Our Path

Mount of Oaks (Monte dos Carvalhos) began in 2006 and in the first years, hundreds of people passed through, staying from a few days to a few years as pilgrims, painters, builders, anarchists, gardeners, and dreamers.

From its beginning, Mount of Oaks (MoO) has been a stage for playing with various notions of sharing of resources, knowledge, spiritual experiences; a time to seek solace in nature, and a platform for people to gather and talk. We have been working over the years to practice the ideals of living in community and from the land, interdependent with neighbours, and dedicated to the principles of permaculture with a spiritual guidance.

Every day we learn a little bit more.

After 16 years, and with so many different people/ groups passing by, me and Emma feel it is time to call long-term residents to share responsibilities… We´ve been hosting volunteers to come and stay for short periods of time and some even for longer periods…that has been a great help and most of the time a very pleasant experience, but it has been exhausting too at times… We have gladly been sharing our skills and time with those that have passed by, and now we are looking for either already skilled folk or for those who would like to set roots here and share the lead…
Living in  community in such an open “house” has not been easy… Sharing our kitchen, our living room, our leisure places has been a privilege, but also a sacrifice at times…
So we felt it was time for us (me and Emma) to call what we really want to see in this place, meeting our personal needs and desires instead of often trying to meet the expectations of those who pass by, above our own…
What we aim is to have our own private space  and leave the common spaces  for all those Associates who would like to use them for workshops, events, etc… The residents will take care of general maintenance of land, animals and structures, and develop the general vision.
We envision 2 more dwellings max (and maybe one more is enough), of people who will live permanently and share all responsibilities, and all the benefits, of what it means to be a guardian of this land. After 16 years, and with many more tools and personal skills, I can say that it’s quite manageable at this stage, but it’s much lighter when responsibilities are shared, as there is still lots to do just in maintenance for example, never mind developments… We would like to include more animals in our ecosystem, for example, but we would not do that until we have others to share this huge responsibility.
Also, I´m looking forward to having more time for other things apart from land management and building  🙂 .
We suggest a one year trial, taking on some of the responsibilities and living in temporary housing. After a year, if we are all in agreement and alignment, the new guardian(s) could start to build a dwelling or wait one more year. After that, we will request a clear decision.
This is the process we are adopting… A long term commitment enables us to share more responsibility, but we are all still “testing” for at least 2 years to see if it will really work for everyone in the long term.
And We see how life unfolds…
Last year we added 2 small plots and a long “wildlife corridor” to the existing land… The “cabeço”, which some of us call it “the eagle rock”, or “the alien rock”, or “E.T” , and the little ruin next to it which is being called by our neighbours as “a capela” / “the chapel”, since I mentioned that was the purpose we envision for it :-)… a small open house of prayer  🙂
The “wildlife corridor”, or “boar land”, was purchased last year with many donations that most of you sent, for which we are very grateful…
We were not necessarily looking for more land, and we definitely didn’t need more work, but a series of events led us into buying it, and “it just happened”…
All these lands and all life in them are very happy they will not be sprayed with chemicals or plowed anymore 🙂
So it started to make even more sense our idea to have our own separate and private space, and live more in a collective where others will have their own separate and private space, in this valley or close by, and we could share responsibility on taking care, managing and using the common spaces at MoO…
This is still maturing and unfolding… next episodes to be developed :-)…
For reference, these are the aims and goals of the “White Stone Association”, which was created to be the official “face” of the Mount of Oaks and it´s guardians :
   Aims of the association:

The association has the aim of promoting health and personal, social, spiritual and ecological well-being through contact with nature. The association is both multicultural and multilingual.

   Our main goals are:
   * Creation of collaborative spaces to promote social, economic and spiritual well being, local economy initiatives, community gatherings and educational opportunities.
* Model and educate about the advantages of a ‘simple lifestyle’ and raise awareness of current environmental issues.
* Promote healthy choices for the consumption and production of local, organic produce.
* Encourage rural ‘ecological and educational tourism’ in a sustainable manner, respecting the cultural and local resources.
* Offering accommodation in naturally constructed buildings and basic natural camping facilities.
* Promote intercultural collaboration

   What are the benefits of becoming an associate?
   By paying the annual 25E fee you will be able to have discounts on some of Mount of Oaks products and accommodation.
   As an Associate, you will be able to use our spaces and structures to host your events, workshops, ideas, at a reduced renting price.
   And more importantly you join a family of supporters committed to these ways of being, and you will be supporting us, the residents, and encouraging us to keep doing what we have   been doing. Basically you are participating in what we do with our lives here. Together we can achieve great things.
How could your money reach us?

Bank transfer:
Caixa Geral de Depositos – “Associacao White Stone”
IBAN PT50 0035 0339 00059421630 49

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT – your contribution helps us pay for the general admin expenses ( accountant, phone, internet,etc). Extras will be used for the development of the structures of the land. All essentials to the running of this little association and it´s events. Again, if you desire to support me and Emma or Ricardo specifically, do get in touch about it.