who we are
LILI was founded in 2001 by two members of Redfield Community. The community itself was founded in 1978, and in 2001 had solar hot water, compost loos, straw-bale buildings, organic gardens, orchards, soft fruit, bees, sheep, chickens, natural paints, lime, wood stoves, and one member was experimenting with making biodiesel from waste cooking oil.
Most importantly, the land was owned co-operatively, and decisions were made by consensus (both of which are still the case - and because of the founding documents, are unlikely to change).
For us, there seemed nothing unusual in any of this. It seemed infinitely preferable to consumerism, competition, and lives lived far removed from nature and other people.
We wondered if anyone else might be interested in learning about natural building, renewable energy and local food production. We formed a not-for-profit organisation, came up with a name, and started running some courses in 2001: biodiesel, permaculture, solar hot water, straw-bale building, natural paints & lime and compost toilets.
Well, yes they were interested. Our course programme has grown every year since, and we've added books, including our own publications, free factsheets, magazines, a huge links database, forum, 'ask the expert' products, services and online courses on over 170 topics. In 2007 we took over the day-to-day running of WWOOF UK, matching up organic farms and smallholdings with volunteers.
We're still based in the stable block of Redfield Community, and have 9 part-time staff. We're now in the process of becoming a network of trusted organisations to provide information, training, products and services in our range of topics.
The next big projects are: providing step-by-step guides for as many of our topics as possible; setting up photo galleries for all of our topics; and helping start (free) franchises in other countries - plus trying to reach as many people as possible with our ideas by growing the network, social media, our blog, events, articles, talks and presentations.
After that, we'd also like to focus on campaigning to allow people to build eco-homes on their smallholdings and for a steady-state rather than a growth economy; and networking to come up with ideas for better ways of choosing our political representatives, through face-to-face contact.
We hope you like what we stand for.
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