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Like a beacon of light in the heart of darkness, this small consciousness-based community is here to support those who choose to awaken from the matrix that is all around as well as engrained deeply within.
The Garden of Eden ecovillage lies in the midst of the of the suburban sprawl of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, on the border of Arlington and Kennedale. While it is only minutes from the freeway, it feels like another world here!
Upon arriving, one is greeted by fresh country air blooming with the smell of soil and fresh herbs. Mature trees frame the sky, and the eye stretches out over a vast garden that dominates the front section of the 3.5 acre lot.
By day, birds and bugs sing a symphony of chirps, buzzes, and calls. By night, crickets and coyotes sing their night songs, punctuated by the occasional dog barking or feline fray. Roosters from our yard and the next announce dusk and dawn.
Life in the GOE is a beautiful balance of modern technology and a sustainable lifestyle.
Computers, electronics, automobiles, and other modern devices are indeed a part of life here, and yet there are also composting toilets, wildcrafted gardens, and other creative implementations that make our day-to-day life more ecologically and energetically sustainable.
Only responsibility can lead to the Golden Age~*~
A Brief History of our Place
From its inception as a human habitat, sustainable evolution seems to have been an essential part of the spirit of this place - suggesting that this is perhaps a quality that is intrinsic to the land itself.
The almost 4,000 square foot main house began as just a small two room home in the 1960s, pieced together from odds and ends of building materials - things that were cheap, free, or in great abundance, like shutters and doors. It has been expanded multiple times by two subsequent owners, each incorporating some odds and ends and leaving little oddities like windows from room to room, and a view of a former exterior wall at the threshold of the attic.
The layout is a bit odd and the light switches are rarely where you would think they should be, yet therein lies the charm that first called to Shellie's heart when she was house shopping for her family decades ago. She says they visited dozens of homes seeking to purchase, but she knew instantly that this one was Her House.
After being the shepherdess to this land for sixteen years and raising her family here,
Shellie was so deeply inspired by Quinn's vision, purpose, and dedication to his dream of creating a sustainable eco-village that she generously donated this 3.5 acre plot of land and home to become The Garden of Eden.
Once covered with tidy mowed grass and planted gardens, this place was lovely and artfully crafted by Shellie. Yet as quaint as it was, it was fundamentally unsustainable and even wasteful - as standard American living generally is.
Around 2009, together Quinn and Shellie began composting, thus creating the soil that would someday nurture and grow nutritious organic food. The raised beds in the monster truck tires were the first installment of massive gardens that now stretch out and dapple the entire plot.
In 2011, additional inhabitants moved in, some staying for several months, and only the cream of the crop making it for a year or more.
Now home to a vibrant and vast food production system, The Garden of Eden lands are blessed with a great abundance of food and medicinal plants!
Food is essential for life, and the only way to be truly secure and self-existing is to have secure and reliable food resources. The most secure and sustainable way to get food is to grow it yourself.
Through our own large garden and property-wide horticulture, The Garden of Eden demonstrates how to cultivate the highest quality foods with the least amount of energy, time, and money, and potentially even without using any major machinery or technology or even purchasing special materials, products, or chemicals!
It's an exciting food reality that we are happy to share.
Surrounding the garden is a ring of wildcrafted and seasonal berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, and medicinal herbs which require little to no maintenance.
We have native wild edibles like mulberries, hackberries, pecans, and lamb's quarters. Some of the medicinal plants that spot the land are yarrow, chickweed, Carolina geranium, and multiple species of dandelion.
There are also permaculture food plants that essentially self-perpetuate--minimal attention required!--including blackberry bushes and fig, peach, and pomegranate trees.
We have huge patches of herbs, greens, and vegetables that have self-seeded around the land - some of our beloved "volunteers"!
We also have huge cultivated gardens planted, irrigated, and trellised for growing a variety of vegetables and herbs.
Our staple crops are an array of salad greens grown year round in the monster truck tire raised beds and pallets.
Our main garden is about half the size of a football field, with irrigated trenches in the dankest compost-enriched soil. The dozen or so monster truck tire raised beds are nestled within the main garden. Additionally, there are several other raised beds throughout our entire lot.
As a part of a complete food production system, The Garden of Eden also keeps chickens for eggs. They sleep in a large sectioned shelter built out of repurposed pallets and old shutters, with carpet remnants and a discarded billboard tarp for the roof.
This is the second of two pallet structures we have for animal housing. It is designed to comfortably house up to 100 chickens, four goats and a few dozen rabbits. We do not keep that many animals right now, as our community is small and requires much less. Those numbers reflect our estimate of the maximum number of animals that would be needed to support the maximum number of inhabitants that this land could comfortably support.
We usually get between 6-12 eggs a day, varying a bit with the seasons. We get more eggs in the spring and fewer in the winter.
Human inhabitants at the Garden of Eden have a few options of where to make their own nests.
The Garden of Eden building plan includes a variety of sustainable structures that range from permanent earthen buildings that last for hundreds of years with little to no maintenance or repair, to semi-permanent dwellings made of recycled or re-purposed materials, to tents that can be put up in an hour.
Outside, there is a geodesic dome structure, made of wood and tarps, that was brought and built by former GOE inhabitant Christian in 2011. About 16 feet in diameter and height, it provides an open and unique dwelling space inside.
In 2012, a 30 foot RV was donated to the Garden of Eden and set towards the rear of the lot in the shade of a mature pecan tree. The trailer has since been gutted, bits at a time, and the interior has been resurfaced with lovely weathered fence panels and wood flooring all received through free, sustainable, second-hand channels.
Further back on the lot there is a 1985 Chevy Suburban frame that in 2013 was gutted and buried underground up to its windows. The windows are framed in tires and the top of the frame was buried with another foot of earth. The interior has been refurbished to accommodate a queen size bed in the former seating area, with the original deck of the rear left open and carpeted. Above and around the rear end there is a pallet structure that extends back another ten feet or so creating a little room for entry and storage for the vehicle's inhabitants.
In the spring of 2014 we erected a lovely cottage of cob, reused pallets, salvaged tin roofing and donated carpet remnants. It essentially cost us no money, only the energy it took to build it. With our own bare hands and feet, we mixed literally a ton of cob and applied it, one big muddy glob at a time. About six pallets wide and four deep, it is a cozy and earthy. It offers a more private feeling as it is nestled in a dome of branches of a large mature tree at the edge of the plot, hidden away from the sight of most angles on the lot.
We also have a several sheds and a chicken coop built out of pallets and other materials salvaged from the landfill. We fabricate roofs and covers from re-purposed billboard tarps; they provide rain cover as well as additional storage space and shade. This enhances our ability to control the indoor temperature during summer heat.
The City of Arlington has made it very difficult for us to thrive and has drained much of our energy, yet this is an important factor in why we are doing what we are doing. We are engaging lawful practices in court to get recognition for our freedom to live a sustainable life - even if it is "not up to code". We have lots of info on this available on Youtube.
Additionally, there are plans being made now for housing for interns and long term inhabitants in both dorm and individual style dwellings of a variety of building styles including tents, tee-pees, earth bag buildings, and cob buildings.
We have the resources and know how to expand very quickly with very comfortable buildings at a high degree of sustainability, but have been on hold due to the city's attempts and enforced slavery upon us. We are not scared nor are we backing down.
We are pushing forward without compliance, spending hundreds of hours using the law to prove we are free and can build our own buildings for our own way of life despite that they are not the standard approved by code structures. We of course are aware of how unsustainable these buildings are.
It is very important that conscious and free beings are able to choose for themselves what kind of homes they want to live in and build. The resources and know-how are worthless if a dictator is forcing compliance on the way of life. This is an essential aspect of our purpose - not just in building, but in every facet of life. We are take lawful steps to get recognition of our freedom so that not only we but everyone can live free!