Green Earth Awakening Camp 2015: Transfrom, Sustain, Thrive

Thursday 21st — Monday 25th May 2015, booking:

In just 10 weeks Buddhafield will bring you its third Green Earth Awakening Camp on the Blackdown Hills. The crew are preparing to welcome the volunteers that will help build and nurture this unique platform for creativity, community and insight.

Site Crew Needed

This is a community building exercise, not just work, work, work. We will spend nine days setting up, but you’ll be able to enjoy the event while it’s on. More information on the GEA volunteering page, or just drop us an email.

The Programme

What is it? A five day camp exploring how Buddhism can help us along the path towards community and sustainability. With green crafts, engaged dharma, social change, forest school, healing area and a daily timetable of workshops, talks, meditation, yoga, qi gong, dance and music. An intimate gathering to deepen into ourselves and a wider awareness. Tools for the mind, skills for our future.

What’s it about? Faced as we are by the threat of climate change, dwindling resources and violent conflict, it is important that we take to heart the need to transform ourselves and engage with the significant problems of the world, not from a reaction to them, but from a higher perspective of insight and love.

The theme for this year: Transform, Sustain, Thrive. By awakening our awareness we can engage in the world with a deepened presence and can begin to mindfully sustain ourselves in our daily lives, in community and in the wider world. By feeling the benefit of sustaining all life, we can become empowered to thrive.

“Fantastic — small, intimate, with rich variety of workshops both creative and informative.”
“So much on offer from fantastic, knowledgeable people.”
“Felt so safe to bring my daughters here and allow them free range.”
“The meditation area (on top of the hill) is the best site I have experienced at any festival /camp. Profound stillness.”

Here is a little taster of some of the delights to come …

Jamie Catto |

“We’re on a mission to make self-reflection hip for just a moment, just long enough to save us. If we can all collectively acknowledge our insanity, shrug and roll our eyes at each other at how nuts it is being a human, let alone having to pretend every day that we’re normal, the amount of energy we’ll inherit that has been wasted on the mask will be enough to creatively solve any global crisis.”

Jamie Catto, creator, producer/director of the multi-award winning global 1 Giant Leap films and albums and founder member of Faithless is now leading uniquely transformative workshops and one-on-one sessions. Drawing from the richly diverse wisdom, techniques and processes he has encountered during his ground-breaking filming, recording, philosophy voyages across all 5 continents, he is weaving these creative techniques and exercises to spark both Professional and Personal breakthroughs.

“Jamie Catto is a human icebreaker with a prow of determination and a motor of love, slicing through the frozen seas around us.” Tom Robbins

Heike Schroeder from The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research |

Dr Heike Schroeder is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the University of East Anglia’s MSc in Climate Change and International Development in the School of International Development. Heike teaches widely in the areas of climate change politics, globalisation and the environment, sustainability, environment and business, cities and climate change, natural resources and the environment, and forests, and co-leads a research theme of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. Heike’s research examines how national boundaries can be bridged to solve trans-national or global environmental problems, and how local, national, and international decisions differ in their abilities to solve environmental problems.

Mark Leonard from The Mindfulness Exchange |

Before working with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC), Mark’s career explored means to manage natural resources sustainably. Around ten years ago he came to the conclusion that wisdom from Buddhist tradition would provide the means for achieving sustainable development if it could be applied in contemporary society. Through his involvement with the OMC, he has been able to realise his vision, applying the scientific understanding of mindfulness developed in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), to mindfulness training in the workplace with The Mindfulness Exchange.

Denise Rowe with Earthdances |

Earth Dances arises from a fertile meeting ground between traditional and neo-traditional pan-African dance and non-stylised and environmental movement, drawing also on threads from Shiatsu, Aikido and Shamanic traditions.

These dance and movement forms share an implicit commonality: They are dances in connection with the cosmos, they are the awakening of the whole being in relation with environment and the awakening of the body-in-movement’s wisdom, a wisdom that arises when being is awake to itself.

Groundspring Network and Landworkers Alliance |

Calling all starter farmers, urban veg growers, beginner beekeeping collectives, CSAs, emerging dairyers, meat producers, educator….

We are a collective of entrant farmers, growers, woodsmen, beekeepers, cheese makers, mushroom pickers, and more. We are a burgeoning community spread across the UK, finding a bigger voice and new energy in coming together. We come from many different “camps”; organic/biodynamic/permaculture/forest gardening, some of us don’t subscribe to any particular camp, we are above all non-denominational. We are young and old in years. We work in both urban and rural landscapes. As individuals starting out in sustainable agriculture we are not isolated and alone, hopeless and surrounded by endless fields of industrial agriculture. We are already acting to build a resilient food system for our future. We are braced and booted and seek to be united.

And here are just some of the other workshops on offer…

  • The Work That Reconnects
  • Permaculture Principles and Design
  • The Permaculture Association
  • Growing Self Love
  • Compassionate Communication
  • Co-ops and Community
  • Eco-Feminism
  • Eco-Psychology
  • Embodied Presence Contact Improvisation
  • Nature Writing
  • Building an Eco House
  • Focusing
  • Introduction to Buddhism
  • Harmony Singing
  • Storytelling
  • Rhythms and Body Percussion
  • Yoga
  • Qi Gong
  • Foraging
  • Peg Loom Weaving
  • Spoon Carving
  • Felt Making
  • Blacksmithing
  • Basket Weaving
  • Willow Dome Construction
  • Drop Spindle

Keep checking our Facebook page for more updates.

Help Wanted!

If you want a new challenge, an experience of right livelihood and community, or if you have wanted to be part of the Buddhafield team, get in touch now.

We need people throughout the spring and summer to be part of the team that makes Buddhafield happen — building the spaces, creating the community, running the events and cooking the food. If you have any experience that’s great; if not we can train you in first aid, cooking, building structures and more at our Team Retreat April 24th to 29th 2015.

For more information email

Green Earth Awakening 2013: Post-event Roundup

Buddhafield ran its Festival at The Gallops from 2001-2008. The site, a few miles north of Wellington, Somerset, features a couple of fields bordered by a hardcore track that was used at one time for exercising horses. I hadn’t been there since the last time we used the site for the Festival and was slightly apprehensive. Simon picked me up in town, but when we got to the crossroads near the site entrance, I have to confess to a mix of feelings as memory stirred.

There’s nothing quite like revisiting a place to be reminded that memory isn’t like a sort of movie I replay in my head. It plays itself out very physically. I was involved with running the Festival Steward Crew at the Gallops throughout our time at that site and each event was consistently, incredibly intense. That doesn’t mean it was painful (although there were acutely difficult moments), but the breadth of demands that had been on me personally mean that my relationship to those fields left me unsure about whether I could settle back quickly or easily.

Rocket and wood gas stove workshop with Jonathan Rouse

As we drove on site, my feeling was immediately drawn back to positive association. I was reminded of the many beautiful things about The Gallops, especially the bottom field which had been our main ‘arena’. The Buddhafield Café structure was being erected in the same spot it had been traditionally sited (Simon and I arrived just in time to help hoist the skeleton up), with it’s broad view, diagonally across and down the field. It’s bordered by a solid tree line, gradating into woodland to the north at the bottom of the slope, sheep pasture most of the year round, but in itself full of wildlife. There’re at least two substantial badger sets, and amongst the birds I even saw a woodpecker disappear into a nest hole in an old pine.

At the Green Earth Awakening (GEA) I’d agreed to help manage the Buddhafield Café alongside Ruth. We knew we were planning to run a slightly different format of Café to usual, with the shift pattern being shorter and focusing around fixed meal times (for the first time we’d offered pre-booked meals as an option on a ticket price). During setup, the Café was also anticipating inspection by Mid Devon County Council’s Environmental Health, so there was a certain extra sense of pressure. Being a field Café, and one that is fairly unique, we don’t easily fit an off-the-shelf food management model. There’s an ongoing process of reviewing how we do things, because our food handling practice requires ongoing refinement when we often don’t construct the same format of tent (we can’t guarantee the same workflow for dividing unprepared from ready-to-eat foods: it has to be redesigned each time). And of course at the GEA we’d had to take a the best part of our kit out of winter storage, so everything needed a very good scrub. Happily, our inspection went very well and the Buddhafield Café now has a very healthy five-star rating.

We had a very small team, mainly because we’d found it very difficult to recruit enough folk to help with setup. However the people who did arrive were a very easy bunch to work with and setup went remarkably well. It was a very harmonious week. We eat very well and an end-of-day sauna gave us that Ready Brek glow to counter some very cold nights. I think practically everyone was twitchy about weather, given how awful last summer had been and that we were still working around an ongoingly moody spring. In the end, daylight weather was actually mostly good, although the wind and cold on Friday was a bit punishing.

Making willow fish lanterns

Samashuri and Lila in the willow fish lantern making workshop led by Tasha Stevens-Vallecillo

But! What a lovely event weekend! Rosie’s workshop programme was a winner and there was plenty of opportunity to laze around in the sun.

I took quite a few photos and uploaded the best to a photo set under the Buddhafield Flickr account.

There were several talks given over the weekend. Lokabandhu spoke about A Buddhist Approach to Changing the World, Satyajit talked about Awakening to the Earth – An Inconceivably Vast Undertaking and Akasati gave a talk for Wesak on The Wisdom of Letting Go Revealed In the Story of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. (Thanks to The Buddhist Centre and Free Buddhist Audio for their support.)

Lokabandhu did a short interview with Rosie during the event which he’s posted to AudioBoo.

ThankYouThankYouThankYou to everyone who participated! This time next year Buddhafield expect’s to be helping organise the 2014 Triratna International Retreat at Adhisthana near Great Malvern, but we hope to run a second Green Earth Awakening in 2015.

Skill Sharing at EcoDharma

The EcoDharma community are looking for skill-sharers to help develop resilience in:
• Food growing.
• Wild food foraging and preservation.
• Traditional stone building.

They are looking for people to go and stay at their community in the Catalunyan Pyrenees in Spain for up to 3 months. They are particularly interested in people with experience and/or interest in skill-sharing. In return for helping them develop these aspects of their land-based learning centre and community you will benefit from the opportunity to learn new skills and be nourished by spending time living in our wild and remote community setting.

They are hoping to be able to cover your travel costs and some pocket money (and additional finance is negotiable for skilled builders) — pending funding.

Traditional Stone Building

When? September—November 2013, or end of March—July 2014.

What? They are looking for up to 8 skill-sharers to join their building team to renovate a traditional Catalan stone building. The work will be focused at Cal Victor, an old peasant Catalan farmhouse abandoned since the early part of the last century.

This is a vital piece of work in terms of the future of the Ecodharma community as it will provide the main communal space for the community including; a living area, kitchen, office, herb drying room and accommodation.

The project will involve renovation using traditional building techniques and materials, integrated with eco-building and other contemporary elements.

Who? We are looking for people who either:
• have general building experience, or
• are experienced or interested in learning about building with stone, or
• are experienced with carpentry.

Food Growing

When? Mid-August to mid-November 2013 or April—July 2014.

What? They are looking for 3 skill-sharers to support Liam who has held responsibility for growing our food since autumn 2013.

EcoDharma’s organic annual garden was established as four raised beds (each some 30 metres long) four years ago. The long term vision is for it to become a perennial system with vegetables growing below the existing fruit trees. Their forest garden was very recently planted by a wonderful team of volunteers who planted 100 fruit and nut trees this March.

You will be supporting Liam to produce as much food as possible from the annual garden using organic techniques and permaculture principles. There will also be work helping to establish and maintain the fruit and nut trees in the forest garden.

Who? We are looking for people who:
• have plenty of practical common sense
• have some basic gardening skills and experience
• are physically able.

Wild Food Foraging and Preservation, Bread Making and Creative Cooking

When? Mid-August to mid-November 2013 or May to July 2014.

What? They are looking for 2 skill-sharers to join them foraging for and preserving the abundance of wild foods growing in their wild and remote mountain valley.

Throughout the summer and autumn they are blessed with a wide variety of wild fruits, berries and herbs as well as the food they are cultivating ourselves. They need help to preserve as much as they can for the coming year, which will include:
• Harvesting and transforming an abundance of damsons, mulberries, elderberries, figs, pomegranates and blackberries into jams, chunteys and other culinary delights and medicinal tinctures
• Foraging for, for example, rosemary, thyme, sage, yarrow, nettles, lavender and savoury to make teas.
• Baking sour dough bread and experimenting with other baking
• Using produce in the garden creatively, for example green tomato chutneys, pickling vegetables for saur craut etc.

You will join Claire and Nikki who have been wandering the valley discovering the rhythms of the land and turning them into culinary and medicinal delights; and Lou who has held responsibility for the kitchen, food preservation and baking for past 3 years.

Life at Ecodharma

Life at Ecodharma is very communally spirited and is largely shaped by a collective yearning to move more and more towards simplicity, low impact living and just being with the land. All this provides the context for a rich and nourishing learning environment and a strong sense of being very much alive …


Depending on your skills, experience and/or future aspirations you may be eligible to apply for funding to pay for your travel and some pocket money and to reimburse Ecodharma for your food and accommodation costs. There may also be scope for additional finance for skilled builders. We will discuss possible funding with you on receiving your application.

How to apply

Please email for more information and to request an application form. Please state which role/s you are interested in and please be sure to meet the deadlines below. These deadlines have been set to ensure you are able to meet external deadlines for funders in good time – which vary depending on the placement period.


30 April 2013 for placements starting in August.
30 May 2013 for placements from September 2013-July 2014.

Weekend Working Retreat

This photo set was taken on a Buddhafield Weekend Working Retreat held at our HQ Trevince House, near Crediton, Devon. From Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime of the last weekend of February 2013, 12 people did periods of practical work to help prepare for the coming season of camping activities.

Trevor took a party out to a barn to sort through our canvases, which were checked for damage.The team set aside those needing repair. Ratnarashi led a second team sorting through our store of 12v electric lighting, testing LEDs, switches and cables, then sorting and packing them in crates for later use.  Seán supervised the cleaning of our store of Hep2O plumbing joints: we have several hundred in several sizes, and they all needed scrubbing, sterilizing and collating into complete sets, packing and sealing each set into a bag ready for use. Rupadarshin, preparing new geodesic dome poles, led a coppicing team and Satyadarshin cooked (and took the photos).

We based the event around exploring a traditional Buddhist teaching, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Ratnarashi gave a short talk on the theme on Friday evening, and in between work periods he asked us to reflect on our experience of applying the teaching to the work.

We started Saturday and Sunday morning with a 40 minute collective meditation practice and had shorter sessions before lunch and dinner. We ended the event with a vegan roast Sunday lunch.

Photos by Satyadarshin.

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