My name is Anna. I am originally from Sweden and after years of travel and a decade living in the Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, I am now living in the beautiful Pyrenees mountains in the south of France. I moved here not so long ago. It was hard to leave Findhorn, which I love very much, but I wanted to live closer to the land and had the opportunity here. Now I live with my partner outside a small village. We’re restoring an old barn, and I am designing our food forest and permaculture garden while learning French, talking to our chickens, and getting to know my local community here.
The past 13 years of my life have been dedicated largely to ecovillages. I met my first ecovillage while travelling in South Africa, and immediately feel in love with both the experience and the concept. I also learnt about GEN, and of Findhorn. I went back to Sweden, re-started the Swedish ecovillage network, and started a PhD in Social Anthropology about community as a tool for transformation. That’s how I first came to Findhorn - to study life there. I started engaging in GEN Europe, working to establish the network of national ecovillage networks in Europe, and in 2015, I started working for GEN International. First in projects about social innovation and education, then as Education Director, and then for the past 2.5 years as our Coordination Circle Lead Link, coordinating our whole team and our activities. I feel truly blessed for getting to work in such a hopeful area, with so many people dedicating their lives to living differently and in harmony with themselves, each other, and the Earth.
During these years, I have become more and more interested in how ecovillages can better navigate through crisis, and how they can help the systems and places they are part of, to do the same. I am still a researcher at heart, and I love figuring out how things work! To me, community holds the key to so much possibility, hope, security and resilience, and I feel we have a duty to grow and to share what we have learnt as a movement so far - to invite more and more people and places into our circles. I also feel called to challenge our movement to do and be more, to show up in new arenas, and to dare to question both itself and current paradigms. Maybe that’s why I was so excited about this project from the very first meeting I had with our funder, the VKRF foundation! Since that call, I have become much more knowledgeable about resilience, resilience assessments, and what I now call the polycrisis - a situation when crises in multiple global systems become causally entangled in ways that significantly degrade our prospects, like climate change and war happening at the same time as a significant decrease in fossil fuel availability, for example. I also feel profoundly inspired by approaches that include more than human nature in exploring the care, mutual support and solidarity I think we need in these times.
To me, we’re living in a time of endings and potential new beginnings, and this project is one way that I try to support those new beginnings to be beautiful and respectful to all life. Thats one power I see in the ecovillage movement now - engaging people on the ground in nurturing meaningful possibilities in times of endings, as a global network and as 6000 local communities not only responding to the polycrisis, but giving birth to another way of being while doing it.