A paleo retreat on the rocks in Ardeche

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What our guests say:

“…a healthy portion of heaven on the rocks…”

Amy Hughes (England) – October 2013:

“This was our second visit on the rocks, which is situated in the beautiful Ardeche region and we really enjoyed our walks out through local woodland and to waterfalls. The village of Lagorce feels as if it is straight from another time in history with its unspoiled limestone buildings with vaulted ceilings. The retreat is possibly the most stunning example of this architecture and the views from the dining table can only be matched by the wonderful food upon it. We ate like kings and the food was local, fresh and organic.

We also learnt new recipes and gained valuable advice about the local area from our warm and welcoming hosts. I would really recommend this place to anyone seeking a quiet, healthy retreat that takes you far from the trappings of modern life.

We will back – again – next year!”

Stayed for two weeks, in September 2013.

“…connections between mental health and grains in your diet…”

Sarah Thomas (England) – February 2013:

“My husband and I stayed with Nina and Martin in January as part of a circuitous train journey through France. Coming for the landscape at such a peaceful time of year was already delightful enough, as we made our way in the winter sun deeper and deeper into the countryside to reach their remote medieval village, one hour from the nearest train station.

But upon arrival in their beautiful home we experienced just how fully they live and breathe their diet, even gathering acorns from the forest to make acorn flour. They shared their knowledge with us passionately and informed, whilst clearly responding instinctively to their bodies’ needs in a way most people’s busy lifestyles do not allow them to do.

My husband is suffering from depression, and we had not realised before our visit the extent of the connections between mental health and grains in your diet. Staying with them for four days allowed us to experience the benefits of a grain-free diet and begin to feel the difference it made, which was marked. This has been a real turning point for us, and we have continued to eat this way as much as possible upon returning home, with great results.

While there we visited a weekly organic vegetable pop up market, went gathering acorns in the forest, took a walk along the stunning mini cascades and rock pools of the river in the valley below, to a lavender farm where the farmer’s wife prepares artisanal lavender products at a very reasonable price. Our days were both full and relaxed.

Most of all, it was reaffirming to be with a couple our own age, who are living what they believe in, and not just talking about it.”

Stayed for four days, in January 2013.

“…community gardens, local markets and organic vineyards…”

Kerry Blair (Canada) – January 2013:

“Nina and Martin are exceptional hosts. My husband and I came away from our week with them feeling entirely content, refreshed and well nourished. They are passionate about food and highly conscious of its health and politico-social value, and this passion translates into an incredible amount of thought, care and artistry at work in their kitchen. Nina and Martin prepared (and invited us to share in the preparation of) absolutely sumptuous, palate pleasing, satisfying and highly nutritious meals using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients.

In addition to enjoying wonderful meals and opportunities to learn whilst in their kitchen, we were enchanted by the incredible setting of their home. They live in an intriguing little village situated in the picturesque Ardèche region of France. Each day Nina and Martin either accompanied us or pointed us in the direction of some special place or event. We walked along quiet forested trails to water falls that have scoured ancient rock into graceful curves; we explored medieval ruins and visited community gardens, local markets and organic vineyards; and we gazed in awe at the spectacular limestone formations at Les Cirque des Gens and the famed Pont d’Arc.

While staying with Nina and Martin gave us an opportunity to admire and appreciate the natural, cultural and historical beauty of a part of the world that is new to us, – what we learned and experienced as their guests would be hard to obtain through a conventional visit. Our time with them helped us deepen our understanding of ways we can improve our health and gave us the empowerment and tools to do so. We are extremely grateful to have been able to stay, eat, and become friends with Nina and Martin.”

Stayed for a week, in December 2012.

“…driven by passion rather than profit…”

Adelyn Blair (Canada) – January 2013:

I stayed on the rocks for 4 weeks in November/December and was sad to leave. Comfortable beds, breathtaking views, wholesome and delicious food and great company. One thing that distinguishes this place from many other businesses, is that Martin and Nina are driven by passion rather than profit. It shows in everything that they do!

Stayed for four weeks, November/December 2012

“…much to teach about health and sustainability…”

Marian Smallman (Canada) – January 2013:

“Beautiful surrounding country to explore during the day, sun-kissed hills laden with nut trees and fruit bearing bushes. There are ample opportunities for discovery in and around the village of Lagorce and the people are full of culture and many with a passion for nature. Retire to a comfortable healthy environment for the body and the soul with Nina, Martin and Leon. Excellent food, but even more enthralling is the conversation with two highly educated and charismatic people, who have so much to teach about health and sustainability. Highly recommend staying with these people.”

Stayed for three weeks, November/December 2012

“…knowledge about paleo and related diets…”

Nathanael Bonnell (USA) – January 2013:

“I stayed on the rocks for a week, arriving with only a little knowledge about paleo and related diets, and when I got there, through Martin and Nina’s books and especially through talking with them, I easily doubled what I knew. They’re very passionate about eating food that’s really healthy in a common-sense, proven way, and they’ve come up with some delicious things to eat along those lines. (May I recommend their chocolate and stir-fries?)

And besides that, Lagorce is a wonderful, friendly little place full of buildings out of a storybook. On the rocks is inside a wonderful, comfortable stone house hundreds of years old on top of the ridge that Lagorce is built on, so it has a view of the whole village and the valley below it and the forest on the other wall of the valley (beautiful in the fall). It might be a long time before I get to France again, but when I do I definitely want to come back to visit Martin and Nina.”

Stayed for a week, in December 2012.

“…cooking with local wild herbs…”

Nathan Rees (England) – November 2012:

“On the rocks is a wonderful place to take a break and learn how to manage your diet in a healthy way. Nina and Martin are lovely hosts and their food could inspire even a coffee lover like me to consider giving up my vices. The house is spacious and rustic, with a very French feel about it. I really enjoyed identifying and cooking with local wild herbs collected on walks in the hills that surround Lagorce. I would recommend this place to anyone seeking a quiet get away, to take a step back and improve the way they eat.”

Stayed twice for ten days, in April and October/November 2012.

“…a real haven…”

Amy Hughes (England) – November 2012:

“On the rocks in Lagorce is a real haven. The traditional rustic stone buildings are beautiful and the rooms spacious with vaulted ceilings and windows overlooking the beautiful village and opposing hillside. Nina and Martin are wonderful hosts; the food is made with fresh organic local produce and lots of love and they were very helpful in advising us of the finest beauty spots in the locality. The stars at night are beautiful with so little light pollution and the silence in the evening and early morning created a sense of calm that would be impossible to find at home. We have now visited in spring and autumn and the weather was beautiful, perfect for walking and cycling. I hope we will have the chance to come back.”

Stayed twice for ten days, in April and October/November 2012.

2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Press Release: Indigenous Leaders Alert the UNFCCC and the World to the Imminent Threat that REDD Poses to their Territories and Livelihoods

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Durban, South Africa (IPCCA). As the UNFCCC COP 17 opens in Durban, South Africa, a gathering of indigenous leaders from around the world discussing biocultural protocols and REDD warns the UNFCCC and the international community of the grave danger that REDD and market based solutions to climate change mitigation pose to their cultures, territories and livelihoods.

“For my people, the forest is sacred, it is life in all its essence, we can protect Pachamama only if this is respected. REDD and other market mechanisms have turned our relationship with forests into a business. As we are targeted, this is not only a new form of climate racism but also represents a false solution which undermines the climate regime” said Marlon Santi, a leader of the Sarayaku Quichua community of Ecuador.

The IPCCA leaders discussed their experiences with using a biocultural approach to assessing climate change impacts as well as the impacts on their livelihoods and the ecosystems found in their territories in order to develop appropriate responses. In forest ecosystems, impacts of REDD and market based mechanisms were analysed from diverse local contexts such as the Indian Adivasi and the Sapara Nationality of Ecuador to build a common understanding:

  • They commodify life and undermine holistic community values and governance
  • They block community access to forests and customary use
  • They lead to establishment of monoculture tree plantations which promote land grabbing
  • They are portrayed as vehicles for strengthening land tenure rights but in fact are used to weaken them
  • They are used to justify continued emissions in the North and thus are hypocritical false solutions to the climate crisis

“IPCCA is an example of how indigenous communities are undertaking climate change assessments on their own terms, and are illustrating the danger of market based mitigation mechanisms. Our knowledge systems and our distinctive spiritual relationship to our territories can contribute to a deeper, localized and holistic understanding of what we and the world is facing” said Alejandro Argumedo, coordinator of IPCCA. “Solutions that will indeed reduce emissions and ensure local livelihoods must come from including such local analysis.” The IPCCA network is building alliances with organizations such as the Global Forest Coallition to bring much needed indigenous and local voices to forums as the UNFCCC COP 17.

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Indigenous Leaders call upon the IPCC to Respect Indigenous Knowledge

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“Addressing scientific bias against Indigenous Knowledge will improve international responses to climate change”, say Indigenous Leaders, releasing the SEVETTIJARVI DECLARATION

Helsinki, Finland (IPCCA).

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Colonos are hibernating, but shall one day return – perhaps – meanwhile we have come across a new blog just the other day, which is worth a look if you are interested in “Property, Commoning and the Politics of Free Software” and “philosophical and political inquiries into the material nature of the immaterial“. The essay featured in the blog has an interesting critique of the work of Yochai Benkler and Lawrence Lessig, as well as the politics of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, turning on the concept of property relations.



“… I thought we were an autonomous collective…”

People’s Agreement of Cochabamba (via World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth)

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World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth April 22nd, Cochabamba, Bolivia PEOPLE'S AGREEMENT Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger. If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of speci … Read More

via World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth