written by Arne Bollinger on July 25, 2014, midnight

PAN Review

I heard a lot about PAN. I met Emanuel, who grew up in the community in Schloss Tempelhof about a year ago. He told amazing things about his community and i was very curious if he is just lacking comparison to other communities or if it is really that amazing. Well, my expectations were exceeded. It is truly incredible what they built there in the high forrest of Austria. Apparently they had a good hand and timing with business too, so they had some budget. They set up a foundation that manages the whole land and facilities and there is no ownership. They grow their own food and have some sheeps and pigs. They also make all kinds products out of the sheeps milk and kill the animals for their meat. And they have a fairly good life! They are part of a little village but with their own open free school and their 8.000qm of modern houses they stand out nicely. The interior of the buildings is just amazing, we had our own large guest area with 2 luxury bathrooms. It felt even better than in a hotel as we were still sleeping next to the youth of the community. And the food was amazing! Very interesting was not only the infrastructure with their own petrolstation and car workshop, hay dryer and their own solar grid (they can be off the grid for a few days without sun!), but their social life. They stated that they dont use any methods for governance and decision making and even though they looked into a few they figured out that they dont need any. To them it is all about the attitude and inner setting of the people beeing part of the community. They feel very responsable for each other as the community emerged out of 2 big families. So the family feeling is still very present. They are honest and pretty direct to each other but at the same time they respect the individual process of everyone else, so they try to be gentle and nice to each other. If there is a conflict, they say, the people involved or around always know what they need and somebody comes up with a solution. It sounded and looked all very convincing to me and reminded my of my own belief and experience that in therapy i always work with people on their attitude and with the relationship to have a good and smooth process! One more amazing thing to mention is the software that Emanuel programmed for the community. Beeing only 20 with self taught skills in php and mysql he developed a system that the whole community uses to automate almost everything in their daily life. It is connected to the cash checkout in the shop where they sell their products and so they know when something is finished or they need new ingredients. It automatically sends a new order for a delivery to refill the storage that just has to be approved. Also when they fuel up the machines, before the gas is empty a new order is sent to refill the tanks. They track their time spent on the fields also what they did with what machines, so they can not only see what effects their actions had on their yield, but also how much work is inside each fruit for example. Also their whole accounting is made so much easier and correct that it frees up their lifes to more important things. I discussed the option with Emanuel to open-source this software one day and to make it available to other communities for free. Also we could built in a bit of gift-economy and volunteer management to integrate into ecobasa in the future. I think PAN would be happy to host some programmers for a few weeks to make that possible. We also spent some time with one of the main founders Johannes, in a long interview sessions he later told us a bit of his life story. It was very inspiring how he took the chances in life that enabled him to start this community. It gave me a lot of courage to keep on trying crazy things without thinking about their possibility :) You learn so much on the way anyway!