Rural Experiments with the Management of Basic Resources. Key Characteristics of European Ecovillages Aiming at Partial Self-Sufficiency in Water, Food and Energy

The goal of this paper is to provide a preliminary analysis of European ecovillages considered as rural grassroots experiments with the sustainable management of the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. The article presents empirical data on the management of basic resources in 60 European ecovillages collected with an on-line survey in 2020. The results show that a vast majority of ecovillages pursue some self-sufficiency in food, water or energy, and that 50% of them seek some self-sufficiency in all three of these resources. However, ecovillages do not try to be completely self-sufficient but rather aim at achieving feasible levels of self-sufficiency complemented with local and regional cooperation. While the role of ecovillages in driving conventional rural growth is limited, they can help in guiding sustainability transitions by illustrating opportunities and difficulties of reducing resource consumption of settlement units without reducing personal and communal well-being.

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