Sustainability is not our main focus here at the Ashram but it remains close to our heart as an expression of freedom. The three pillars of sustainability are the Environment, the Economy and the Society. We explore all three of these daily in a very practical way: what does it look like to live sustainably with nature? How can we become more financially sustainable as individuals and as a community? What is required of us to build sustainable loving relationships?

It is no small task to sustain a resident community of 15 people. Challenges come in many forms. Physically – our mountainous terrain demands a lot of muscle power and stamina, mentally – off grid living requires endless problem solving, grit and determination, emotionally – authentic relationships need maturity, trust, vulnerability and the courage to face conflict. As much as possible, we face our challenges with open hearts, joy and curiosity. And of course, nothing is truly sustainable unless it is fun.

Our day to day energy is sourced from renewable resources: hydro and solar power. We use dead wood from our own forestland as firewood in winter. A ram pump brings water from our mountain stream up the slope and services all the buildings and gardens. The grey water is returned to the land to water plants and trees.


Whenever we can we support small local businesses and buy our staple foods from organic sources. We receive 50 – 70 percent of our vegetables from a local farmer. Our own garden team is also experimenting with Permaculture principles. As much as possible, we serve home-cooked meals with our own produce. Our food is always infused with lots of love and care.

Garden and Land Management

We manage both the garden and the land based on sustainable Permaculture principles. The humanure from our compost toilets is used to fertilize our fruit trees which then produce delicious fruit for us to eat. Fallen trees on our land are used to build structures for new vegetable beds. We investigate how to design the land efficiently, how to support biodiversity and how to create closed sustainable systems.
Internal Economy

The Awakened Life Project Ashram is built as a self- sustaining financial entity. The residents pay monthly contributions and we also run retreats and host paying volunteers. The money is used to buy communal food and living necessities and to maintain our buildings and systems, repairing and replacing what is needed. It is also invested into new infrastructure and facilities to fuel our growing community.

Local Sangha businesses

Where possible, we support local businesses, start ups and initiatives e.g the local second hand clothes store "Roupas Poupas", the local cafe "Little Indian" as well as local farmers and producers. Our residents are all exploring different ways to be individually sustainable also e.g using online platforms, selling products at the local markets or teaching in the locality. Work exchange is a common currency between the Ashram and the local community. We organise regular community work days with several local families.

What makes relationships sustainable? This is probably one of our favourite questions at the quinta. The same laws governing the Economy of Energy apply to relationships as much as they do to carbon footprints and resources. A relationship that takes the least expenditure of energy is more sustainable and that means dropping all our masks and all the defences we use to keep ourselves safe. Vulnerability may at times be raw and uncomfortable but it is ultimately True and the most relaxed way to be with another human being. Our full-bodied, full-feeling presence with another is the greatest gift we can offer.
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