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Last updated: July 3, 2013 (1 year ago)
Listing created on: December 31, 1999

Lebensgarten Steyerberg

(Steyerberg, Lower Saxony, Germany)

  • Status: Established
  • Formed: 1984  Established: 1985
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address: http://www.lebensgarten.de/
  • Contact Name: Chistine Koller
  • Phone: +49 5764 2370
  • Address:
    Ginsterweg 3
    Steyerberg, Lower Saxony, 31595
    Germany
  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    Every month, we have a guided tour for visitors. This happens on the second Sunday of each month, starting at the entrance/ bus stop at 14 hrs. and finishing (2 hours later) with a visit to our Sunday Café with hot drinks and organic cakes. Here the newcomer gets views of the community as well as exchanges of ideas, both during the walk and in the Cafè; cost is €6 per person. Larger group or theme (e.g. Living in Community; Eco-Building; Eco-village Network; Permaculture) tours for school classes or associations with 10 or more people (with lunch or afternoon tea, as desired) can be arranged over the telephone with Frauke at +49 5764 2000 (best: Tuesdays 20-21 hr.). For overnight guests, please call the office: +49 5764 2370 (Mon., Wed., and Fri. 10 – 12 hr.; Tue. and Thu. 17 – 19 hr.) or email anmelden@lebensgarten.de.

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes
    We are pretty well full within the original settlement but new members are renting and buying houses nearby.

Mission Statement:

ecological spiritual community

Community Description:

Lebensgarten celebrated its 25 Anniversary in Sept.2010. We live in a settlement, which were originally built in 1938 for the workers in an ammunition factory nearby. Our location is roughly halfway between Hanover and Bremen in northern Germany, on a hill outside the town of Steyerberg (5,000 inhabitants).
Since 1985, people have moved here looking for community but especially those seeking mutual respect, tolerance, and love. The members wanted to develop their social, spiritual, and cultural life in a creative way. Just as important to us is cooperation with nature and ecology in everyday life, so Permaculture was introduced. In the meantime, we are more than 100 members and 35 children. Each person is responsible for her or his own health, wealth, and life. We have a common purse for our communal buildings and activities, e.g., educational and cultural programs. We have many activities that expand our bundaries as an eco-village. Gaia University has its first European co-ordinating and out-reach center GALA here, as does many other initiatives: Non-Violent Communication, Mediation, Circle Dance, Zen Meditation, Food Security, etc. We offer courses and year-long programs of study for subject not usually found at mainstream universities.
Morning practices of meditation, chanting, and circle dancing are part of out Lebensgarten spiritual direction, open to all, but in no way a “must.” There is no guru here. We make almost all our decisions in qualified consensus in a monthly meeting. Otherwise, members can decide for themselves the level of their commitment regarding their tasks in the community.
From 1985 to 1995, the main task was to rebuild the almost ruinous buildings with ecological materials. From 1995 to 2000, we renovated our big hall with help of funds from the World Fair Hanover. These spaces can now be used for larger events and conferences. Since 2000, we have been able to continue with our original tasks: healthy nutrition and permaculture, and add survival techniques, the art of mentoring, etc. Our food production, at present is insuficcient due to poor soil, but slowly expanding as terra preta methods are being introduced.
New members are welcome, especially social or ecological entrepreneurs and food producers as we are moving into a period of improving our economic and survival base — all of this with high respect for Mother Nature and Father Sun.

Population

  • Adult Members: 130
  • Child Members: 35
  • Non-member Residents: 20
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 31-40%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Additional Comments: Tolerance is one of our common paths

    Many different spiritual paths

    Steiner + public school off property, own kindergarten in our forest, free school being planned in the region

Social Factors

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates pieces from many religions)
  • Education Style(s): Private School off the property

Government

  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments: steering committee – elected every 2 years

    we call our system qualified consensus

Land and Buildings

  • Housing Provided: Yes, for all or most members.
  • Location: Rural, Rural
  • Area: 74.1 acres
  • Land owned by: A subgroup of community members
  • Current number of residences: 70
  • Additional Comments: and a foundation: Paradise Now

    Eco-village model

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: Members have completely independent finances
  • Shared Expenses: Little or no share of expenses
  • Open to members with existing debt: No
  • Required Labor contribution: 0
  • Join Fee: 0
  • Regular Fee: 0
  • Additional Comments: Communal facilities carried by members’ monthly contributions and donations

    at least 4 to 6 hours/ month

    new members pay double fees per month for the first year while on probation

    Membership fees mainly for upkeep of communal grounds, buildings and communal events

Diet

  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • Current food produced: Between 25-50%
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Not at all important – people may eat however they individually choose.
  • Dietary Practice: Mostly Vegetarian
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Additional comments: we cooperate with bio-farmers in the region

    communal meals are vegetarian

    other dietary options are provided on prior request to visitors and seminar guests

    mainly alcohol free, except for our café

    mainly smoke free, except designated outdoor areas

Photo Gallery

Video Gallery

[youlist vid="jkM2f8XezUI" width="720" height="480"]

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)

Community Affiliations

Gaia University

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We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
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