Farm House Community Building
Our project is to build a sustainable, rammed earth style community building on SAATHI BIO FARM (translation: Friends Organic Farm). The small community farm lies 20km north of Pokhara next to the village Humdi Lampata, above a beautiful valley with views of the Himalayan peaks. The hope is to show by example and through education, that sustainable tourism in a rural community fits well with the overall goals of sustainable agriculture and an entirely ecological lifestyle, thus acting as a pioneer for Organic Living.
The specific goal of this project is to create a space for an exchange between local farmers, eco-tourists, agri-tourists and specialists, all visiting or working at SAATHI BIO FARM (nine farmers share ownership of the land). In this way, the village can profit from both tourism (through homestays), and learning organic farming techniques to keep producing high quality products. In turn, volunteers and young entrepreneurs will learn about organic, sustainable farming from permaculture specialists visiting and working for the farm. It is our hope to also make farming more profitable for the indigenous farmers through these kinds of education and community projects.
Sustainability is our driving force. We live in a world with so much waste and a lack of education, that sustainable living is key for our future. Nepal is a country greatly impacted by tourism. It is one of the fastest growing industries making it essential to promote sustainability and innovation, to make sure that with the growing number of tourists, it brings a better quality of life for everyone, as well as the natural environment. By providing the building as a meeting and living space, we are supporting the ongoing educational arm of SAATHI BIO FARM. We chose the construction technique of rammed earth, because it ties in so well with our brand of organic living.
Rammed earthis a technique for constructing foundations, floors, and walls using only natural/locally sourced raw materials including earth, sand, silt, clay, and gravel. The walls are put into place using flat panels called framework. We joined with Rammed Earth Solutions, a construction company based in Kathmandu, who use a human-powered pole to compact the earth down, and add a small amount of cement (4-6%) to increase durability of the walls. Most of the energy used for this project goes into the transportation of materials to the site; however, after that the house will be earthquake proof and can last hundreds of years. This technique ties in with our goal of sustainability, and overall target for it to be a self-sufficient and safe building.
Where We Are Now
We have already begun the building process with Rammed Earth Solutions and have completed the first story of the building. Together with many volunteers and Nepali workers, we have lived on the farm in our bamboo-constructed camp, and now are working on completing the second story and the roof structure. We are hoping to finish by the end of May, 2018.
The People Behind It
Julian Hungerbuehler and Emma Warren are the coordinators for the funding, designing, and construction of the building. Julian is a carpenter from Switzerland with eight years’ experience in the field. Last year in Pokhara, he designed and built a prototype earth-bag round-house, with a traditional bamboo roof construction, which fostered the idea to build a similar building on the pre-existing Saathi Bio Farm, with one of the land owners and manager, Tulsi Giri. Emma, from Santa Fe, NM, has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies – Sociology with a focus in Sustainable Development, and is working as the project accountant and outreach coordinator.
The project will eventually work in coordination with an organization in Pokhara called founded by Tulsi, which acts as Sustainable Regional Food Network, a market for many different types of high quality organic foods and locally produced items that can be exported to share Nepali goods with the world, through the network of .
Tulsi’s business mentor/partner, Patrick Honauer, is a social entrepreneur, from Switzerland. Involved in this field since 1993, when he started his first company. He is the founder and co-founder of: Neuhof Bachs, which is the first organic restaurant in Switzerland, and , a start-up for social entrepreneurs, as well as several other start-up companies.