UNDP supports ecovillages that have become a new home for people fleeing the war

Development of the agricultural potential in ecovillages also helps to strengthen the communities’ food security while work on the ground contributes to psychological rehabilitation.

Posted July 30, 2022
Photo courtesy farmhouse “Zelenyi Hai”, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Ukraine has bought three walk-behind tractors with attachments for three ecovillages in three Ukrainian oblasts — for a creamery and carbon farmhouse “Zelenyi Hai” in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, ecovillage and permaculture center “Zeleni Kruchi” in Kyiv Oblast, and the Bilous’ family household farm in Khmelnytskyi Oblast.

Before the war, these farms and households used to grow vegetables and flowers, breed domestic animals, and conduct workshops on permaculture design and eco-technologies. However, with the outbreak of the full-scale invasion, the founders have quickly adapted to meet the urgent needs and organized shelters for people and animals fleeing from hostilities.

“This is how the ‘Green Road’ came into existence,” says Anastasia Volkova, Green Ecovillage Road coordinator. “In the beginning, people would stay at our place for a night, then they stayed for longer, and some decided to settle down here. Since the start of the war, we have hosted over 2,000 people.”

The Bilous’ family household has also responded promptly to the new challenges: they increased the number of seeds for planting and sent seedlings to the deoccupied areas in Kyiv Oblast. The walk-behind tractors provided by UNDP will help in cultivating land and growing more vegetables. Next year, this will allow getting better seeds for those willing to grow their food on their own.

“People were very happy to get the seedlings. They really missed this. They had been provided with food and some essentials but work on land is truly therapeutic,” says Ivanna Bilous, permaculture designer.

“We treat the ground manually with hoes, so the walk-behind tractor we’ve got will ease our work,” she adds.

From the very first days of the war, the “Zelenyi Hai” farmhouse began hosting animals whose owners were unable to look after their households. So far, they have given shelter to over 150 horses, cows, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, and even crocodiles.

“With the new equipment, we will harvest fodder for all the animals (more than 750) and grow food for permanent and temporary residents of the farms,” says Yevhenia Molchanova, the farm and creamery founder in Dnipropetrovsk oblast. “Moreover, during this time our dairy products have been delivered to the Dnipropetrovsk volunteer center for mothers with small children and the local hospital.”

Learn also about other UNDP initiatives aimed at protecting food security to support Ukrainian communities during war time.