Andre Proetel: What we are doing here is nothing else but living. We live here. For us, living means that we are simply here. We should be here as people, we live together with our plants and our land, we pay attention to our land, we grow the fruits ourselves and can move freely under the sweet sun, and we also get the energy back for ourselves, that which the land gives us. Do you have anything add?
Babette Proetel: That was exactly right, 100 percent.
Andre: We live here, and every day we enjoy that the earth is a place we’re allowed to be people.
Kemble Walker: Good that seems very good to me.
Andre: Everyone should understand that.
Babette: To have happy children.
Andre: To be happy people.
Kemble: Real people.
Babette: And healthy food.
Andre: For that we need healthy soil
Kemble: Healthy soil
Babette: Healthy water
Kemble: Healthy people
Andre: Healthy air … Three years ago, we got some books to read that we’d already heard of. The book series of Vladimir Megre from Russia, called “Anastasia”. We knew about them from friends.
Kemble: We also know them!
Andre: Oh, you also know them! Wonderful! We read them three years ago, and then we finally found the solution we were looking for. We already lived on a family homestead, but we noticed we were missing something, because the neighbors weren’t ours. How could we live happily? How could we go outside and see happy people everywhere? And it’s in the books, it’s right there: found a settlement! And then it goes well. So, good. Then we’ll do that.
Kemble: We would like to do the same thing exactly in Australia. Were here in Germany, so this is a good…
Andre: All over the world.
Kemble: This is a good united idea for the earth, the people of the Earth.
Andre: We’ve been planning for three years to make it happen. A very important point was the community building, for people to find themselves, to go through this process. We’re now quite far with the planning. We also have two institutes, universities, which are looking to accompany us. We are now talking with people and organizations who have a lot of land in Uckermark, and also talking with the mayor and people in the area who want to be active. That is the next process, coming up shortly.
And when we get the green light (as we say in Germany), when they say, “OK, we’d like you to do that here”, then we’ll move forward. And in autumn this year, perhaps the first piece of land will have been marked out, where a settlement will grow.
Kemble: Wow, great.
Andre: That would be really nice, but it’s still ripening up. If it ripens up a bit later, next year, that’s also OK. We want to share it. We want to found a settlement with others who can also live like this, to show what it means to have a hectare of land, to live on a family homestead, to be responsible and look after oneself, to share with each other the culture of being people with one another. To live, to demonstrate, very much with one another.
We live here in a village with neighbors, but these are people with whom we don’t really get along. They are… we are somewhere different. We know many people in Germany – that’s also why we founded the academy – who want to live exactly like this, who want to join us. So, we decided to found a settlement in Uckermark, in the Brandenburg region of Germany, to show people how we can go different way, to stop the ruinous exploitation of the Earth, to stop poisoning the planet, stop destroying it, destroying our very living space, that which should sustain us. To reverse all of that.
Kemble: Fantastic, thank you so much for the stay here, it was really amazing for us, enjoyable and educational. Is there anything else you’d like to say? Otherwise, that’s really good, thanks very much.
Andre: Thanks also to you for having brought something of Australia. We wish you a great lot lovely people who would like to follow a similar process with you, to also spread the vision of Anastasia, so that you can live it. And simply so that many corners of the world will be healthy. Then sometimes we’ll have a totally healthy world, with a great many paradise gardens. Just as it once was, only with lots of people now in it. A whole lot of joy there with you, a whole lot of strength.
Kemble: Love, joy.
Andre: You’re lucky. Glück hat der tüchtige! [“the efficient one is lucky”] Lots of strength, lots of joy to you. Lots of love.
Kemble: I think it will be, we will have it.
Andre: For us [the inspiration] was to actually choose what we do. We used to do it another way: We had to go to school, go quickly into a job. I learnt many jobs. But that didn’t provide much peace. I wasn’t, I wished… There must be something else in life besides going on one path, different to what I actually want, then coming up against boundaries! There was an inner disquiet in me, always, for a long time.
My desire to garden started early. I used to always have a garden. I had my first little garden when I was twenty. It was easy to be outside, in nature. Then, eight years ago, we had our first on, Maurice, who is over there. We went to live on some land, not this place here where we are now. It was very lonely for us in nature. There we saw what nature makes of us, we united with the elements. That’s inspiration enough, to just keep going, to endure.
And the inspiration was also to give more. The experiences we’ve had here, we would like to share with others, and also for our children, to leave a better world for them, to be pioneers in a certain way. I don’t say “zukunft” [future] because that means it is closed [“zu”]. We make thing open [“auf”]. So we say “kunftig”, things to come, the things that we’d like to do. So we make that.
Kemble: Thanks so much.
Andre: Yep, thank you for the interview.
Erratum: In the video, one subtitle should read “for our children” and not “our four children”.
In April 2017, we visited the lovely Academy of Family Homesteads and Settlements in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
We are very grateful to Andre, Babette and their three wonderful boys for the days we spent in reflection, observation and discussion about the family homestead movement in Germany and all around the world.
An image of life is appearing that can be easily understood by anyone, inspired by love for the future generations. With the natural goodness of healthy soil, plants, air and water, we simply want everyone to be happy!
We wish Andre and the others the very best of good fortune, good management and good strength in their project to found a settlement of family homesteads in Uckermark. We admire their perseverance and dedication, and take confidence in the knowledge that there shall be Good on the Earth!
What we imagine truly does appear in real life. The better our dream, the faster and simpler shall it be.