Ananda Valley is a settlement focused on all-round sustainability (environmental, economic and social sustainability) and local development, with a vision of being a model for sustainable 21st century living.

Ananda Kalyani is located in a gorgeous green valley in the centre of Portugal near the beautiful Serra da Estrela Nature Reserve. Over the last years we transformed this lush but abandoned valley into a habitable place.

Our land currently covers 50 hectares comprehensive of wild forests, a beautiful river, several scattered ruins, small springs, wild fruit trees and also 2,8ha of certified organic agriculture land.

Recently we built a simple suspension bridge, several compost toilets, six solar heated showers, two warehouses for activities and farming, and we are currently improving the camping area with a capacity for 300-400 people.

 

WHAT IT IS

1. Ananda Valley as a Learning Center

Ananda Valley in all its activities and projects represents a non-formal lifelong Learning Center for conscious regenerative sustainability and self development. Over the last years we had hundreds of volunteers and participants (both Portuguese & international) working with us. Our aim is to let them experience a different way of living/being, rooted in harmony with nature and the surrounding community, showing them how to meet our current needs without compromising the needs of future generations.

With time dedicated to meditation and yoga practices we encourage discovering and nurturing altruistic mental tendencies (e.g. kindness, generosity, self-sacrifice), and overcoming competing survival tendencies (e.g. fear, accumulation, fight & flight). Over the years we experienced that developing a more altruistic mindset often goes hand in hand with an emerging new, more sustainable, sense of purpose in people’s life.

This is what Ananda Valley is all about, individual change as the base for a larger societal change. Our aim is to create awareness about the consequences of decisions taken NOW and the impact they will have on future generations (intergenerational justice). We also facilitate ways to put this awareness into daily actions to create more sustainable habits. We believe that this will define whether society will move towards violence and unsustainable behaviors or towards a more peaceful and benevolent society.

2. The perfect location to organize events

As you can see, we are already organising many activities such as the Spring Yoga and Meditation retreat, the Ananda Festival of Bliss, the Spiritual Warrior Camp or Socio-Economic Activism Trainings. Besides that we also organize volunteering programmes and youth exchanges on for example Ecology, Permaculture or Disaster Relief & Preparedness, attracting people from all over the world.

All our events are drug, smoke and alcohol free, promoting a healthy & vegetarian lifestyle. Can you imagine all the amazing activities that can be organised here?

VISION, MISSION & AIMS

1. Vision & Mission

Vision

“A safe and vibrant settlement rooted in conscious all-round sustainability – social, economic and environmental – acting as a service, research & learning center. Ananda Valley provides a journey from an holistic perspective, where individuals, by moving together in harmony with nature and the surrounding community, can realize their full inner potential and outward actions.”

Mission

Ananda Valley creates a way of living and learning inside an environment that is supportive, inclusive and in harmony with nature. The main focus areas are related to deep ecology, sustainable organic agriculture, vegetarianism, lifelong learning, art, spirituality, social service, or social activism, as tools for conscious regenerative sustainability.

2. Aims
1. To create a model for sustainable 21st century living,

based on neo-humanistic values and all-round service, which will be a replicable educational, research and service resource for society at large;

2. To act as a social hub,

bringing together people who are interested in music and the arts, education, culture, health, economics, innovative scientific techniques and consciousness studies;

3. To help improve the quality of life of all living beings,

both human and non-human, and to create a supportive environment which provides for the needs of the residents and the surrounding community within a governance framework based on sociocratic principles;

4.To strengthen the local economy 

and the surrounding communities, through interaction and by helping them in their efforts to become self-reliant in terms of food and energy as well as through the creation of employment opportunities;

5. To promote a healthy and ecological lifestyle,

supportive of activities that lead to joy and happiness and stimulate the regeneration of biodiverse sustainable ecosystems;

BACKGROUND

1. Conscious Sustainability

Unsustainability is the most critical issue we are facing on planet Earth right now. The very existence of human society as we know it today is being challenged. We need to act.

The present-day era is characterised by an unsustainable financial system, a raising social inequality, a crisis of natural resources and a dangerous environmental crisis.

As Naomi Klein clearly states:
“We live in a time of overlapping crisis, and we need to connect the dots, because we don’t have time to solve each crisis sequentially. We need a movement that addresses all of them”.

It’s too late to be pessimistic. Instead, at Ananda Kalyani we provide positive models with:

  • an environment that is supportive, inclusive and in harmony with nature,
  • a methodology that promotes an expansion and transmission of consciousness,
  • several tools to act in the world, in order to bring positive changes to life.

We are contributing to the growth of conscious sustainability on topics such as deep ecology, social activism, vegetarianism, lifelong learning, art, sustainable organic agriculture, spirituality, social service and we are always open to include other areas of regenerative sustainability.

2. Master Units

Ananda Valley is an example of a Master Unit. “Master Units” are centers of ecological, social, spiritual and cultural activities. In details it describes a specific kind of development programme, based on socio-environmental awareness that includes a strong volunteer component and a self-development base within an eco-friendly settlement. A Master Unit may be considered as a ‘nerve centre’ for the healthy development of the local community.

In many ways the concept of a Master Unit is similar to the idea of ecovillages or intentional communities, but for a Master Unit the aspect of social-service is vital and crucial, while this may not be the case in other similar projects.

The Neo-Humanistic base that cultivates an open, holistic and intuitive outlook through practices targeting pure consciousness and spirituality, the heterogeneous nature of members’ expertise, as well as the scientific manner of testing/examining new techniques, together create optimal soil for the growth of solid, well-grounded projects.

3. The greater Ananda Valley

Ananda Valley encompasses more than just the rural center, the heart of the Master Unit. This rural center functions as the base for many of our projects, events and festival. Here is where we are physically building our settlement, where we developed organic agriculture projects like the “Berries and Cherries” project and the “Food Forest” project and where we host the yearly Ananda Festival of Bliss and many more events.

But there is more… In the nearby cities of Covilha and Fundao we are running two vegetarian restaurants, both called Ananda Café. In Covilha we also have a beautiful adjoint space, called Ananda Room, where we host holistic activities such as yoga, weekly free meditation evenings and cultural nights.

Furthermore Ananda Valley is facilitating local economy initiatives: we are for example co-founders of Bio-Eco, an association of organic producers in the region who organize local markets, and organizers of Local Development Conferences in collaboration with the local University (UBI). Several Ananda Valley residents are pioneers or active members of initiatives around themes such as: ecology, vegetarianism/ veganism, alternative education, ethical tourism, bioarchitecture and bioconstruction, organic farming, just to name a few.

4. History and founders

Ananda Valley is the result of combined forces of a group of complementary associations with the same clear approach “together a more peaceful world is possible“.  Deep ecology, sustainable agriculture, vegetarianism, lifelong learning, art, spirituality, social service and social activism are different ways these non-profit associations are contributing towards the aim of sustainability/regeneration. Together they work towards their vision of becoming a model for sustainable 21st century living.