In nature, everything moves in cycles and waste does not exist. This inspiration serves as a holistic approach for treating our land and for providing basic needs, commonly referred to as permaculture. In a number of ways we are practising and showcasing how humans can have a dramatically positive impact on our environment.
Harvesting the rain from roofs around our site we can simply collect and store water. As it stands our annual project capacity is 400,000 litres from the roofs. Combined with simple systems around the land we can capture and store additional water which is our number 1 life source.
Grey water is defined as water coming from showers and kitchens. Usually, this is treated as a waste product. However, if using organic soaps and detergents this water is highly useful for life and growing food. All our grey water is sent to grey water gardens which clean the water and produce long-term food crops. On site we have eight grey water gardens that filter water from 20 food traders. Per festival they receive up to 30,000 litres of dirty water which is then recycled and sent to our gardens.
Human manure is one of the richest fertilizers in our environment. Often we refer to it as black gold. As we need to treat it carefully, we only use it for our tree production. Dry compost is our method, so our toilets don’t flush and we try to separate urine. Sawdust is used to avoid smell and help the compost process. Throughout the project we have 26 compost toilets on site, generating roughly 10 cubic meters of human manure per annum.
Hot water for our shower systems is generated through the natural process of compost heating. Compost heating can naturally generate hot water of up to around 90°C. Therefore we are not only creating compost for our food production but also for heating our water to keep us clean and happy. This process has been utilised since the 1970s and can be implemented to heat houses and greenhouses in cold climates etc. The water we use is collected from rain harvesting and the grey water created from the showers is sent to a food forest. On site we have 8 compost showers creating up to 10,000 litres of water per day during the festival. From the moment we finish another compost reactor it will create hot water for up to 4 months.
Biogas is one of the natural cycles of life and can be easily produced on small or big scale. By capturing gut bacteria in a container and feeding with food waste we can produce our own gas. This we can then utilise for heating and cooking. This year we intend to showcase this technology and use the gas created for cooking at one of our stalls.
At any one moment there is 15,000 times more energy coming from the sun than all of the energy currently used by humans. Harnessing this energy can be done very simply. For example we capture the sun's energy in black pipe coils for solar heating used in our showers. Also we can cook directly using an old satellite dish covered in silver foil. We hope to showcase this technology to you this June.
Natural building is not only low cost but extremely energy efficient with zero impact on the environment. We have built our shower blocks from straw-bales and mud, with natural living roofs. We are planning to upgrade all of our existing metal roofs to green roofs.
Through all of the compost created at the festival we are now starting to utilise this into a yield and micro businesses to benefit ourselves and those around us. So far we have planted 35 fruit trees across the site and in 2023 we will start work on our market gardens. Our intention is to grow as much food as possible on the land (farm to plate) for the festival and for further trade, exchange and business.
Check out our pocket ashtrays, flasks, mugs, bowls and sporks. Not only do these long-life reusable items keep our waste down to a minimum in the meadows, they make the perfect travel and life companion all year round.
Cigarette filters are the most littered items in the world. They are also the worst pollution to leave behind in nature. That’s because they contain plastic and toxins that harm ecosystems. It can take up to 10 years for a cigarette filter to degrade in the meadows.
Meanwhile, it takes you only 5 seconds to respect our mountain and use your portable ashtray. You can empty it at any of the recycling stations on site as well as at any of our bars. On behalf of both Mother Earth and future generations, we wish to thank you for dealing with your nasty butt in a prettier way.
There is no excuse for single use. Having plastic bottles and cups would be a sure fireway of littering our Meadows in a sea of plastic which would plague the land for 450 years before it would biodegrade. That’s why we introduced our reusable flasks and mugs.
Each year we prevent an average of 40,000 single use plastic cups from being wasted. Please participate in our not-so-nasty scheme and take these reusables with you in daily life too. Not only will you help preserve the planet and future generations from all that waste, but you’ll be sure to keep the nasty plastic chemicals leaching into your drinks.
This year reusable bowls and sporks join our Zero Waste Kit so you can drop that heavy wasteful conscience from your diet. We’ve bought a small number of each to sell as a trial, so do let us know what you think of them if you get them. And you’ll see some pretty juicy discounts around the site if you do have them.
The bowls were designed to be easy to use and carry around with you on the Mountain in your bag or on your belts or straps without giving up food-bearing capacity, while the sporks should fit snugly in your pockets and bags. Thankfully, these cutting-edge waste-preventers have no sharp edges.
Samo Terra is our one and only non-profit organisation, a collective of conscious facilitators and healers focusing on the regeneration of our land. The name is a combination of “samo”, the Bulgarian word for “only”, and “terra”, the universal word for “Earth”. It was born out of our heartfelt obligation to regenerate the land that was given to us, and to inspire others to do the same.
We are living off grid on the mountain all year round and steadily developing a permaculture showcase while acting as stewards of the land. Throughout the year we host volunteers to evolve their understanding of regenerative culture, constantly implementing permaculture principles and ethics.
We platform a range of different retreats and workshops, such as PDC’s (Permaculture Design Certificates), Natural Build Workshops, Women’s/Men’s Circles, Foraging, Yoga, Meditation, including an ever evolving list of spiritual and regenerative practices. Keep your eyes peeled for more upcoming MITM x Samo Terra workshops, if you want to be part of the first generation to fully embrace regeneration.
…yet trees provide us with priceless –and way more important– things: healthy soil, food, clean water, and leafy, thriving habitats. Forests are a self-contained ecosystem and trees are integral to that 3d structure. If we work with nature and trees in the correct way, we can create an abundance of food and fuel around us.
They clean the air we breathe, while sequestering CO2 from it. In doing so, they can help both our festival and our fellow Meadowers in offsetting our carbon emissions. This is why we plant fruit trees on our own land and partner with local reforestation projects in Bulgaria. Want to get dirty with us and clean up your own act as well? With many events happening throughout the year, please pick your date to plant your trees and have some fun in the forest. Let’s sequester some carbon and leave the right kind of trace: that of the leaf.
We are continuing our affiliation with organisations that inspire us and push for systemic change. These brothers and sisters keep pressing ‘play’ for the right issues, every day. If you see these change makers at the festival, do stop by for a chat or just give them a high five.
It may sound strange that flying through the air really leaves footprints. But we are talking about your ecological footprint here, and when you fly it’s way higher than when you don’t airlift your feet. Travelling by train can prevent up to 75% carbon dioxide emissions in comparison to flying.
We all know that train travel often costs more time and money than flying. But we need to start making choices that are sensible in the bank of Mother Nature. While only a few big bad global corporations are to blame for much carbon and other emissions, we as individuals need to regularly review our entitlement to the impact we have had on the planet up until now.
Part of that implies a shift in thinking. Carbon emissions shouldn’t be something we should save, as if they were ever budgeted for. We should think of them as an overspend that we and our planet simply cannot afford. No amount of planting trees will ever make a difference if we aren’t changing our ways.
You can check out your travel impact on Ecolibrium by comparing the emissions related to various different travel methods from where you’ll be starting to the Mountains, meaning that you can make an informed decision before you book those travel plans. They say that getting there is half the fun… and that train stopovers are twice as nice.