THE LAST RESORT is a unique architectural wonder – a self-sustaining amalgam of over 25 highly original structures known for their beauty and functionality. For over 40 years, David Lee Hoffman has built and designed a series of handcrafted structures utilizing high quality recycled materials. His peaceful village-like compound reflects the natural world and is ‘built to last for centuries’. He has incorporated the use of stone, masonry, wood, bamboo, and earth in his construction that has been influenced by years of traveling the world. “It’s an important and significant example of east-west Folk Art” according to sustainable architect Sim Van der Ryn, who was appointed California State Architect by California Governor Jerry Brown, and is on the architecture faculty at the University of California Berkeley. Many consider this work to be a one of a kind quintessential ‘living history’ – a testimony to the do-it-yourself, back to the land, respect Mother Earth ethos of the 1960’s put into practice.
In the spirit of “waste is not waste until it’s wasted”, THE LAST RESORT is an environmental model of sustainable and harmonious living. It attempts to assimilate both natural methods from the past with modern know-how to create a living system that effectively demonstrates possibilities of thriving in a non-polluting healthy environment. Its mission is to discover and perfect practical low-cost sustainable methods for waste management, water re-use, and food security.
To this end, a unique INTEGRATED BIO-MANAGEMENT SYSTEM has been successfully developed. Visionary use of vermiculture, composting, and healthy grey water systems have produced a valuable fertilizer to create superior soil and grow high grade organic food. Many useful discoveries and insights have emerged along the way that indeed may prove very beneficial in our challenged changing world.
HOW IT WORKS:
The Grey Water System – It all starts and ends in the kitchen. The journey begins at the kitchen sink. All wash/waste water, and small food scraps go down the drain and, by gravity, enter THE WORM PALACE —a continuous feeding system for vermicompostitng and bio-filtration of household organic waste and recycling. The “PALACE” itself is a small self- contained environment which contains a rich community of life (emphasis on earthworms Eisenia foetida and Lumbricus rubellus and a host of other micro- and macro- organisms) designed to bio-digest the solid food and filter the ‘waste’ water. What results is the creation of ‘nature’s finest fertilizer’– i.e. wormcasts, as well as healthy nutritious life-giving water. The water that comes out and goes into the upper moat is now chock full of life giving nutrients. This is evidenced by the richness of the flora growing directly out of the water in the moat, even without the presence of soil, as well as the myriad of critters that live and thrive in this environment (frogs, salamanders, snakes,water beetles, dragonflies, birds, etc).
The water then leaves the upper moat through a micro- wetland into the lower moat system. At the opposite end of the lower moat is the Solar Power Shower Tower where the shower water filters through another bio-wetland filter and ultimately merges with the kitchen sink water. Finally it enters a large holding tank, after passing through, yet another bio-filter, where the water is stored until needed for garden use, fruit tree irrigation, and for the chickens. And the cycle is completed by harvesting the delicious nutritious food and eggs to be prepared in the kitchen! All this is accomplished without the use of electricity plus the physical environment celebrates beauty and a reverence for life giving life. And it’s a joy.
THE LAST RESORT has been written about in many publications including the New York Times and NBC News. THE LAST RESORT has inspired visitors from all over the world to go forth with new hope and to participate in creating positive environmental solutions.
Photos by Suzie Lewitan and David Briggs