• articles20121012

last modified January 16, 2015 by xaba

Sustainable Rainbow Gatherings
- Some Suggestions
12.10.2012 - by xaba [at] riseup [dot] net

Greetings Brothers and Sisters.

I believe this article is useful for Rainbow Gathering focalizers! Good reading.

I am xaba from Brazil and I was one of the hosts (focalizers) of the last World Rainbow Gathering Brazil 2012 occurred in the region of Caparaó, located in the state of Espírito Santo. For reasons of organization, I built a simple website (wiki) that is still available in


A Gathering is a temporary moment in the time and space. The people come from all directions to the Gathering and after they gradually leave, never returning to the Gathering land in most cases. So, the question is: What remains in the land after the Gathering finish for the local people?

To realize a Gathering it is necessary a bunch of energy: travelling, scouting, trading, building, cooking, cleaning, etc to gather a lot of wonderful people. So, the other question is: What not use all this potential, this opportunity, to materialize wonderful projects and/or stuffs locally?

Thinking globally but with a local focus, I have some simple suggestions for (more) sustainable Rainbow Gatherings:

[Social / Economic] Small Solutions and Local Trading - Strengthen the Local Economy Valuing Local Products and Building a Local Conscious Consumption Network

I will describe a practical case. One month before the Seed Camp of the World Rainbow Gathering Brazil 2012, I started to map the local farmers and traders to build a database of local food, products and stuffs to supply the Gathering.

The idea was to use the local supplies and solutions (why to consume rice produced so far way if we have a bunch of local potatoes?), rather preferring to trade directly with the small producers and family farms, avoiding the purchase of food and materials in large shopping/market centers.

I started asking the local closer friends and after, the friends of the friends, the farmers and finally everyone I was meeting in the way. Little by little the informations started to rise exponentially and in one moment I knew the products and local producers more than must people of the region.

I identify that the biggest problem in the region it is logistics: communication and transportation. So, to resolve it, I booked meetings with the mayors of the neighbouring municipalities/districts to ask for support in the same time I was explaining the benefits that the Gathering (a ecological alternative meeting of people from a lot of countries) would be bringing to the region: money, tourism, knowledge, etc. So, we received some support and transport to visit the local farmers and to trade directly with them, in other words, we was visiting each farm and producer three time by week on average - we stablish a fixed day in the week to gather the products from each municipality/district. You can see a video of this process here. Thank you so much to Jeronimo (Harald Schertler) from Austria by the video making.

After two months of work and a few weeks before to start the Gathering, I wrote a project, or even, a manual of how we could manage the process of food purchasing and supplies to the Gathering to share between the other supply focalizers, optimizing the self-management and autonomy of the supply team. Follow some topics of the project:


  • Optimize and streamline the flow of food production in the region (average of 20 km around the Gathering and a maximum of 100 km);
  • Valuing family farming, local/regional products and integral/organic food;
  • Strengthen the relationship between the producers and the consumers of the region;
  • Stimulate consumption and production of food (fruits, vegetables, etc) in the region;
  • Encourage the exchange of experiences and mutual cooperation between the producers of the region;
  • Establish a Network of Solidarity Economy in the region;
  • Identify the network nodes and connect them to demonstrate the benefits of the network.
  • Mapping the producers and distributors of food in the region, taking notes of the informations of each producer/node: Name, Location, Products and Contacts;
  • Establish a network between the closer villages initially and expand it little by little, by municipalities/districts that are part of the region;
  • Establish partnerships and connect farmers associations, cooperatives, local public institutes of agricultural technology, governmental departments of agriculture (identify an effective employee by department), NGOs and other local independent and autonomous institutes or organized groups of the region.
You can download the PDF manual here - sorry, only in portuguese, but you can take a look at the design for inspiration. ;)

Therewith, we had no problems with the Gathering supply. The quality of the food was very good. Thus, practically 90% of products consumed by the meeting were from small local producers.

After the Clean Camp, I organized a meeting in Patrimônio da Penha, a closer village, to present the project to implement a Solidarity Economy network from the database containing information of local producers that have supplied the Gathering. The meeting was attended by local residents and visitors interested in deploying the network, technical representatives from the government departments of agriculture and Incaper (development agency of state government) from the local municipalities/districts. You can read more about it here.

Finally, I built another simple website (wiki) to share the database informations in


The supply team was essentially me, Maíra Cotrim (Magic Hat focalizer) and Reinaldo Caparaó (Local focalizer). We were successful! Thank you so much!

I love you!

[Ecological] Grounded Compost-Dry Toilets - A Simple and Efficient Solution for the Next Gatherings

In the World Rainbow Gathering Brazil 2012 we decided don't use the conventional ditches and cheat-pits by geological reasons, that is, the water table of the Gathering land is very close to the surface and the land is located at the beginning of a watershed (upstream point), where the water passing through the land is consumed for hundreds of towns and thousands of people over more than 200 km to reach the sea.

How we were unable to buy a lot of plastic barrels
to build conventional compost toilets, we decided to use grounded compost toilets using local abundant materials: clay and taquara (flexible bamboo).

How to do a Grounded Compost-Dry Toilet?
  1. Dig a hole about 1 meter in diameter by 1/2 meter deep;
  2. With the earth that was taken, make clay;
  3. Build a bamboo basket size hole dug. It is not necessary to build a perfect basket. Just make a frame / structure to support / hold the clay;
  4. Put the basket inside the hole and cover with clay;
  5. Make a camp-fire in the hole. The clay will dry and the structure becomes similar to a plant pot waterproof. If there are cracks in the clay, cover it with more clay and make the camp-fire inside the hole again: this is important to hold the leachate / slurry (wastes from the composition of shit);
  6. Place two wooden boards over the hole so that people can stay on the hole;
  7. Cover the hole with some canvas or some roof composed of banana leaves or coconut.
When the toilet is full, cover it and isolate it with some sign. In two weeks, more or less, the compost inside will decrease lower. So, we can open the toilet again (remove the isolate sign) because it will have a little more space for a little more shit.

When the Gathering finish, we dismantle the whole structure that is on the surface and we identify the hole containing all organic matter in decomposition with a small flag to indicate its location. With that, a few months after, the guardians of the land may use the organic matter has decomposed to fertilize other spaces.

This may seem like a lot of work, but I say to you that is not. With 4 people we were able to do a Grounded Compost-Dry Toilet by day without stress - we were singing and dancing naked amid a "war" of clay. This 4 people don't need be fixed and it is very important to rotate the team: one toilet focalizer, from the last team, can orientated a new team a lot of new times.

The suggestion and the construction plan of Grounded Compost-Dry Toilets was brought by Waguin Caparaó. Thank you so much for the contributions!

You are a Rainbow Warrior/Amazon, this is a peace of cake to you. ;)

[Ecological / Economic] Recycling Wastes - Taking advantage of Uncomfortable Situations

In the "Llamado Manos en la Tierra" (Hands on Earth Call), a alternative Gathering that happens in Argentina on 2007, I saw a good experience.

They reserved a place in the Gathering to store all the wastes, separating the materials by type: glass, wood, plastic, metal, etc during the Gathering. Naturally, we use to have also a big compost for the organic wasting.

During the Cleaning Camp, we have done some workshops about recycling and we produced a lot of craft from the wastes. In the end of the World Rainbow Gathering Brazil 2012 we had a lot of materials that was donated for the local people.

After the Cleaning Camp, if the wasting is well separated, it can be sold for some cooperative of waste pickers or some recycling industry, returning some money for the Magic Hat that it will be used in the next Gathering. In the last case, the cooperative or the industry can pick up all the trash free, with out transportation costs for the Gathering.

Remembering how the priority is to reduce the waste since the beginning, this solution is for the cases where one form or another exist residues. It would be no sense produce more waste to make more money recycling.

[Social / Worldview] Active Welcome Home (Reception) - The Turning Point Full of Opportunities

A harmonic Gathering depends of a great Welcome Home (reception) and a great reception must be well done since the the beginning of the beginning, because it is much more easy to aware someone before it enters in the Gathering that to change it after its entry into the Gathering.

Do anything to maintain the reception active! Promote music, dancing, make sure that the reception has the best food of the Gathering - and perhaps lots of food, etc. So, create a big stimulus for someone to want to be there, because the reception is one of the most important place of the Gathering. Why?

The reception is the turning point, where we calmed down and we lower our mental frequency, where we start to fell more, where we learn new worldviews. So if the people who are coming to the Gathering, where in most cases 50% of people are coming to a Gathering for the first time, are not aware of basic agreements of coexistence and they are with multiple mental processes super accelerated, the possibility of disharmony may arise, because most conflicts arising from mental processes.

Where is it the sustainability of? At all.

In the reception we receive the local people, newcomers and everyone more very kindly and lovely. We explain why we use compost toilets, why we consume only vegan food and organic food as possible, why we buy the supplies from the local farmers, why we recycle the wastes, why we do a organic compost, why, why and why... in other words, more than just mental explanations about the dynamics of the Gathering, we introduce new values, new feelings, a new worldview and this is totally about sustainability and the reconnection with the nature and the natural lifestyle.

Again, a harmonic Gathering depends a great reception. Welcome Home!

[Social / Worldview] Mutual Learning With the Local People - Presentations, Workshops and Interactions in the Closer Village

This may seem obvious for some people, but never quite enough to talk about it again.

It is very common a group of people of the Gathering go to the closer village to do some presentation, workshop and interacting with the local people. This is a very nice moment, when the intention is exchange experiences.

Interaction with the local people it is a gold key. The local people have much more wisdom than you can imagine. Your tricks and artistic performances may seem cool, but I really would be interested to hear some stories of local elders. First of all, listen them, understand their needs, teach some little and simple techniques and they will resolve their needs automatically.

So, we can offer some workshops, practices and knowledges in the closer village and, in the same way, we can learn a deep wisdom from them.

In the most situation they are much more intuitive, connected, that mental/thinking. So, they don't think who are you, they feel and observe your actions. If you have good intentions, everything is possible in the best way.

Thank you so much. All the best to you!

Peace, Love, Light.
Hugs and Cheers.

xaba ॐ