Our Enterprises and Livelihoods
Ecovillages are, in the words of US politics professor Karen T. Litfin who has written about them (Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community, Polity, 2014) ‘laboratories for economic experimentation’. A number of those who moved to Cloughjordan to live in or on the margins of the ecovillage have established businesses.
- WeCreate, built in the ecovillage with local, national and EU funding, hosts a Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab) established by two ecovillage members and part of the worldwide network of FabLabs allowing the manufacture of almost anything through downloading plans and using computers to make the products. It is the only community-based FabLab in Ireland. The centre offers co-working, shared workspaces for local businesses, entrepreneurs and projects. There are future plans and space for a community kitchen. WeCreate also runs courses for colleges has been accredited as a ‘Discover Primary Science and Maths’ centre by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) allowing visiting schools claim credits towards SFI awards.
- Django’s eco-hostel with 34 beds
- RiotRye wood-fired bakery and bread school located in the eco-village
- Sheelagh na Gig, a bookshop and coffee shop on Cloughjordan’s main street. Walnut Books, the on-line bookshop for books on ecology and sustainable solutions, is located at Sheelagh na Gig.
- VINE (Village Internet Network Engineering) provides internet and telephone services to ecovillage residents
- Cultivate, an educational NGO specialising in community resilience, permaculture and sustainability
- FEASTA, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability
- Consultancies run from the ecovillage include event management, low-energy and sustainable building techniques, and renewable energy.
In these ways the ecovillage is the centre of extensive economic activity generating livelihoods and drawing many visitors to the locality and encouraging more businesses to locate in Cloughjordan. At the heart of sustainable living is the ability to generate sufficient income to live well within the ethic of sharing and mutual support.