Kerkakutas, Hungary

Building a Rural Innovation HUB

Forming of an eco-community

You have always been interested to try out alternative lifestryles? Are you tired of the grey and fast-paced city life? We were no different, so we packed our widely travelled backpacks with similar feelings to take part in this exciting event.

Let us introduce you to an exciting new initiative: the establishment of a Rural Innovation HUB in Kerkakutas, Hungary, aimed at creating a thriving eco-community. Guided by the collective vision of nine dedicated individuals, we were honored to be invited to help in laying the foundations of this inspiring project. 

Nestled in a quintessential small Hungarian village, this place offers a sanctuary for those passing through. It is surrounded by golden fields, the midday chime of church bells, storks clattering, and the tireless chirping of birds. Visitors seeking to escape the daily grind can find solace here, and the location also hosts various camps and workshops. Our lovely team, diverse in background and nationality, came together seamlessly, creating a wholesome and collaborative atmosphere from the start. 

Over the course of three weeks, we worked hard, laughed hard and enjoyed hearty meals, all while immersing ourselves in a sustainable lifestyle in rural Hungary. Through our efforts, we embraced traditional practices and advanced the development of the area according to permaculture principles. It never ceases to amaze how much progress a group of enthusiastic people can accomplish if they put their hearts into their work!

What we see

Tangiable Results

Our time there yielded inspiring and tangible results by developing the garden according to permaculture principles. Fueled by passion and teamwork in manual labor, we breathed life into the elements of the pre-planned permaculture ecosystem.

We used reclaimed bricks from a wobbly wall for constructing a beautiful herb spiral placed in Zone 01. A garden pond emerged with locally sourced clay and reused concrete pipes, soon giving home to a big fat frog. A charming garden path took shape with reclaimed bricks and gravel, leading to the vegetable beds we created after some soil-remediation techniques to support a self-sustaining diet.

We also renovated the summer kitchen using refurbished wooden pallets that were polished, flexed, and glazed. From the same material and same process, rustic tables were crafted that we later used for dinners, crafts and games. A teepee-like outdoor shower was installed, warming the water using solar power. Using pallets, we built a cozy bench to put around the campfire. 

The hay attic or straw loft was cleaned and the barn was reorganized to provide a comfortable indoor community space. Eventually we could barely recognize each other, as the decades-old straw dust from the loft turned our most enthusiastic members dark brown, making them indistinguishable from coal miners.

Our efforts not only transformed the space impressively, but also fostered a sense of community and shared purpose.

What we feel

Emotional Results

The rural innovation HUB in Kerkakutas village, near the borders of Hungary, is situated at the intersection of three regions: Göcsej, Őrség, and the Lenti Plains. It is here that a group gathered from various parts of Europe.

Even this relatively short community living experience had incredible results for all our hearts and mental health. The deep sense of community, belonging, immersion in Nature, and endless play tickled and embraced our beings in a golden ratio.

The level of kindness, acceptance, and warm welcome from everyone brought out the best in us all, filling our souls with overflowing gratitude. We all felt at home immediately (after some “mandatory” welcome-pálinka), and the local organizers involved us in everyday life while working alongside us.

Our days were framed by thoughtful facilitation: we began each morning with an opening circle to check in on everyone’s mood and needs, and we ended the day with a closing circle where we reflected honestly on the day’s events. Community-building exercises, such as mindfulness activities and Non-Violent Communication practices, fostered a more conscious yet organic dynamic between the group.

Despite living together with others, in a rather nomadic style, speaking in English every day, and opening up to others was unusual, it broadened our horizons and painted the world in different colors. Don’t be intimidated if this all sounds unfamiliar to you, as for many participants coming from diverse backgrounds, this was the first time experiencing such living conditions. For others, the challenge was adapting to the slow pace of countryside life after the fast-paced urban lifestyle, but it proved to be all the more rewarding.

Let’s slow down…

Countyside Lifestyle

In our newly renovated summer kitchen and over the crackling campfire, we prepared a variety of delicious dishes together. Both Hungarian and international participants brought their traditional cuisines, enriching the international experience. Among these were soft, cinnamon-scented chimney cakes, cheese scones, crispy beet-carrot bread, refreshing elderflower and acacia syrup, Italian pizza, French crepes, and traditional Hungarian dishes like smoky-spicey potato paprikásh cooked in a cauldron.

Being immersed in Nature was transformative too. We spent our days and nights outside, waking to the calls of birds like the cuckoo and the thrush, enjoying morning coffee by a lake whilst watching frogs and bunnies hop around, observing a friendly stork wandering through a nearby field, and during evening sunset-strolls we often saw deer as well. The lush greenery had a calming and relaxing effect on us. And last but not least, we got so lucky, that on a clear, dark night, we caught the magenta-shimmer of Aurora Borealis accompanied by a shower of shooting stars. The setting felt like a scene from a fairytale.

In our free time, it was refreshing to play and feel like kids again. After some serious volleyball tournament, we relaxed with guitar jam sessions, decorated each other with henna body-art from head to toe, group games that triggered unstoppable laughter, sang by the fire, and learnt new folk dances from various countries. 

By the end of our stay, emotions were running high for everyone. This led to a grotesque mix of laughing-fits and tear-parties, all rooted in deep gratitude. Endless thanks to the ones who cooked up the idea of this event and to the entire team for this unforgettable permaculture community experience.




There will be more opportunities to help develop this new Rural Innovation HUB in Kerkakutas, such as camps and trainings. Keep an eye out for Rural Blitz events and chances to connect. Trust us, it’s worth it!