Earth Ways is creating a nature based permaculture community on Rubha Phoil on the Isle of Skye. You can read more here.
I’m Cesaria, living at Rubha Phoil since September 2018.
I was brought up in a relatively close connection to nature, a house with a big garden on a riverside, and the school I went to put a lot of emphasis on working creatively with the mind and the body. With that upbringing came a very early passion for the natural world and all the creative crafts around it. Following that interest I’ve been to quite a few farms and similar places, working in different areas. After school I started travelling and working in Europe, which brought me to the final conclusion that I want to be part of a completely different way of living that builds a healthier more connective system next to the destructive one we’ve got now. Through searching for ways to learn more about how to achieve that I came across the permaculture movement and did a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) right away. To me permaculture is the most holistic, flexible and fun way to design my life, figure out my learning pathways and solve the problems of today’s time. It’s a toolbox to look at things from the angle of nature and use the millennia old principles behind it to build thriving systems. That new understanding ultimately lead me to understand and connect with the natural world in a new and towards a “original” way. Integrating permaculture in my life seems to be never ending learning which is part of why my life here is so rich and diverse. The biggest learning I had while living here is about community building and understanding culture as what is was and what it is now and how connection to nature ties into solving the problems of the climate crises. Alongside that I learned tonnes about gardening, land management, birds, tracking, natural cycles and processes, trees and plants, team building…
After a rich year I’ve had here, I now plan to become self-employed and focus my attention on teaching permaculture and nature connection and deepen my knowledge in skills which are needed to live from the land in a permaculture way. Using resources from the land and turning them into something useful, in the best case in collaboration with other local craftspeople. That way I’m hoping to make a living and continue my learning journey in the direction I want to.
The potential of Rubha Phoil to become a resilient abundant self-reliant hub for learning, teaching and experimenting is huge. And the path towards that is challenging and fun. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here.
When I came to Rubha Phoil I got given a nickname: Heron
– focused, persistent, accurate, patient and incredibly pissed off when I fail.
You will see my happiest smile when I’m out in nature – high up on a tree or out on the sea.
I have a love for adventure and the outdoors. After I finished school I have been throwing myself into that. Throughout my travels nature and people have always been key factors that have shaped my experiences.
I am grateful that my travels led me to Rubha Phoil where I learned to connect the both and understand their interdependence and the urgent necessity. I discovered the immense potential that ReConnection holds.
Since Rubha Phoil has become my home, I am getting closer to myself, nature and the people that surround me, every day.
My life here is about being present in nature, learning from nature and finding the reconnection that has been lacking in my life so far.
Nature is pure and, in its core, the healthiest possible in our western culture. It has opened a way for me to get closer to my inner-self with least distractions and pulls from outside. I am passionate to learn and grow, go on a healing journey and build connection and community with others..
We all need people but we forgot how to be together. Learning again, being present, observing, listening to each other, reconnecting, finding ways to deal with conflicts – that is what we need if we want to move towards a solution – creating the pathway for a healthy culture to come.
Stephanie Gooding is not a resident on the land, but an anchoring support member of the community of Rubha Phoil.
Stephanie is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist bringing the inspiration of nature together with up-to-date psychology. She has a modern, research-informed approach to psychology while also integrating nature connection as an infinite source of restoration and reflection. Ecopsychology is focused restoring relationships between ourselves and nature, between each other, and within ourselves.
Stephanie runs her own courses and project called Earthworks.
Stephanie guides people how to deepen the connection with nature so it may become a deep personal resource and a sense of stewardship of your environment. Earthworks courses aim to build resilience through a connection with nature and offers opportunities to build meaningful lives and relationships.
Stephanie has trained in psychology, Behavioural Science BSc (hons), MSc Multicultural Counselling, MSc Psychological therapies in primary care, BPS Qualification in Counselling Psychology, while always alongside also taking an interest in other wisdom traditions including Mahayana Buddhism, secular mindfulness, and a range of deep nature connection and energy healing modalities from across the world.
Her work experience has been across sectors including NHS Psychological Therapies and inpatient rehabilitation, the charitable sector (working with adults and young people on recovery from trauma and bereavement including sexual violence) and in private practice working with adults, children, families and couples on a wide range of complex human problems.
Specifically in preparation for Earthworks programme, Stephanie has completed the Lowland Leader Award (including outdoor first aid) and is a member of the Mountain Training Association. She is also a qualified mentor for the ‘Journey of Young Women’, has trained in ‘the Nature Process’ with Tabitha Jayne, and studied with Sharon Blackie’s ‘Hedge School’ using mythology to follow the eco-heroine’s journey, along with elements of bushcraft and Jon Young’s nature connection Art of Mentoring with ‘Deepening your Nature Connection’ group in Falkland, and All 5 Senses in Alyth. She is close to completing the Mindfulness Network Teacher Training Pathway, previously with Bangor University.
Stephanie’s approach is to empower the individual to develop their own relationship with nature and find their own ways of connecting and centring themselves, while also offering the psychological expertise as and when required or requested.
I have been passionate about protecting and caring for the environment since I was a child. When I was 8, I started thinking the permaculture way when I learned that trees produce the oxygen that we breathe and I persuaded my parents to plant an oak tree in the garden. My passion for permaculture was born, even though I didn’t know the word!
From as far back as I can remember, I have felt a desire to be deeply connected with nature. Over the years my connection with nature has included playing in the rain as a child, being a scout master in my late teens, organizing survival expeditions for young offenders in my twenties and living entirely off grid in a Scottish woodland for 4 years in a self-made shelter with a wood burning stove.
About 25 years ago, the kind of challenges we as a species would face, became obvious to me. I changed the direction of my life to train myself to be ready to be part of the solution. I have always known that the solution would need to be grassroots level. I have trained -and am still on a intense learning journey- for more than 25 years, in all aspects of permaculture I can imagine: Permaculture growing and forest gardening, Aquaponics, simple technology life hacks, culture and community, land management, survival skills, nature connection, peace making, mental and physical health, good food, … My on-going exploration of sustainable food production systems and ways of reconnecting people to their natural environment has led me to create Earth Ways in 2007 and I established myself as a forest garden/permaculture designer and teacher, and nature connection mentor. In 2016, I pioneered the nature-based permaculture community at Rubha Phoil on the Isle of Skye.
I can help provide solutions to the rapidly increasing demand for sustainable ways of living that work in collaboration with nature rather than continually fighting against it. I have many years experience of restoring natural habitats, re-introducing biodiversity, pioneering sustainable ways of growing food and harvesting bio fuels, designing permaculture projects of various sizes as well as mentoring in bushcraft and survival skills.
My permaculture journey has led me to want to create a sustainable community. And here we are, Rubha Phoil is born.
I have studied as a graduate in Ortho-pedagogy and worked professionally in that field with people of all ages for 10+ years.
I obtained my Permaculture Designer Certificate in 2009 from Patrick Whitefield, the famous author of many permaculture books and foremost permaculture expert in Britain.
In 2010 I successfully completed a course in Permaculture Training of Teachers organized by ‘Designed Visions‘. I also had my first encounter with the Art of Mentoring, where I learn ingenious indigenous ways of passing on knowledge and assisting nature connection.
Since 2011 I organized Permaculture Design and Nature Awareness Courses that reflects my own permaculture learning curve. If I may say so myself, they are a great success!
In 2012 have set up a permaculture farm near Forres, with pigs, sheep, ducks, chickens, bees and lots of delicious vegetables. After 5 years this project moved to Rubha Phoil.
In 2013 I started a Community Interest Company to help people crowdfund the funds they need for their ethically sound projects: www.earth-ways.com
I’m teaching courses, and am taking clients for permaculture design and consultation.
I purchased and took over custodianship of the paradise of Rubha Phoil. A 15 acre peninsula on the Isle of Skye. It is slowly turning into a permaculture demonstration site and permaculture community.
Earth Ways in the media:
Ludwig and Suzanne de Waard wrote an article on how to make your own permaculture polytunnel. It is published here”
This article on how to live with slugs in your permaculture garden shows nicely how Earth Ways puts nature connection and ecosystem management central in the courses and workshops.
and in The Guardian
and on the Lowimpact.org website here