Terra PretaAchim Ecker ist experimenting with Biochar - in his site in Portugal but also at ZEGG community. Here is an article about his successes.
http://www.biochar-journal.org/en/ct/63

Khalil's familyFinally they have arrived. After several nerve-wracking months, we were finally able to welcome them to Belzig: Khalil’s relatives. Khalil is a Kurd from Syria and has been living in Bad Belzig for almost 4 years, where he became friends with a few people from ZEGG. As the conflict situation in Syria worsened, we asked him to tell us more about the real situation in the country, including the role of the Kurds and how people are dealing with the rise of the IS.

The more he told us, the more empathy we could feel with their situation. His family wanted to stay in their home country: his parents, brother, sister-in-law and their two children. Two years ago we collected donations to enable Khalil’s father to install a pump that secured a supply of drinking water for the 1000 villagers and up to 6000 refugees they were hosting (mainly from Aleppo).
Then, last September, Khalil called us one evening to say that the dangers of the war had now encroached directly on the region where his family were living. The roaming military had repeatedly approached his brother, trying to ‘take him with them’ and force him to fight. Fighting was only 20km away. There was a very real danger to the lives of Khalil’s family: as he said, they had “no future” there anymore.

We discussed how we could help and how to make it possible for this family to leave Syria. Silke Grimm began enquiries at the Foreigners' Authority and the relevant ministries. There was no possibility to include them in the official ‘refugee quotas’ for Germany as a whole or for the state of Brandenburg, so perhaps we could issue private invitations? But this would imply finding people to sign legal guarantees to cover all and any costs that would arise for the six-strong family for the entire duration of their stay in Germany. And this is where the strength of community became visible, with only one further meeting necessary to raise donations or guarantee pledges. German bureaucracy moves slowly and there were plenty of legal hurdles still in the way, but on March 8 all the steps had been taken and the family could board an aeroplane for the first time in their life, arriving safely in Berlin. The photos show their welcome meal in ZEGG: Khalil’s parents, his brother, sister-in-law and their two children. For the meal, the Kurdish refugees brought the starters and we cooked the rest. “This is the happiest day of my life,” said Khalil. “My family is safe and I am no longer scared what could happen to them.”

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We are overjoyed that we could help to bring six people to safety. And we hope that many more people do the same, since there are still hundreds of thousands of people in acute mortal danger and seeking refuge. We can readily advise anyone who wants to help in a similar way.

ProstgGmbH SusanneFor some weeks now we've had a little ‘g’ in front of the “GmbH” in our company name - as of 1.1.2015 ZEGG is officially “gemeinnützig” or non-profit! Our official company name is now ZEGG Bildungszentrum gGmbH. “Bildungszentrum” translates as “Education Centre” and in German law a gGmbH is a non-profit limited liability company. During recent months we've invested a lot of energy into the conversion of our previous limited company. Since we have always considered our work to be “for the public benefit” it is great news to have this confirmed officially. This status will greatly help us achieve our aims.

Sabine LichtenfelsAs an immediate response to the war in Israel-Palestine, Sabine Lichtenfels initiated a Vision Camp in the West-bank, July 23rd – 29th, which hosted around 50 participants from Israel, Palestine and beyond.

thumb GEN 2014.Leila 5The conference of GEN Europe from June 9-14 took this year place in ZEGG. It showed a record and a milestone: never before did so many people from the European ecovillage movement meet in such a fruitful and joyous atmosphere.

thumb IMG 6135Whitsun 2014 - A Photo-Reportage

 

 

 

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Sword-fighting exercisesAn atmosphere of change in the community: Last weekend 50 people attended a special community weekend with invited facilitators Clinton and Marion Callahan helping us to create a “Space of Opportunity”.

Using their “Possibility Management” methods we practiced radical honesty, gave each other feedback, and practiced saying Yes and No. Here we also made use of sword-fighting exercises from Japanese martial arts. In the space of clarity which we created, we turned to current issues in the whole community: What is our intent?  What does ZEGG give to the world?

Pfingstintensivzeit Mai14.susanne 106When does a dream become effective? What are your dreams? And how are you effective? These questions and more  were the focus of a whole weekend here with many people from our community – part of the creation process for our Whitsun Festival this year. Gradually the festival is taking shape, with ideas from the “48 Hours” in January being developed further, artistic impulses tried out, experiments amongst ourselves, and the sorting out of the final offer. So: We now have a diverse program of experiential spaces offering the chance to play, increase effectivity, expand boundaries....

SoCa 10 347On May 11 we open our doors to this year’s ‘summer guests’, from Germany and abroad.We are looking forward to welcoming people who would like to support us by working in the kitchen, garden or guest house. Work with our site team or on our building sites is also possible for those with appropriate skills. The summer weeks see us harvesting fruit and vegetables together for our communal kitchen. We meet in the morning at 8:45 for an attunement and the work assignment. Summer guests work about five hours per day from Monday to Saturday.

Achim EckerThe 3 years project 'Ecovillages for sustainable rural development' ended with a final conference in Lithuania on 17th of October, 2013. Achim Ecker gave a presentation about the ecological aspects of ZEGG with a focus on Terra Preta and soil improvement. Watch this video

Frühjahraktion14.bill 9From the 2nd to 9th of March, ZEGG hosted 31 participants in our annual “Spring Action” work week. We undertook extensive improvements to the sewage plant, chopped firewood, installed green roofs on the outside kitchens and one of our residential buildings (the “Flat-Roof Bungalow”), and prepared for the coming garden season by distributing compost.

ZEGG Club14.1We invited all of our supporters and this year over 100 of them came to our annual ZEGG Club Weekend. It is a time to meet up with friends, make new contacts, gain advice from each other and have fun together. An ‘Open Space’ allowed exciting issues to be discussed, including the idea of a ‘Power of Feelings’ festival and new ideas for transforming the economy in ZEGG. 

Solaranlagen 1The ZEGG community has done one more step towards a complete energy supply from renewable sources. Since December the combined heat and power plants run with the wind gas tariff from Greenpeace Energy. This tariff supports the development of wind gas technology - produced by wind energy that cannot be fed into the grid – and thus could become an innovative and sustainable form of gas generation. Since 1991 the ZEGG owned cogeneration plant has been operating with wood chips. In 2010 heating was improved by installing a modern wood chip boiler, a log boiler and an exhaust gas heat exchanger. The devices will switch off and on automatically as needed. Four photovoltaic systems and three wind gas-fired cogeneration plants produce electricity and hot water. Additionally the waste heat of our large cold store is used for heating water. ZEGG thus stands for an energy supply system that is innovative, regional and CO2-neutral.

Hella Suderow and Christian Schumacher At the beginning of this year, twelve couples from the ZEGG community took part in a special 7-day “time out” for couples: the Making Love Retreat from Hella Suderow and Christian Schumacher. This was the third intensive community time in close succession, following the internal seminar with Clinton Callahan and the community’s own intensive time focussing on the issue of love in December.

Kläranlage Winter12 2After a few months of hope, everything is open again: The decision about being connected to the public water and sewerage mains run by the “Stadtwerke” (town utility company) will be taken by the town council presumably by the end of this year. Being forced to connect to the mains in this way would mean an end to our own water supply and our constructed wetland sewage treatment. Wether we can convince the councilmen of preserving our ecological model depends on many factors. One thing is for sure: it will take some time and we will need to be persistant.
We will keep you up-to-date on any further developments via our website.

Kläranlage Winter12In recent months, one of the core elements that makes ZEGG an ecological model project faced a serious threat: our decentralised water cycle. As part of the procedure considering a building development plan for our site, in the summer of 2012 the Building Committee of the Bad Belzig town council recommended that ZEGG be connected to the public water and sewerage mains run by the “Stadtwerke” (town utility company). Being forced to connect to the mains in this way would have meant an end to our own water supply and our constructed wetland sewage treatment.

Uni-UmbauA plenary meeting of the ZEGG community on Nov 28 gave the go ahead for the next step in the conversion of the remaining attic space in our main 'Uni' building. The application for building permission will now be submitted. With this, the community wants to create urgently needed additional member accommodation. At the same time, the opportunity will be taken to give 'character' to the somewhat plain building, in the form of an impressive gable above the main entrance.

Besuch Freie schule TameraEleven children and youth with three accompanying adults from the forthcoming independent school in Tamera are staying in ZEGG for one week. Some of the young people in the group used to live in ZEGG, including one young woman who grew up here and is now a mother herself - so there were some moving reunions during the stay!

Baltic Sea Meeting ZEGG-4And the series of international meetings hosted by ZEGG continued. The young ecovillagers from NextGEN had only just departed at the beginning of October when the first participants arrived for a conference hosted by ZEGG as part of the EU Programme "Baltic Sea Region - Ecovillages for sustainable rural development". The meeting was the sixth for this project, which aims to compile manuals and an internet portal with practical examples of ecovillages and related projects in the countries around the Baltic Sea.

Rectsformen Tage 9.12 17On September 14/15 we invited the consultant Rolf Novy-Huy to help us in our search for the perfect legal basis for our community and its activities. Mr Novy-Huy is the managing director of the trias Foundation, which specialises in supporting innovative and ecological community housing projects (see http://www.stiftung-trias.de). He is an experienced banker and worked for many years at the German social/ecological GLS Bank, so all-in-all he is an expert on the full range of possibilities concerning legal and financial structures for projects such as ours.

NEXT GEN 10.12In the first week of October, ZEGG hosted two important meetings for the European ecovillage movement: the second meeting of the new GEN Europe Council and the first meeting of NextGEN, a sub-group in GEN which brings together young people from communities.
The GEN Europe Council is responsible for fostering and deepening the vision of the organisation.



ZEGG – Center for Social and Cultural Design
Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 89, 14806 Bad Belzig
Germany

phone: +49 (0) 33841 595-100
fax: +49 (0) 33841 595-102

Email:
Web: www.zegg.de


The ZEGG is a community of about 100 adults and children. How can we create a sustainable and creative life and an awake awareness to promote issues of love and sexuality, ecology, community, and create policy. We invite you to visit us, especially our summercamp.

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