Welcome

Help Design an Eco-Community


8th Life Panama is a Collaborative Work-Life Initiative forming an Intentional Community in the mountains of Anton, Panama. Our guest house, Villa Astoria, serves as our center of operations and lodging while we develop a 21 hectare (52 acre) permaculture project just 10Km away in the community of Las Guabas Arriba. 8th Life Panama is supported by the 8thLife EcoVillage project in the Canary Islands and the Spanish NGO, Gaia Tasiri. 

We offer you a unique opportunity to design your future in a healthy and supportive environment. Astoria Guest House provides comfortable living space while we co-create the permaculture based intentional community on our 21Ha Finca.  This is a "ground-floor" opportunity.  Are you ready to join us?


We're looking for visionaries; people with an entrepreneurial spirit who believe, like we do, that
it's time to transition from a destructive society to a sustainable world.




A view of the waterfall on the La Estancia River which forms
the western border of our land.

The Project> WHAT

The 8thLife Panama Collaborative Work-Life Initiative is forming an intentional community that provides a social support structure and a low impact lifestyle for its members, residents, and volunteers. To achieve this we are integrating aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological construction, green production, alternative energies, community building practices, among others.

The Initiative has two physical components, Astoria Guest House - the operations center, & The Finca -
21Ha (52 acres) of land for developing the Eco-Community. We envision the initiative incorporating a number of elements such as:
  • intentional community eco-village based on integral permaculture design principles (on The Finca)
  • eco-enterprise incubator, shared workspace for eco-community members & volunteers (at Astoria Guest House)
  • artisan & craftspeople's incubator, shared workspace, & storefront for eco-community members and local residents
  • promoting and strengthening the local economy of Las Guabas Arriba and Anton through example
  • training/workshops in eco-economics, the circular economy, 'buy local', and local economic development
  • community gardens and local produce and artisan markets
  • permaculture courses and other practical, hands-on learning experiences such as eco-building
Would you like to be involved? We promote the values and ideals of community, respect, peace, and living an “on-purpose” life and hope these will be rediscovered by those who decide to join us. The Eco-Community will provide a socio-cultural support structure as well as a healthy atmosphere for living and working. For community members, fair work, cooperation, and an abundance mentality replace the materialism, competition and scarcity mentality prevalent in today's world.

We are looking for founding members, resident members, and volunteers. Everything is explained well in this site, which describes the different aspects of the project in detail. Please take you time and read it carefully.

This is a unique opportunity.
 
See more in the The Project page



The Reason> WHY

It's time to transition from a destructive society to a sustainable world.

We believe
that the most important and urgent
jobs to be done now are:
  • stopping the destruction,
  • working to build soil,
  • restoring  ecosystems, 
  • healing our addictions,
  • changing organizational structures of the global economy, 
  • & learning to live in community
starting locally ...

If it's clear to you that supporting the transition of our destructive society to a sustainable world is your first priority, you will love this & we are looking for you.
 

 See more in The Reason page





The Land> WHERE

Video of The Finca

If the video doesn't play, try this link: Video of the Finca

Looking east towards the creek that forms the eastern border of the property. 
The car you can see in the distance is on the other side of the creek.
                      • 21Ha in Las Guabas Arriba, Anton, Panama
                        • Our first priority will be to increase fertility, vegetation, and biodiversity on the land
                        • Part of this important work will be reforestation and capturing water, which will be among the first designs needed
                      • 2.5 hours from Panama City to the property
                        half an hour from the town of Antón
                      • Bordered by a seasonal creek and a year-round river
                      • Accessible by public transport and a 10 minute walk
                      • Dirt road leads to the stream, then passes through The Finca
      • No electricity or running water - it's not been inhabited in recent centuries - opportunity to generate what we need
      • Varied topography and soil - ideal for multiple uses
      • Topography with potential for capturing water
      • Climate and location ideal for generating electricity with micro-hydro, wind and/or solar systems
      • Cellular phone signal - need to figure out optimum spots
      • Impressive views

With the right techniques, well-thought-out designs, and tons of observation and care, amazing results can be obtained - the following photos are an example of increased fertility, biodiversity and vegetation.


To the right, how the garden space looked as the guest house was being remodeled.


To the left, just a few months after construction ended. We started learning to work with the land in small spaces.



And below, how the same garden looked some 18 months later.


The tallest banana tree is the 'grandchild' of the first one we had - so it's the 3rd generation and the 2 small banana trees in front are a dwarf variety of just around 6 months. (Since this photo was posted, both of these have given fruit and the next generation is now growing.) We have full ground cover, herbs, medicinal plants, vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants.  This garden is one of the founders first designs and it demonstrates what can be achieved.

See more in the The Location page



The Vision > HOW

We are committed to using the best wisdom we have to date to co-create a sustainable & healthy Eco Community.

We will be using the Integral Permaculture Designers Manual as a theoretical base.

We know this is a huge & difficult adventure of learning how to live productively & in harmony with each other, with the land, with the local cultures & with all other species.


We aim to form one of the thousands of important post-industrial settlements that are needed in order to Transition to a truly sustainable, just & humane economy, culture & future.


We are supported by people who have "been there and done that" - and we've been observing and researching ecovillage, community-building, permaculture, human development, and many related topics for over 15 years.


Joining with other entrepreneurial visionaries (Is this you?), creativity will blossom, momentum will grow, and we'll be unstoppable.



See more in The Vision page


The People > WHO


Is this for you? The People-Care aspect of this initiative is unique. We need to learn new ways (or rescue some really old ways) of living and working together sustainably and respectfully. And, we're interested in hearing from people who are really excited about this -- even more than they are about the tropical location. That's why it's a requirement that prospective members have taken at least this first module of the Integral Permaculture course and be committed to studying and learning about Integral Permaculture through the Integral Permaculture Academy.

Who are we?  Who's behind all of this?  Fair question.  My name is Rebecca Reiber, I'm the founder of Astoria Guest House and the 8th Life Panama Initiative.  Here's a couple of pictures.  The group photo is from 2005 when I first came to Panama to work with the Municipality of Pinogana in Darien. We designed a 5-year strategic plan with tons of participation from the community. This photo is from one of the community meetings.

A bit about me: I
worked in 'corporate America' doing international sales for 12 years, quit to run my own consulting firm for 5 years, then came to Panama to combine the international aspect with my consulting.  I've been in Panama since that first consulting job brought me here in 2005 (picture to left). I transitioned into community development and began working on ideas for sustainable living.  Then I got a MA in sustainable community development and have been working towards kicking-off this Eco Community design for around a decade.

I currently hold a consulting job, run the guest house and am spearheading this initiative. 
Thankfully, I am supported by an advisory council here in Panama, consisting of local people who I've known and worked with for years on a number of different projects.

Arlene - local and INGO experience, grants, translation,
Ronald - land, permits, reforestation, & related authorities
Jaime - education, accreditation project, & related authorities
Jorge - draftsman, access road & stream-crossing (bridge/culvert) design
Olinda - back-office support & administration, project design


In addition, we are supported by the founders of the 8thLife EcoVillage Project in the Canary Islands:

Stefania Strega-Scoz
An experienced community eco-innovator who was running award-winning early Transition Initiatives in London in the mid-90s. - see Green Adventure for examples of past work.  Stella is a community activist since her teens (starting with anti-poverty work, then feminism & environmental work), Coordinator of the 8th Life Project in the Canaries & currently recruiting the development team, as well as working in the first ever online-supported range of Integral Permaculture action-learning programswhich includes the creation of an ambitious e-Book.





Jose Lorenzo Zamora


Born in Cuba in 1992, he lived there long enough to be deeply influenced by the rural extended family environment, before being taken at age 6 to live in the middle of a typical big city in Tenerife, as his family returned to their Canarian origins. There he
assiduously studied all he could about natural systems in order "to try to keep sane"

At 19 he became the youngest investor & founder member of the 8thLife Ecovillage project where he is now the 'resident health guru' and IT/systems expert, among other things.








See this page for more information on us and read the The Reasons and The Opportunity pages to see if this might be a fit for you.
 

The Question> WHEN


We're here NOW. The transition is happening NOW all around the world. So, the real question is:  Are you ready? And if the answer is 'not yet' then what are you doing to get ready? 

We receive casual visitors at Astoria Guest House
& are slowly transitioning from a traditional short-stay guest house to a shared living and work space.  We will be holding combined online and in-person Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) courses.  We will be hosting volunteers to support the design. We welcome anyone who wants to share this exciting and challenging adventure of transitioning towards a life more coherent with our values. The WHEN is up to you!

This is a photo of Astoria Guest House - come visit and learn more about the initiative while you get to know Panama and figure out if this is going to work for you.


See more in the Visiting Us
and Joining Us sections.





SOME THOUGHTS

"There is one, and only one, solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We  must turn all our resources 
to repairing the natural world, and train all our  young people to help. 

They want to. 

We need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities,
stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience" 

"...the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even  if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is  enough for everyone. "

- Bill Mollison


We are creating an EcoVillage in solidarity with citizen's movements all over the world that are becoming more conscious of the predatory nature of the system that most of us 'civilized' humans now live in.  

It is up to us to change it.



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