Our story

Lowimpact.org is a not-for-profit organisation, founded as the ‘Low-impact Living Initiative’ (LILI) in 2001 by two members of Redfield Community. The community itself was founded in 1978, and by the late 90s had solar hot water, compost loos, straw-bale buildings, organic gardens, orchards, soft fruit, bees, sheep, chickens, natural paints, lime, wood stoves, and one member was experimenting with making biodiesel from waste cooking oil.

Our local environment officer, helping build Redfield’s solar hot water system in 1998, a couple of years before Lowimpact.org was born.

Most importantly, the land was owned co-operatively, and decisions were made by consensus (both of which are still the case – and because of the founding documents, are unlikely to change). For us, there seemed nothing unusual in any of this. It seemed infinitely preferable to consumerism, hierarchy, competition, and lives lived far removed from nature and other people.

Cob building course at Redfield – our course programme started in 2001.

We wondered if anyone else might be interested in learning about the things we were experimenting with.

In 2001 we formed a not-for-profit organisation, came up with a name, and started running courses: biodiesel, permaculture, solar hot water, straw-bale building, natural paints & lime, wind & solar electricity and compost toilets. The courses sold out, so we developed a bigger course programme and started to add books, including our own publications, plus introductions, magazines, links, forum, ‘ask the expert’, products, services and online courses in a growing number of topics. We also ran events for the National Energy Foundation, helping people to build their own solar hot water systems.

In 2006, we started to run courses in partnership with city farms in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Our first network partner was Hackney City Farm, in 2006; we now have a national network of partners providing courses, products, services & advice.

In 2007 we took over the day-to-day running of WWOOF UK, matching up organic farms and smallholdings with volunteers.

In 2010 we stopped running our own courses and became an information hub and a network of organisations providing training, advice, products and services in our range of topics.

In 2015 we got a new website and changed our name to Lowimpact.org. WWOOF UK went their own way (due to changes in EU VAT law, it became financially beneficial to employ staff directly), much stronger than when we came together. We wish them well – they’re a great bunch of people doing a wonderful thing.

We plan to reach more people, via social media, our blog, and by by growing the network. There will also be a Low-impact Living book and a new project to help people switch to the non-corporate sector for the essentials of life.

From 2007 to 2015 we ran WWOOF UK – sending volunteers to organic farms and smallholdings.

We’re also interested in campaigning to allow people to build eco-homes on their smallholdings and for a steady-state rather than a growth economy; helping to build a co-operative, non-hierarchical economy, and networking to come up with ideas for better ways of choosing our political representatives, through face-to-face contact.

We hope you like what we stand for.

Lowimpact.org is a Company Ltd. by Guarantee.
Registered in England.  Company No: 4205021.