Plotgate People

A little bit about each of us & what our inspirations & aspirations for Plotgate Venture are.....

Liz

“Simplicity and non-violence are obviously closely related… As physical resources are everywhere limited, people satisfying their needs by means of a modest use of resources are obviously less likely to be at each other’s throats than people depending upon a high rate of use. Equally, people who live in highly self-sufficient local communities are less likely to get involved in large-scale violence than people whose existence depends on world-wide systems of trade.” – Small is Beautiful, E. F. Schumacher

I’m Lizzie – I’m Frankie’s partner. I love the big sky at Plotgate, and the sense that anything is possible.

I believe that most of the problems in the world today – war, crime, starvation, illness – are caused by unfair distribution of material wealth, or else the constant striving for more of it. It’s no use blaming a genetic lack of morality, or too easy a passage into Europe for the world’s poor, or even our governments; this prevailing inequality is perpetuated worldwide by ‘normal’ people’s daily actions.

From colonialism and the slave trade, through the discovery of fossil fuels and on to the current craze for outsourcing and the power of supermarkets to suppress the rights of producers; while we insist on Western supremacy and our born right to riches, we will face the ‘issue’ of others people’s disgruntlement.

The solution for me is simple: simple living and abandoning the pursuit of material wealth (and, paradoxically, cheap food).

This is why I’m involved in Plotgate Venture – to explore co-operation, local economy, food production, sustainable energy and building materials, meaningful education and happiness.

I’m a maths teacher in my spare time, and want to explore how numeracy skills can be met outdoors at Plotgate, as well as the teaching of modern day survival skills and the necessity of sustainability. As well as subverting the very curriculum which supposes itself to be of any use to the next generation. My use of the term ‘modern day survival skills’ is neatly explained in the following passage (from T. Roszak in 1981, but just as pertinent today): “We are used to hearing our schools assailed by critics who want to know why ‘Johnny can’t read, Johnny can’t write’, and who call for a return to ‘the basics’… But why stop worrying there... Why not worry that Johnny can’t dance, can’t paint, can’t breathe, can’t meditate, can’t relax, can’t cope with anxiety, aggression, envy, can’t express trust and tenderness?... that Johnny does not know who he is…? Let us admit that the basic survival skills have nothing to do with Johnny’s health, happiness, sanity or survival, but with his employability. Whose interest, then, is Johnny’s education serving?”

(It's not true! Johnny's singing is fabulous!)

Eventually I would like to live at Plotgate Venture and teach in whatever way is practicable, useful and sustainable. 

 

Amy

Working with the land feels like a return for me; it gives me clarity. The challenge is to be sustained by that work, not within the confines of a mortgage, or with the insecurities of a squatter, but in a place where all our energy grows and is returned, made visible in the land around us. To nourish and tend plants and animals, wild and domestic, so that they in turn support our life, is sensitive, and endless in its lessons and beauty.

I made the shift from teaching to land based work 2012, with an architecture degree sandwiched in the middle. Luckily, everything I’ve done seems to have relevance to our mission at Plotgate Venture! I’ve been involved with a community farm for about 6 years, first as a volunteer and more recently as a member of “team fruit”; managing the orchard/ forest garden. I also set up a co-operatively run carefarm working from the same site. I’m gradually withdrawing from my responsibilities at the farm in the Midlands so that I can relocate and refocus completely on life at Plotgate.

The wonderful experiences I have had on a thriving community farm have inspired me, but the future for me is at Plotgate where I hope to find a more sustainable and complete future, living and working on the land with my partner, Dan,and others who are working and sharing to grow a real sense of community.

 

Frankie

I became interested in land based communities after living in London & working with vulnerable people in my early twenties. I felt disenchanted with the systems upon which our society is based & the often ineffectual methods we have for making large scale change & started searching for alternative ways of being. I feel that the problems people in our society experience are echoed by the problems our environment is facing & only by addressing these together can we hope to move forward into a positive future.

After leaving London I lived for a short period with an intentional community in the North East, Wwoofed & visited different co-ops & land based communities. 

My partner Liz & I visited Plotgate in the summer of 2013 as part of our journey to find a community where we could have land based livelihoods, live simply & build our own home. It is important to me to do this legally & to explicitly challenge the status quo in order to help others do the same & this was a rare opportunity offered by the Plotgate project. We moved to Somerset early in 2014 to become part of Plotgate & put our energy into helping it reach its potential. Liz & I hope to build our home at Plotgate & I’d like to create many small, complementary streams of income to support myself from the land & to continue working with vulnerable people.

I’m interested in herbal medicine, traditional crafts, food, people care & creating small solutions to global problems. I’m fascinated by the process of building a community & what this means to each of us as individuals as well as humanity at large. I’m the current Secretary of Plotgate & manage the website & enquiries as well as trying to use social media to let people know about what we’re doing. I hope to run workshops in the near future & continue to build on Plotgate’s relationship with our wider community. 

 

Dan

I am deeply concerned for the state of the world at present and have been for quite some time. As I learn more, the situation seems to become more dire. In my teens escapism was the way to deal with this perception, I went sailing, fantasizing of a future free upon the ocean waves. But the pragmatist in me said it be best to go university first so I studied boat design, the melding of my passions, (and fortunately whilst university was still free).

I tend to do things thoroughly which usually means laboriously, so having learnt boat design I then proceeded to build my dream boat. Reality started to impinge somewhat as the distractions and responsibilities of growing up started to bear their weight, whilst I pondered the smoothness of the hull, is 4000 grit excessive? But most disturbing of all was the realization of how sick we humanity are, the scale of the destruction we are reeking upon each other and our beautiful planet, our home that we share with a rich ecology, its wealth that we have no comprehension, yet we squander like there is no tomorrow. We are all complicit in doing this to each other our friends, family and neighbours hiding behind our fences kidding ourselves its nothing to do with me. If that wasn't bad enough, anthropomorphic climate change was unveiled, potentially the destruction of all life, how ignorant can we be? This was a wake up call like seeing one's own death. Sailing off into the sunset became a self indulgent nonsense. Here and now is purpose, a design problem beyond all others and just to make things interesting peak resource was introduced along with the rest of its family, financial instability, endemic poor health, physical and emotionally, social disparity, cultural apathy, consumption addiction, they are a big family, and I forget all their names.

All the time strongly sensing the loss of something I didn't know I had or something I felt I needed like your passport on the way to the airport. I think it is the lack of camaraderie, we are all in the same shit together so surely it be better to help each other out together rather than scrabbling over each other hoping to be the one precariously balanced on top whilst everyone else is drowning in the mire.

So a new course was set, instead of the Pacific islands I find my self in sunny Somerset developing a design solution, one that has to be truly sustainable.

I also like reading books and walking but not usually at the same time.

 

Coming Soon..... Chris, Marco, Pete & Nicky