’s collective and some international volunteers. Sheep, horses, goats and chickens are some of the animals you can spot while walking around. The farm is owned by the Hagerrot family and co-managed by the Charlottendal Animals and Culture association, Lilla Bullerbyn kindergarten and the Charlottendal Housing Cooperative.
Since ten years the farm is an ecovillage and part of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) as well as the Swedish Ekobyarnas Riksorganisation (ERO). Green technology used at the farm includes solar panels, techniques for waste water management and compost toilets. We are self-sufficient in terms of water supply thanks to two wells, and have an independent system for cleaning waste water. The farm combines different types of housing. One of these is wooden houses (using straw and clay walls for some) heated with a wood stove, for example Finnish Heikki furnaces. General heating uses heat pumps. This type of housing includes the farm’s kindergarten as well as residential houses. Part of the farm’s residents live in yurts and buses. New construction projects include a log house hosting volunteers at the farm as well as upcoming courses, and a healing yurt which will be used for yoga, dance and music courses. Three tourist apartments also host visitors from near and far throughout the year.
Education is key to Charlottendal. The farm is largely centred around the Lilla Bullerbyn kindergarten with about 30 children enrolled, and how they meet seasons and life with the farm’s animals. Adult education courses have also been developed in recent years: the One Year in Transition course, run in partnership with Eskilstuna Folkhögskola, is partly hosted here. Other course topics have included sociocracy and art of hosting. Since 2018 we have also begun a European Voluntary Service (EVS) project giving young people the opportunity to work on a farm while learning more about sustainability in practice.
Our ambition is that the farm will provide opportunities for local education, yoga, courses on group processes and personal development, with the aim of developing greater environmental and social resilience facing future challenges. That is also why we value a “glocal” perspective, a wide range of local solutions based on a global understanding of the future.