Atamai Open Day 2014
Howdy folks, welcome back.
This blog entry covers the Atamai Open Day 2014. It's our way of celebrating our achievements to date, and reaching to our local community to come and see what we are about. We were once again greeted with a great response, this time we counted 90 car loads of visitors, most of them full - probably doubling the head count from last year. We only experienced the odd drizzle, and it was generally warm and pleasant. Thanks to all our guests who came despite the threat of rain - it was great to see you all.
We located the central meeting point at the Atamai site office this year, right next to the central pond area. Some of the cherry blossoms were still out in force, making it a beautiful setting. This year, the nice people at the Nelson Building Society lent us their big and bright yellow marquee for our use. This gave us about a 8x5 meter covered space to work with which worked very well. Thanks NBS!
Everybody in the village chipped in to make this day a special one. Many hands make light work and is a central concept that encourages the bonds in our community - great work team!
We also had a friendly visiting Wwoofer who was a great addition to the day helping out with just about everything!
The marquee was decorated on the inside with the various pictures and posters we have accumulated over time in all our marketing events. We also adorned a table with yummy bits of afternoon tea, our locally grown produce and hand made crafts.
We also displayed our various electric bikes in the village, mine is the one attached to the child trailer buggy. I used this trailer as a work horse quite extensively during the setup of the event. One of these days I'll write a blog entry on the bikes alone :)
Just like last year, we had a demonstration of low energy cooking both with insulated and solar cookers. The overcast day was unfortunate, however when the sun did briefly show up it managed to heat a surprising amount of water to 90 degrees C!
Of course the mainstay part of this event are the House and Farm tours which were very well received. We had 3 house tours and 2 farm tours, each one consisting of crowds in excess of 25-30 people. Here we took everybody round all the houses that had been built since the last open day, detailing the various features of each house and the rationales behind all the decisions that went into them. Houses are a vital part of the village and ties up much capital, it is hence important to put a lot of thought into their construction. Many of us strived to achieve houses that were not just warm and cosy, but also capable of supporting low energy off-grid living, producing its own energy, collecting rain water and processing its own organic waste streams. We fielded many interesting and multi faceted questions from our guests and found many people interested in the concepts we were applying and have implemented in our homes. It was a great way to share our inspiration with them.
The farm tour was equally well attended as we ferried people over the hill to Te Mara farm, where much of our produce is grown. Many were interested to learn about our farm operations as well as our achievements in the relatively short period we have been here. It was great to connect with people on the important and central theme of sustainable food production. We still have much room for improvements of course, but it was nice to see strong interest in this area.
So here's hoping to the 2015 open day next year. What further surprises will await us around the corner. Perhaps you will have to come and see it for yourself :)