11th October 2013 (EN CASTELLANO AQUI)
I bought the piece of land for this project on 7th November 2008, and as the anniversary of this important date approaches it seems a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved and set goals for 2014. Exactly a year ago I was getting ready to present The Boodaville Project at the Global Eco-Forum in Barcelona, which included setting clear goals for 2013, so I will start by evaluating these goals, then give a summary of where the project is at, and lastly outline goals for the coming year. As many of you know my personal involvement with the project will be limited during the next 6 months so I hope to see it moving forward as a collaborative effort by anyone who shares my drive to promote sustainable healthy living, permaculture and activism.
Let’s see how much we can get done in 2014!
A- EVALUATION OF LAST YEARS GOALS
B- OTHER IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS 2012/2013
C- PRESS AND MEDIA 2012/2013
D- CROWDFUNDING SPENDING SO FAR
E- GOALS FOR 2014
A- EVALUATION OF LAST YEARS GOALS
Goals set fot 2012 -13
- Run three events:
- The Boodaville Festival,
- Express Yourself (improvisation course)
- Think Like a Forest (Permaculture and social change course)
- Continue with the building of the small house following a passive design
- Find 3 partners to form a cooperative
- Continue to develop the infrastructure to comfortably host guests.
Evaluation of these 4 goals
- The Boodaville Festival was a success despite cold weather and rain to contend with. The highlights this year were the introduction of workshops on sustainability themes, and theloveofit who ran fantastic team games on the saturday afternoon. 38 tickets were sold before the event, 22 free tickets were issued to workshop leaders, artists and volunteers, and 8 tickets were sold on site. We didn’t quite reach the target of 100 people on site. The festival almost covered it’s costs, but due to unforeseen costs because of bad weather the organiser made a small loss. The summary of the accounts for the festival can be found here. After the accounts were closed it also transpired that outstanding costs of an unknown amount (about 300 euros?) were taken on by the co-organiser/kitchen organiser.
- Express Yourself was cancelled due to lack of participants. All three organisers needed to have spent more time on marketing and promotion.
- Think Like a Forest was a wonderful week of learning, working and having fun. On a personal level I was blown away by the success of this first full-length course – the teaching was outstanding, the food and structure were excellent, with very nearly 100% of the food locally and/or sustainably sourced. The facilities were reasonable, but most importantly everyone left feeling inspired and positive about continuing to take steps towards a sustainable lifestyle. There were 8 paying participants, 2 teachers, 5 volunteers and myself, the organiser. The costs to run the course were covered by paying guests and in their evaluation questionnaire “value for money” was rated overall as “excellent”. The additional infrastructure requirements/tools to run the course were funded by the crowdfunding money. In future to improve the organisation I would suggest 2 organisers, and that volunteers and teachers are on site at least 24 hours before the course starts. Further improvements to the infrastructure would make participants and teachers more comfortable and an important criticism from one of the teachers is that before doing another course we need to have more working permaculture systems in place (primarily water/irrigation and some practical working examples of permaculture design as a demonstration to participants). In order to do this I need to get certified in Permaculture design, then a site plan needs to be put together (by a group of people including myself) and a lot of work on site needs to be done, ideally working with volunteers.
- The small house is moving forward. There are now four walls and a french drain. The next step is the roof, followed by the floor. The work has been beautifully undertaken by local builder and project supporter – Joaquin Pardet, and help with the build has been provided by volunteers. The only issue holding back the completion of the roof is lack of funds. After completing the roof structure earth can be moved by volunteers to create the “green” part of the roof, and the floor can be completed as a week long workcamp led by an expert in radiant floors.
- Although there have been several interested visitors to the project the team of 4 to form a cooperative has not materialised yet! Here are names and contact details of the people most involved in the project :
- Austin and Anita – festival organisers 2014 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Alice Chinn – collaborator and food organiser – email@example.com
- Matt Kemp – collaborator and workshop leader – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ale Fernandez – collaborator and active in the ecoxarxa – email@example.com
- Rob Durand – supporter, member of team yurt and regular visitor – firstname.lastname@example.org
- The infrastructure has improved since last year. On top of the existing facilities (yurt with double bed, bar, outdoor kitchen, old house with double bed and indoor cooking space, two dry compost toilets, two squat toilets for girls to wee, two basic wash areas, waterproof large cupboard) we now have a third toilet and a large shade structure with fly curtains and a low dining table big enough for 16 people – although the curtains need improving and a better system of putting a tarpaulin on top to make it waterproof would be useful. Further improvements are required in order to have a comfortable, fully shaded and well-equipped outdoor classroom, better washing facilities, a toilet with a roof and more water collection. Most of the work on infrastructure done by myself and volunteers during the year is maintenance.
B- OTHER IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS 2012/2013
- Successful crowdfunding campaign. Boodaville reached the target of raising £3000 during July/August 2013 via an Indiegogo campaign. This was the most important achievement of the year. The decision to start a campaign was taken around April, when it became apparent that the available contributions from Boodaville founder Anna Gurney were barely enough to cover the building work on the small house, and there was a lack of funds to continue to improve the site and buy tools for courses and workcamps. The campaign was a wonderful, positive experience. Many people who know Anna and have visited the site were fantastically generous, as well as some online followers who know Anna and hope to visit in the future. Towards the end of the campaign, after promotion via permaculture networks there were more and more small donations by unknown people. The target was set based on what was realistically possible considering the reach of the blog (average 82 hits a day) the newsletter (650 people) twitter (100 followers) facebook (151 likes). About 8 full working days were spent by Anna in order to oversee the making of the video, design the campaign page and promote the campaign. A further 2 days will be required to arrange the rewards that people signed up for. The video was made in 2 working days by Bernat Rueda. The total amount raised (excluding the contribution by Anna herself) was £3068.
- Anna Gurney took part in a week long course on being an “Eco-entrepreneur” at the beginning of July. Organised by Emprendae the course usefully covered aspects of online marketing and helped the project develop it’s presence on twitter, it gave networking opportunities within the entrepreneur world, and allowed Anna to focus solely on Boodaville for one week – clarifying the overall goals of the project and practicing pitching this to others. Anna made a presentation in Spanish to around 50 people on the last day of the course which was a useful experience. On the other hand there is still a lot of focus on the traditional business/profit model within the eco-entrepreneur network and it was surprising, and somewhat disappointing to enter into this world and feel that competition is still valued over collaboration, and see many people busy “talking the talk” rather than actually getting anything fundamentally “ECO” done.
C- PRESS AND MEDIA THIS YEAR
- BCNmes.com continued to support the project by publishing, without cost, adverts in their Barcelona magazine, although due to a change in structure this will not continue in the coming year.
- Boodaville was featured in RURAL – La revista de Wwoofing España, August 2013
- Crowdfunding video (823 plays)
- Boodaville was given 3 minutes of air-time on Spanish national television after participating in the Global Eco-Forum El escarabajo verde – Global EcoForum 2012
D- CROWDFUNDING SPENDING SO FAR (in euros)
Total money in after Indiegogo and Paypal fees : €3295
Money spent on preparation for Think Like a Forest : €152
Money spent on tools, kitchen equipment and course materials : €422
Money spent on providing Think Like a Forest reward : €860
Money left over : €1860
Estimated cost of providing other rewards : €250
The Boodaville team will be making carefully considered decisions about where best to spend the little remaining money from the campaign!
E- GOALS FOR 2014
The site needs to be developed along permaculture principles. Anna will do a Permaculture Design Certificate and put together a site plan with a group of interested collaborators. During several workcamps and volunteer weeks in 2014 (maybe in the style of a “Permablitz”) this plan will be put into action.
The Boodaville Festival is going ahead and the organisers for 2014 are Austin and Anita. After an initial meeting with Anna to clarify guidelines for the event they are now completely in charge and will be organising everything with full access to Boodaville’s marketing tools (newsletter mailing list, blog, facebook, twitter). By consensual agreement they will be able to use crowdfunding money for any important infrastructure developments, but will otherwise be managing all the festival finances themselves. If anyone is interested in forming a part of the organising team they can contact Austin or Anita directly to apply.
Infrastructure workcamps/volunteer weekends
There is ongoing infrastructure work / maintenance and farm work at the project site. Most notably the upcoming olive harvest. It is hoped that collaborators and regular volunteers will be interested in managing visits for newcomers so there will be many chances to repeat weekends such as our very successful “drainage weekend” in April 2013.
Involvement in local Ecoxarxa
Developing a network of local people who are interested in Permaculture is key to the Boodaville Project. The Ecoxarxa had an important meeting in September 2013 and will be keeping in contact and sharing ideas and resources during 2014. It is hoped that project collaborators will be interested in helping to keep Boodaville up to date with what is happening by attending meetings and maintaining online contact.
Roof/floor/doors/shower done in small house
The next step for the small house is to get a quote from the builder for the roof structure and find a way to pay for this. One of the crowdfunding aims was the completion of this house, so the available funds may be used for this. When the structure is in place the green roof, radiant floor, doors and shower can be completed as a series of volunteer opportunities and workcamps. To teach on these workcamps experts in the area of bio construction, carpentry and plumbing will be needed.
Continued contact with potential partners
As well as developing the site in the short term, the long term goals of forming a cooperative, getting basic planning permission for the large building and designing the large building need to continue. Anyone interested should contact Anna Gurney and (when possible) meet and arrange a visit to the project.
Generate income through offering the site for meetings/yoga retreats/alternative tourism
Visitors to the site who don’t want to work are always welcome and taking into account the basic facilities the suggested donation is 5 euros or 5 ecos per person per night. These visits can be arranged either by Anna or another collaborator.
There is also the option of offering the site to other groups who would like to host a meeting or retreat such as yoga. The offer would include an organiser on site, food and basic facilities provided and would be designed to generate some income for the project. If any groups are interested in this they should contact Anna or one of the collaborators.
* Definitions used throughout this document :
Workshop – a session run by a qualified teacher for which participants pay.
Workcamp – a stay at Boodaville during which an expert is on site and working and learning occurs. Participants contribute to the costs of their stay.
Volunteer opportunity – a stay at Boodaville during which working and some learning takes place, volunteers pay nothing towards their stay but work a minimum number of hours each day and are expected to follow the schedule strictly.