Katajamäki (Juniper Hill) is a small eco-community and a gathering place attempting to maintain a sound balance between domestic life and cultural activities.
It is envisioned to become a small forest garden village using local material in construction. There is not any common doctrine, but we are interested in low cost life style and creative revival of traditions. The premises were leased to the community in 1993 and ultimately we purchased them in 1998. Katajamäki is centrally located in southern Finland, about 100 km north of Tampere and about 300 km north of Helsinki.
The place has a history which is a source of inspiration to us: in the early 20th century, Katajamäki was part of a mental sanatorium applying alternative therapies (Elämänmäki, Hill of Life, widely known in Europe).
While we are about 10 persons living at Katajamäki in this winter of 2001-02, our numbers will double in the summer, as usual. The animal stock includes poultry, dogs and bees. Our community is located on the outskirts of a protected old growth forest area of the Hill of Life and the Lake of Life which still have clean water. The wild life fauna is extensive: raven, loon, eagle owl, fox, bear, elk, etc.
We grow a part of our vegetables and most of our herbs in greenhouse as well as free. The forest yields herbs, mushrooms and berries etc. in abundance and the lake, plenty of fish. We try to acquire rest of the food from local farmers by trade or exchange.
Our courses and cultural activities deal with healing-sauna, use of natural products, artisanship (e.g. drum making, felting, mending), group processes, and environmental activity.
Annually in August/September we organize a cultural festival POHJAN PIDOT (Northern Feast) together with various friendship groups, e.g. the Nordic Ting family and the Project of Connection to the Earth (in Friends of the Earth/Finland).
The fortnight period preceding Pohjan Pidot is earmarked for voluntary work and workshops, culminating in the festivity proper at the last weekend. The sense of Pohjan Pidot lies in gathering people who share the feeling, each in his/her own way, of being a builder of the roots of sustainable culture, to meet and enjoy, and for mutual praise.