8th Life Panama

The Project

The Design

An Integrated Community Design will be the basis for ongoing development of all of the interrelated parts of this initiative. This design will be based on a digitized land plan, walking surveys and other site-specific observations. Different zones and usage areas, internal paths and trails, common areas, member lots, and areas for productive projects will be defined. This will let us know where to best start working to improve and create soil to sustain future productive projects, where reforest so that the trees serve multiple functions, and where to best capture water to sustain all life in the Eco-village. These are tasks that require tons of attention in their design and involve many components and subsystems. We’re looking for people who can help with this.

Meantime, we’re following the permaculture principle of ‘start small’ and have implemented the following designs:

  • Food forest – 1/2 Ha planted with 300+ trees in 2019, more in 2020. Site was selected based on extensive observation and the vocation of the area. It had been planted in corn the year the land was purchased and was returning to forest 2 years later when we did a selective chop and drop then planted seedlings among the existing pioneer species. A rustic irrigation system was also designed and installed.
  • First settlement area – Rainbow Camp. Bunkhouse designed & built, rainwater catchment for sinks, shower, and overflow to food forest irrigation system designed and built, outdoor kitchen designed and built, nursery relocated to behind the kitchen, compost system set up, dry compost toilet installed, preliminary swales dug.

Priority designs for 2020 include:

  • Food forest maintenance, irrigation of trees and commence planting of other layers.
  • Water systems: water catchment uphill of the Rainbow Camp and food forest, just above the ‘expansion settlement area’. Ponds & swales on contour leading into the food forest.
  • Soil stabilization in landslide areas and tops of hills, vetiver, reforestation with native species, and other methods. This will be done in concert with the water system seeking to bring back year-round streams and springs.
  • Preliminary design of the ‘expansion settlement area’ in tandem with the above designs.

Ongoing activities / designs needed for the future include:

  • Land-plan that will become the base for the Integrated Community Design
  • Research that will allow us to participate in reforestation projects and develop an educational institute with formal accreditation
  • Research into most appropriate legal structures for the initiative, to ensure sustainability

In order to also help set up Eco-villages elsewhere (an important aspect of creating a sustainable future for life on earth)  we plan to work as an action-learning lab & to document each phase of the creation of the Eco-village, testing the theory against practice and sharing our findings in order to add to the wealth of knowledge in how to create communities & sustainability-enhancing projects.

This project essentially puts into practice and experiments with the models, tools, guidelines & methods of the Integral Permaculture curriculum, which aims to cover all the basics anyone needs to design a sustainable culture, step by step. (see the e-Book here: PermaCultureScience.org )

We’re looking for people who are very excited at the thought of doing all this. It’s painstaking work that requires us to always keep the big picture in mind while working on many little details.

See a bit more of the history behind the project here.