bunny rabbit saying love drawing of dacha off-grid homestead trees and hills wood and axe strawbale cottage reading in a hammock off-grid diesel generator carpentry tools beds of vegetables and flowers in a garden cattails in a natural water treatment pond

ABOUT

The Dacha Project, founded in 2008, is a do-it-yourself, egalitarian and educational homestead. We are comprised of six friends and an extensive circle of supporters and community members. Situated on 16 acres in Finger Lakes region of New York, we have built an off-the-grid, earth-bermed, solar-passive house, powered by active solar and a diesel generator converted to run on waste vegetable oil.   In addition, we built, or rather sculpted, a straw-bale cottage, planted a fruit and nut tree orchard, and are ever-expanding our gardens. We are almost entirely owner built, with innovative designs for our energy, heating, water, waste and agriculture systems. Our blog is a work in progress (& a labor love), just like us.

We aim to live in conjunction with the land that supports us, to present alternatives to wasteful practices, and to have ample time to follow various individual and collaborative pursuits, be they artistic, political, economic or anything else. Most significantly we work to facilitate and inspire community building here locally and everywhere, because we are continually awed by the power and fun of collaboration.

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In Russia a dacha (да́ча in russky) was a retreat home, to get away from urban areas and connect to nature. The richer crowd used them for social and cultural gatherings, while the poor squatted in them and grew their own food since the gov couldn’t supply enough. Many didn’t have indoor plumbing. Even today many people have dachas and enjoy growing things and sunbathing and sitting around the samovar drinking tea.

Our dacha is, of course, influenced by the present world around us, and the ideas we’ve picked up while alive in our own generation on the other side of the globe.  Still, there is something of the Russian dacha in the feeling we bring to the project. It just fit.

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