Project of the Day: Pan y Trillar

“Pan y Trillar” is a self-sustaining rural community with a Glocal orientation, researching sustainable housing and dynamic, global peer network based in Segovia, Spain. We first heard about them when Jorge Juan García, one of the drivers behind the project, commented on a post right here in the P2P Foundation Blog

We then asked him for more information in English, and he sent us the following inpiring document. “Pan y Trillar” roughly translates as “Bread and thresh” and it’s named after a threshing floor, in Velosillo, the town in Segovia where the community is situated. You can find more about them in their Spanish blog.


There is only one possible survival strategy: the human being needs to return to being organic. We can not keep plundering natural resources at a pace that nature cannot restore and even more returning those natural resources in the form of pollution once processed. The industrial society and its system is dying. We have entered a transitional phase which will last a long time and it will definitely be traumatic. The emergence of new models is vital for innovations that can solve the potential civilization collapse.

A real change of the production system would only be possible from the small. The community will occupy the space left by the state when it fails, structuring new types of economic and social organization that can afford to be sustainable over time, from an economic point of view, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. There is only one option: a lifestyle that has a zero carbon footprint. The human being must be able to provide biodiversity, or at least not to destroy it permanently.

Such an ambitious goal can only be possible by synthesizing the problem and thus simplifying the solutions to a specific level that can be accessible by anyone. Our vision is to tackle down the main issue of the problem: housing and its nearby habitat represent almost half of the consumption of resources and pollution generated by each of us. By researching on housing and its habitat we can define a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

Self-production is consolidated as a feasible strategy which partially solves the basic equation of biodiversity balance and allows to gain resilience upon the hazards of the complexity of an overspecialized industrial system. The short-term goal should be to focus our efforts on achieving self-sufficiency in food, water and energy. Understanding local conditions and taking advantage of the management of natural resources and possible long-term outcome is the first key. To achieve this, we can try to combine local uses of pre-industrial community, which will be different for each location, and actual knowledge, easily accessible through Internet.

Creating knowledge and peer to peer production networks, is the second key. The basic starting conditions for success will be only given by an adequate local and interconnected network society.

It is not about creating isolated unit as the fallout shelters, but about creating self-sufficient bonds forming tissues gathered around communities. The key is to be able to articulate a community structure based upon cooperation ant to strengthen it locally by creating networks. The network society allows viral expansion of the generated knowledge, dynamically generated by peer interactions.

Once reached an acceptable level of generation of food and energy self-sufficiency, it is much easier to work on the implementation of a new production system. The process should be based on several complementary areas: Creating markets: The creation and development of local, physical and virtual markets, facilitate trade and exchange. The higher the rate of exchange will be the most dynamic economy. A local currency can be created to retain part of the added value within the community. Importing “economy”: A place with sustainable biodiversity and a cohesive community around common plans for the future, will become an attractive place to import talent and, therefore, to the local economy. Transformation of the state: The state organization should evolve towards a model that does not discourage innovation, as in right now. The local administration management acquires a significant importance but needs in order to be effective, an almost total de-bureaucratization and deregulation. Management must be based on communal assemblies, without overheads’ costs. The viability of many public services will only be achieved if the Community pools them. The idle assets should be placed at the service of the community that will integrate them into development plans without the need of getting funding from other Government bodies.

We need spaces to test, laboratories for experimenting with alternatives to the current production system.

Pan y Trillar: a research proposal

In the summer of 2013 we built our self-sustaining house in Vellosillo (Segovia (Castile)), our family village, having worked the previous years in recovering the nearby habitat in an surface of just over one hectare. We had created a first prototype where we intend to investigate and learn. On one hand, we are delighted with the quiet life in the village and with the friendliness of the people of the area. Our urban past was long in the memory lane. Our network has increased significantly in the recent months and we are trying to help other developing new ideas as we keep growing the area networks. On the other hand we are connected with nature, which gives us our main needs in a truly inspiring environment. Meeting our basic needs (water, food and energy) requires roughly two hours a day of work and and overall annual cost of €1,700.The habitat we are creating tries to merge the lifestyle of pre-industrial village communities of Castile with the new technologies and the emerging knowledge society. We wonder if it is possible to create a lifestyle that generates connections between the elements, allowing us to live with less working hours, with more free time, in a healthier way and that can make us happier. In the not too distant past every family home in the countryside of Castile was a small self-sustaining economic unit, integrated into a community which cooperated and allowed them to survive for centuries.

In today’s global economy, with consecutive financial crisis and the serious consequences of the exploitation of nature, we can not help but facing the reality that requires new models to evolve the way we live to a less uncertain future and attempt to participate in the process of change that is expected to last several decades. Perhaps the key to evolve from the current situation would be based on the possibility of replicating the same philosophy of pre-industrial sustainable communities in rural areas to a new concept of life, a new economic and social model that ought to incorporate two new ingredients: the use of technology and knowledge in a way of working that is very different from the one we know and connecting each unit with the rest of the global network society.

The experience and the learning curve of the prototypes we are developing, will allow us to complete the first phase of our research project, allowing us to publish all the generated knowledge, over these year, in open source.

We try to design a complete family habitat, applicable to rural communities that we have called ‘selfproduction kit’, which would serve as a basic tool for the creation of a new economy, built from the smallest and most basic, based on self-production, and integrated by the components required to meet the needs of a household: housing, facilities, workshop, garage, warehouse, garden, stable and native nature. Permaculture and networking are the main methods we are using to develop the project.

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