Earthship Tasmania

Parting is such sweet sorrow! We’ve just finished an incredible 3 week Earthship build down in beautiful Brooks Bay, Tasmania. Over 50 new friends joined to help us get to lock up stage with over 700 tyres pounded, and 100’s of bottles and cans and ‘rubbish’ recycled into the building. A follow-up workshop will be run later this year to finish the roof, floors, bottle walls, rendering, greenhouse and heating system.

We couldn’t have asked for more from the build. Not only was the building a success, the sense of community just really blew us away. We go into every build trying to create a home away from home and this was fully embraced by everyone with regular crafternoons, workshops on a load of topics (natural health products, fermentation, solar passive design, chemical free tiny homes, qi gong, yoga, meditation, aquaponics and more!), music and moorish conversation around the campfire, amazing connections between people and plenty of exploring Tasmania’s unique lands and people.

We can’t wait to come back. So much so, we’ve already booked in 3 Tasmanian Earthship workshops for late 2015 and early 2016! So we’ll be hanging around! Can’t wait for more.

Thanks to all the amazing people involved. We love you and can’t wait to hang out some more and keep growing this beautiful Agari family.

Creative Collectives @ Agari

10710783_10205155060705683_5362343899226009510_nWe’ve loved watching Creative Collectives grow into a successful monthly workshop crew and we very quickly said ‘YES’ when they offered to run a workshop at Agari.

We had over 40 people turn up, learning about beekeeping, tea ceremonies, leathermaking, making bonsoy wallets, permaculture gardening, massage and making cob. So special to see the kids jumping in the mud and making mini Cob houses! Natural builders of the future!

Massive thanks to everyone who came along, such a beautiful group and lots of laughs and sharing of valuable knowledge and Spring time at Agari put on an amazing show of wildflowers, birds, insects and pink sunsets. We’re talking to the Creative Collectives crew about running another one early next year, keep an eye out on the Agari Facebook page for the dates!

Superadobe Dome Build @ Moe Ecovillage

IMG_3971Most of us Agari crew have been helping down at the Moe Ecovillage project, having built a Earthship and Cob house over the past year. We were lucky enough to be invited back to help Hayden from Curvatecture build a Superadobe dome! It was amazing to get back into the workshop routine and we all got such a buzz from all the amazing people who came to learn.

There’ll be a follow up workshop at the property in December to finish the roof, look out for that one through the Curvatecture Facebook page.

Also the guys have recently announced that they’ll be inviting 6-8 people to live rent free at the Ecovillage as part of a video project to document the rise of sustainability and communities such as this one and test out people’s self sufficiency skills. We’ll be getting involved in some capacity. Looks like an amazing idea, check it out!

Our first workshop on Agari soil!

Remember the day, long ago, when we hacked through the ground
Pick axes, blood, sweat and tears, blistered hands abound

Stone walls laid, precisely, a curving front arc
By that dread headed, beautiful, English Tasmanian lark

We bashed and we created and we began to form a bond
The magic began, the flick of a wand

Day two, cobbing, clay, sand, straw, water, stomp, stomp
The beginning for many of a new romantic romp

With Mud, so natural, organic, beautiful and gluten free
Becoming one with nature, dancing, getting dirty, playing like children, feeling free

Qi Gong, veggie oil powered cars, mushrooms saving the world, meditations and yoga
Bliss balls, food from our local farmers, songs about caves and a man wearing a toga

Cob balls flying, here, there, up, down, over and under
Errant balls hitting body parts with the sound of perilous thunder

Recycled bottles, wood, love, creativity and passion, all going into the wall
Creating a home, connecting, empowering, letting our guards fall

There was something built here this fortnight, something we should never forget, but it wasn’t just a home
Friendships, healing, heart opening, and enough compost toilet donations to turn our 16 acres of soil into plentiful loam

Thank you all, from us at Agari, Mud Mob and individually
You’ve blown open our hearts and minds, shown us your beauty, made us feel so lucky to count you as new friends, inspired us to write lengthy poems with sentences that require an intermission break just to drink tea

We love you, we can’t wait to see you again, actually we just don’t want any of you to leave
But whatever you do, don’t forget, it’s your duty to make sure, this story you weave

Tell your friends, share and use what you’ve learnt here, love, compassion, unity, we can be so incredible together
Anything is possible, we just have to allow it to happen, you can even survive agari weather

No ego, no ambitions, no competition, no pressure, just all of us as one
This is just the start of an incredible ride, it’s gonna be bloody fun

Sayonara, auf wiedersen, make sure you come say g’day when you’re in the hood
We’ll embrace you with open arms, you’re our family now, we reckon you’re Agari bloody good

Natural Building Workshops – Changing Lives

IMG_3553Here at Agari we’re pretty humbled to be involved in workshops that attract such great people and facilitate connection, healing, empowerment and life changing experiences for so many. We recently wrote down some of our thoughts on how we think these natural building workshops can change the world.

We’ll have more workshops coming up when it gets a little warmer around here later in the year. In the meantime, check out some of our mates!

Building Australia’s first council approved Earthship!

IMG_3295Agari crew are helping to facilitate the build of Australia’s first council approved Earthship in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. An exciting leap forward for natural building and the start of many to come!

The project is the love child of architect and owner Martin Freney and will become a Bed and Breakfast once completed. It utilises all of the much celebrated components of Earthships including rammed earth tyres, bottle walls, natural plasters, natural convection heating/cooling, water capture, greywater treatment, suitably oriented greenhouse and loads of thermal mass to keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter.

The Earthship is also pertinent given the fire prone nature of the local area. It is fascinating to see the detail evident in the plans to adapt the Earthship model to Australian conditions.

Check the Earthship Ironbank website for more information and opportunities to get involved!

Earthbag lessons from the field

IMG_3213-1024x1024Natural building is constantly about learning! Agari have recently embarked on their first independent Earthbag build project, having done a couple of workshops with some of the experts.

Here’s some things we’ve learned that might help you save some time on your project!

  • Bags wider than 450mm take a lot of material, are cumbersome to move around and can vary widely in length and height! If you are going to use single bags, try and find consistent and preferably identical bags to maintain a level height on your Earthbag rows. Stick to 450mm width and below to make life easier. Consider the Superadobe technique, using a single continuous bag for an entire row. It means you have to buy new bags ($45/100m) rather than recycling old feed bags, but it will save you a considerable amount of time in building.
  • Staging is important! Have your soil mix ready to go (typically 30% clay and 70% sand). Have a good water source so you can wet down your mix easily. Setup a safe spool for your barbed wire to prevent any nasty cuts. Agari are experimenting with the use of Scoria as a simpler bag fill, which provides great insulation and allows bags to be filled very quickly!
  • Start small. As with any owner builder project, you should always start small. Mistakes and unknown unknowns will always crop up and it is so much easier to learn from them on a small scale project. This also allows you to refine your skills so that when you build on a larger scale you are not compromising the integrity of your structures.
  • Consider running a workshop with your friends. Many hands make light work and you are empowering people by showing them natural building techniques. For a dome of 3-4m in diameter you’d typically want 8 people minimum. 2 people preparing the soil mix. 2 people filling buckets, 2 people passing buckets, 2 people filling bags.

More tips as we learn them finishing off the inaugural Earthbag dome at Agari!