Bruns Eco Village - Brunswick Heads

“In our opinion, the most important key to success of any community or eco-village is … the beliefs and values on which it is based, and the relationships which bind members and enable them to work together.”

Christine Connelly, Sustainable Communities: Lessons from Aspiring Eco-Villages


Village Development Program
5-11 Feb 2018


I went into the VDP a year ago excited and enthusiast. Doing the VDP has made me more so. It's amplified that excitement. I can see it taking shape and I'm even more committed now. In participating in the VDP I’ve been able to contribute my own experience and know-how and that's always special.
Andrew Paterson


These are the words of one of the participants of the current Village Development Program, due to complete in December this year (2017).

When we set sail on the first Village Development Program in September 2016 our intention was to cultivate a felt community environment that can embody the dream and vision of Bruns Eco Village and carry it forward into the future. What has grown from that has been awe inspiring. This shared community spirit will continue to grow, evolve and change as new members join what may become one of the most progressive ecovillages in Australia.

We’re now excited to be extending that community environment to welcome the pioneering new adventurers who are keen to do the next week-long VDP in February 2018. (That might be you!)

Whether you’re eager to live on Bruns Eco Village, want to learn the tools for living in community in general or would like to participate in the VDP for your own personal or career development you are very welcome to join us.

Participating in a Village Development Program is the first of a two part requirement to be eligible to apply for membership and residency of the Bruns Eco Village. Please read our FAQ’s for more information.


Creating with Purpose

Our aim in offering the Village Development Program is to create an environment to explore and experience community living while introducing the culture, structures and social elements of the future ecovillage.

This has been an incredible year of learning and development and we’re excited about refining what we’ve learned to make this next VDP even more magnificent.

Living in community requires a commitment to learn a new way of living together. In our lives most of us don’t get an opportunity to learn the skills needed to live well with each other. By attending this workshop you will learn a range of social and communication tools that can support a collaborative, creative and harmonious way of life.


February’s Village Development Program Intensive

The cost to be part of this unique community-building intensive is $1250 and it includes the following:

  • 7 days of participatory learning and fun as we explore what takes to live in a sustainable community, exploring these topics:
    • Social Design of Intentional Communities
    • Non Violent Communication (NVC) tools
    • Sociocracy decision making
    • Alternative and Community Economics
    • Community Enterprise
    • Culture and Spirituality in Community
    • Permaculture applied in Ecovillage Design
    • Conflict Resolution in community
    • Bruns Ecovillage Culture, Pathways and Cluster Process
  • A tasty a nutritious lunch provided each day
  • A community meal mid-week
  • Daily yoga & meditation (optional)
  • Night time activities (dance, movies, games & music)
  • A serene nature-filled community retreat space in the heart of the Byron hinterland
  • Access to swimming holes

Note: People attending the Bruns Eco Village VDP can obtain a $1,000 No Interest Loan (NILS) from the Byron Community Centre to attend the workshop.


Learning from the best

The Village Development Program will include an impressive range of guest facilitators who will offer their unique expertise over the week.

Guest speakers include:

  • Wroth Wall (Australia’s leading solicitor in legal community structures)
  • Helena Norberg-Hodge (author, filmmaker, Global Eco Village founder and pioneer of the 'new economy' movement)
  • John Seed (environmentalist and founder of the Rainforest Information Centre)
  • Carol Perry (co-founder of Dharmanada Community, dispute mediator and mindful communication teacher
  • Bunya Halasz (permaculture and food systems teacher)
  • Jana Krins (Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and community mediation teacher)

Shane Sylvanspring, Ecovillage Design Education facilitator and Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) ambassador, will run the workshops. His team of facilitators (below) will help deliver a rich and excellent education program, using lectures, games, exercises and experiences that will ground what you are learning.

  • Prema Browne (International Ecovillage Design Education facilitator)
  • Peter Gringer (Ecovillage Design Education trainer with Gaia Education)

Find out more about the presenters here.


Hanging out in paradise

Paradise One is nestled in a private valley in the Byron Bay Hinterland. Their vision is to create a living, breathing, working model of Paradise on Earth. They seek to do this by hosting conscious and sustainable retreats & events.

The property is home to:

  • Extensive permaculture gardens
  • 120 solar panels
  • Rain water
  • A creek with private swimming holes
  • A natural hot tub
  • Cosy secluded cabins
  • Abundant art and music

This venue will provide a rich environment in which to cultivate a depth of community and can offer a much needed retreat away from the demands and pressures of everyday life.

Paradise One is a supporter of community development and supports community and art events in the Byron Shire.


Accommodation Options

On site accommodation options are limited. If you would like to stay on site please see the details of those options below.

The workshop runs over 6 nights from 5th-10th December.

Type of AccommodationNumber of placesAccommodation CostTotal Workshop Cost
Camping10 places$170 per site$1420
Bunk Bed in a Yurt20 Beds$540 per bed$1790
Twin Share14 Beds$648 per bed$1898
Room (Shared Bathroom)7 Queen Beds$1248 per room $3748 (for 2 people)
Cabin (Private Bathroom)4 Cabins$1448 per Cabin (can fit 2 people)$3948 (for 2 people)

These accommodation rates include 3 vegetarian meals per day for the duration of the retreat.


Village Development Program Schedule

The program will run from 9am-5pm daily. The following is an indication of the schedule for the week:

DAY 1: Introduction Day: Games, values, wholistic design

DAY 2: Social Design, NVC

DAY 3: Dynamic Governance and other forms of decision making

DAY 4: Ecology, permaculture

DAY 5: Economics – new economy, community enterprise, etc

DAY 6: Holistic perspective, world view, culture, ritual (night celebration)

DAY 7: Field Day: Walking the land, BEV culture and meeting with VDP 1

The week’s program is is inspired by the internationally recognised and UN endorsed Global Ecovillage Network’s Ecovillage Design Education framework developed by the Global Ecovillage Network and Gaia Education and will include additional elements specific to the Bruns Eco Village.

All are welcome at Bruns Eco Village. Anyone who aligns with Bruns Eco Village’s vision and mission is welcome to join the Village Development Program regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or ability.

Register to take part in this wonderful workshop and take the first step towards living on the Bruns Eco Village.