A family of Finno-Swedes make Narara their home

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Recently joined Ecovillage members, Hanna and Peter Lofgren and their four children, are excited to be embarking on a new adventure in sustainable, community living.

The Lofgrens come from a minority called Finno-Swedes who have Swedish as their first language, so they are tri-lingual and are dual citizens of Australia and Finland.

Peter studied history and film in Copenhagen and Stockholm, but has worked in design, brand definition and ‘wicked problem’ solving. Hanna has a background in communication and change management, plus event organising, and looks forward to putting these skills to use in helping the village to evolve.

They envisage Narara Ecovillage being their family home and community for many years to come. They look forward to the potential for community connection in the ecovillage, but also value the fact that individual homes and house lots allows for family privacy. Peter says:

“Coming from Finland, I typically value my privacy quite highly and have a need for some alone time as well.”

A large part of Hanna and Peter’s reasons for choosing the Ecovillage is because of their children. They see Narara Ecovillage as an opportunity to raise their kids “free-range”, in an environment that is in harmony with the core values of their family unit. 

They feel strongly about them being able to experience personal freedom in terms of playing outside, having a direct connection with the natural world around them and learning real tangible skills. 

They also love the idea of the kids being surrounded by other adults who are thinkers and doers, and can thus demonstrate meaningful examples of how to leave a positive mark in the world. Hanna explains: 

“I believe that becoming a part of a true community where members matter to each other, will be highly beneficial for the kids’ mental and emotional wellbeing. “Be the change you want to see” describes my motives fairly accurately. As a mother of 4, my reasons for any life decisions begin and end with my children.”

Peter is thinking about how their children’s values will be nurtured by this environment. He wants his family to be part of a community that has a more sustainable, ecological and less materialistic worldview and purposefully contribute to leaving a better place behind for upcoming generations. He feels it’s important that environmental questions are discussed and actively addressed. 

The kids who range in ages from 1.5 to 15 are also enthusiastic about this new step. 

“I’m looking forward to taking care of the chicks and gardening. I love the forest walks and the playground. I like the mulberries, blackberries and other wild treats,” 

says Frida, age 8, who also loves trapeze, aerial silks, swimming and Minecraft. While Ava, at age 15 is thinking about how the community will be a base for developing her own friendship network.

“A must-have for me is that I will not be living in a gated community, but the village is open to visitors such as my friends,” 

says Ava. 

Mimi at age 10 loves the freedom to climb trees, especially the mulberry tree, and loves exploring in the surrounding forest with her family. She loves playing Oztag footy, art, culture, history and cooking.

And Birk, their youngest, age 1.5, loves the sandpit in the kids adventure bush playground, and is especially intrigued with the digger and all the big building equipment and concrete trucks that are working around the village.

Hanna and Peter also look forward to developing some personal passions of their own at the village. Hanna loves the opportunity to learn new skills as a member of the community, and also says that she sees joining the Ecovillage as an opportunity for personal growth.

However, she declares that her true passion is food!

“I will be more than happy to feed people whenever I can and participate in whatever food related projects there are to be executed. With 4 kids I believe I will also be able to contribute to family-oriented events.”

Peter also enjoys cooking and entertaining experiences. He likes people to come together and feel welcome and appreciated with some good wine and great conversation.

Another area Peter looks forward to expanding is in growing things and building things with his hands. He remembers that he did more of this as a child and has realised that he would very much like to have that back in his life. He looks forward to many of these practical skills being more accessible to him in the village.

“We have been looking for an opportunity to embark on a permaculture journey for a while now. It makes a lot of sense to us to strive to become more self-sustainable. Being able to grow at least some of our food is a must-have to us. Being able to live in a safe, non-toxic and sustainable home is another long-time dream and a very important factor.”

With four kids who are super excited to get new long-standing friends, Peter and Hanna can’t wait for the next steps of designing, building and moving to the Ecovillage.