Project leader: Cathrine Dolleris
Address: Kattekærstrædet 8, Orø, 4300 Holbæk
Phone: +45 20411586
Area: 1000 m2
LAND-center accreditation: 26th of October 2015
Themes: Organic construction, retrofitting and environmental improvement of buildings, water and wastewater, climate adaption, culture and education, economy and exchange systems, health and well-being, garden, forest garden, untouched areas, nature care and biodiversity, self-sufficiency, waste minimization.
Educational activities: Courses, workshops and guided tours for visitors and volunteers. Hands-on learning for volunteers.
Visitors: Courses (up to 16 people). Guided tours are given in the garden and the house.
Facilities for visitors: There is room for 8 people staying over-night indoor and for even more people outdoor in tent. The volunteers live in the upstairs rooms or in a caravan. Compost- and regular toilet. Shared kitchen and bath. There are two bicycles and within walking distance you find a supermarket, a tavern and the beach.
Kattekærhus is situated in a village on the island of Orø in the fjord Isefjorden. The idea is to have a learning space for volunteers and course participants, who would like to gain more hands-on experience with both construction and self-sufficiency. In the summer, it is buzzing with life and activity and there are volunteers from all over the wold. There is a great exchange of experiences, skills and culture.
Kattekærhus is an old timbered house from 1870, which has been restored and retrofittet into having a bigger circulation of energy, water and nutrients. There is a big emphasis on re-using materials and working with organic construction and traditional methods.
The garden is designed with forest garden, annual cultivation, wilderness, social spaces (grass and bonfire) and work areas. The goal is having around 50% of self-sufficiency of greens and vegetables from the garden and surrounding areas.
There is an old stable, which is used as workshop and storage of material.
A collaboration with the neighboring museum Hestebedgård (which shows the local conditions of life 100 years ago) has resulted in a forest garden. Here, you find fruit trees, various crops and rooms, which can be used for bigger events. We also work for increasing the recycling of materials on Orø and to make Orø poison-free. Hiking tracks along the coast give great possibility for exploring the Danish flora and fauna in a beautiful environment.
Ethics and design
Earth care, people care and fair share permeate all activities and designs for Kattekærhus. I work for building up carbon in the soil and to increase the biodiversity among other through the forest garden. Recycling, “up-cycling” and “repurposing” are key-words in order to reduce consumption.
I work with solutions such as solar energy and recirculation of water and nutrients.
The designs show a broader context than Kattekærhus but are also guiding in elation to how I work here.
All designs can be found on geoliv.dk
Principles and methods
All principles are relevant for Kattekærhus. What is focused mostly on now is to work with nature, e.g. in relation to the forest garden.
Recycling and use of organic materials is central to restoring and retrofitting the house. Sharing of knowledge, resources and possibilities is central to working with volunteers. Focus is on enabling people to try out the methods that are classic inside permaculture.
I work a lot with fermentation, for example sauerkrau, kombucha, kefir, sourdough bread and cider as well as pickling and other types of food conservation.
There is an emphasis on “edimentals” – edible flowers – as elements in the garden design. Also, you find hügel beds, little biotopes for insects, wilderness, potato experiments and much more.
Regeneration of natural resources
Soil: Build-up of carbon in the soil is included, especially in the forest garden. Here, I use cardboard and seaweed from the local beach as ground cover.
Water: The compost toilet helps saving water. Other than that, rainwater is collected in tanks and a new system will be installed for collecting grey water from the scullery.
Air: Emphasis is placed on air quality in connection with the flex oven and by working with nature in the forest garden.
Energy: Flex oven has been installed instead of electricity for heating. Isolation of the house is done with natural materials. Clay has been used for the walls in order to equalize temperature differences and humidity. There is a seasonal variation in the use of the rooms. Plans are made to construct a green house on the one gable in order to harvest a bigger share of passive solar heating as well as solar heated water.
Volunteers are welcome especially in the summer season. I am signed up on Work Away, which convey contact between hosts and travelers from all over the world. Volunteers get both permacultural experience, cultural exchange and lovely island nature.
Course participants learn about permaculture on courses and workshops. Until now, the primary sources of regeneration of knowledge are “Introduction to permaculture”, “Forest gardening course” and “Seed collection course”. It is possible for local permaculturists to participate and share their knowledge as well as for outside teachers to give their input.
On the island, there is collaboration between local residents and the municipality on a community forest garden, recycling, nature tourism and industrial development in relation to course activities.