Beginning of the YIP16 Journey

News from YIP – September 2023

Dear friends of YIP…

We hope this newsletter finds you well. 

After a summer full of sun, rain, flowers and YIP alumni who came together to celebrate 15 years of YIP, the campus in Ytterjärna became silent and calm. At the end of August, the silence was interrupted by 21 young people who arrived from 12 different countries, and in their excitement, the campus was awakened. After the opening ceremony, these young people became yippies from YIP16, and together they started a process of exploration, development, learning and growing.

To introduce themselves for the first time as a group during the opening ceremony, YIP16 created a big collective art piece. They tore it apart in 21 pieces, and with each piece coming together, they shared one of their hopes or expectations for this 10-month-long journey. The collective art piece hangs now unified as a whole in the big common room in Tallevana and so is YIP16, with each yippie as a piece of the puzzle that YIP16 will become.

During the first week, YIP16 got the opportunity to land in the group, the place and the program. The week after the Community and Collaboration block started with the Local to Global course, in which the participants visited different local initiatives and were introduced to the global challenges they were addressing. During Slava Theatre, the participants were challenged to work with each other and to explore their boundaries in relation to body, voice and rhythm. The week after, the participants were introduced to biodynamic gardening. At the end of the month, the participants learned about power, privilege and oppression in the course Connecting Across Difference.

Written by Yander Fabri

In this newsletter you will find: 
– Opening ceremony written by Lies Vanderbauwhede
– Introduction and Landing Week written by Jonas Søvik
– From Local to Global written by Mika Cassingham-Tourell
– Slava Theatre written by Deja Defilippis
– Gardening week written by Mika Cassingham-Tourell

– Connecting across differences written by Aurelia Jones
YIP16 Organising Team

YIP Alumni Project: Wheaton Labs written by Liam Pearson-Moyers (YIP14

This year’s YIP group with the team

Opening Ceremony

Walking here on this path full of yellow birch leaved brings me back to the beginning
The opening of this new YIP year where seeds of inspiration came together as puzzle pieces
To grow together into sunflowers
Somewhere over the rainbow
A rainbow is what we will create
A piece of art full of colours
Where every piece of the puzzle is able to share its gifts so that together we can create a bigger picture
A playground for creative initiative has opened
I was witnessing all of it with open eyes and tingling hands
And I am looking forward to see these seeds of inspiration grow as they go
Thank you YIP 16 for opening up
Written by Lies Vanderbauwhede

Introduction and Landing week

First week of YIP has passed. What a week! We had a blast; both in impressions, information, and connection. I feel lucky to be here with these 18 yippies and 4 more to come. Our sense of community is already so clear and we have a lot of fun, be it 9PM dance parties on weekdays, singing around the campfire, or the mad people that go dipping in the fjord before our service hour at 7AM. I feel lots of love for these people already, and I have several times heard some of them say it feels like we have known each other for much longer than just one week.

This time has been all about landing; getting to know the area, the local people active in the community, and the structures we will be living in for the coming 10 months. There is lots of excitement in the air about what we will learn together and what in Danish we’d call “gåpåmod” (literally “go on courage”), meaning approaching something with gusto or spunk.

The YIP organizing team has been doing an amazing job helping us feel at home and learning the rhythm of the schedule and I am deeply thankful to them for putting their time and energy into giving us this experience. It’s clear they have thought seriously about how to put the program together and what we can learn the most from.

So far, I am thoroughly impressed with the people, the program, and the surroundings. I wish everyone would get to have an experience like this.

Dear reader, thank you for reading; and thank you for caring.


Written by Jonas Søvik

From Local to Global
with Martin Fellkvist, Richard Perkins, Kristoffer Luthi, Gerard Lartaud, Ursula Flatters and Ann-Ingeborg Haugholt

Last week we heard from contributors on the topics of farming, anthroposophical medicine, ethical banking and curative education. There were moments of inspiration and joy: I spoke to some Yippies (and I know personally too) that for some of us it has been our first experience of being in an educational space in a long time, and it felt incredibly enriching to learn new things that made us care and see and understand more of the world. 

And, of course, there were moments of heartbreak from realising the realities we live in. We learned that 2 years ago only two people were born with down syndrome in Denmark, as the majority decided to end their pregnancy once they knew their child would have had down syndrome. I felt this shed such painful light on so many things we face today. The decision to not birth a child with down syndrome, I believe, is rooted in the idea of profitability and usefulness our market society works on. A life is not worth living if some person high up can’t profit off of them, some people with disabilities need carers so that’s more money to be spent that a profit would need to be made on top of. Our need for survival in a system that preys on the more vulnerable means that we can’t value each other on more intangible things. The love and thoughtfulness and laughter a person can bring may be worth something in the home, but not in the world of debt or meeting sales targets. 

Another byproduct of our money-over-people/earth society is large, industrial farms that value efficiency over health who churn out nutritionally weak produce. At our visit to the biodynamic farm Skilleby Trädgård we learned that five industry-made apples have the nutritional value equivalent to one biodynamic apple. This blew my mind and saddened me as the thought of those who can only afford what food they can must go mal, or at least less, nutritioned. 

But still we were left with a sense of hope. It was beautiful seeing these people take so much unpalatable knowledge and turn it into something that works and does make a difference, whether that’s to a few families tummies or one person whose life is better cared for and loved.

Written by Mika Cassingham-Tourell

Slava Theatre with Elin Tisell and Victoria Siwek

Beginning Slava theatre in our second week at YIP was a surprise to us all. Unfortunately Patricia McCabe, our original guest for the week was not able to join us, so in Yip fashion we adapted and overcame. For me anyways, I could not have picked a better replacement for this week we had to fill.

Like many others taking this class pushed my boundaries through movement, singing, and connection. A lot of the times I would wonder if my body could handle running for an hour straight, or was able to carry a human above my head whilst singing a song I had only learnt 20 minutes prior. I strongly believe that these things wouldn’t have been possible on my own. As the course went on, my bond with others in the space grew and I was able to feel connection through our breath, movement, and observation. As a unit we were able to develop movements that helped motivate and strengthen my belief in myself to continue onwards throughout the week.

Usually this would be a course we would take later in the year as it can be quite intimate and involve a lot of trust and commitment in each other. For me I found it to be one of the best ways we could have started off the year. I felt like throughout the week I got to see new sides to everyone that I couldn’t have seen otherwise. Be that through movement, conversation about why we were even taking this class, or about boundaries people were still struggling with either mentally or physically.

By the end of the week our bodies were tired yet grateful for the opportunity to be used. It’s hard for me to be in my body sometimes and to really feel settled, but through this week I felt so grateful that my body was able to perform in the ways that I wanted it to. There was this feeling within me that I had an open dialogue where I could listen and respect what my body’s boundaries were.

This growth couldn’t have been possible without our amazing instructors Elin and Victoria. They both brought such joy and enthusiasm to each morning. It was amazing to see that they had so quickly jumped (literally haha) at the chance to teach us as it was so last minute. It’s  especially amazing since they are also in the midst of performing a play within a Marathon! We can’t wait to be a part of that process and see it all play out. So thank you to them for taking time out of their week to be present with us. I hope to continue this presence that I now have a dialogue within myself and those around me and carry on some of these experiences in my life. Thank you Slava!

Written by Deja Defilippis

Gardening Week with Thomas Lüthi and Aleksa Domańska

In our gardening week we were introduced to the principles of Biodynamic farming by Thomas Luthi, an incredibly knowledgeable man of the universe and former president of Demeter. He opened our eyes up to the stars and down to the soil, revealing over and over again the interconnectedness of the world we find ourselves in and how we can’t help but relate to our surroundings.

Thomas said something that struck me and something that I believe will stay in my mind for a very long time. He questioned what makes up a few kilogram heavy cabbage, is all of this potential purely held in the seed? He answered no. When one picks up a heavy head of cabbage one is really feeling the concentration of the cabbage’s surroundings, plants have the ability to embody their whole context in a similar way I believe humans are products of all that we have taken in throughout our lives: where we’ve been, what we’ve eaten and who’s been by our sides. I find it a beautiful thought that when you eat whole foods that have been respected, you are taking in so much more than just what’s in your mouth, you’re participating in a life cycle.

Post-fika sessions were us experiencing what Thomas had been talking about in the morning, we were working in the garden with Aleksa who also shared such beautiful and wise words that made me feel so happy to be on this planet and have the agency needed to act in an aligned way with the earth. Most days I, out of choice, weeded. I enjoyed committing to a long, slow process where I had to sit with less stimulation and just live and breathe and get awesome mucky hands. We are now preparing the beds to sleep for winter, covering them in warm wormy manure given to us from Nibble Farm. Aleksa spoke about collaborating on designing the garden in Spring and I am already so excited for what’s to come.

On the last day we were out in the field with Thomas where he showed us the biodynamic way of compost making, with sprinkles of limestone and splashes of preparations. I was surprised how stimulating it was working with smelly, rotting apples; I think a lot of us felt a high off of seeing waste being used in a regenerative way. This was so different from my life’s experience of just putting compost-worthy foodness in general waste at home. 

I am so grateful to have been able to soak up such wondrous knowledge from our contributors and I feel so lucky that this week has entered my make-up and is now a part of me. I am left a very, very happy and well-fed walking and talking cabbage.

Written by Mika Cassingham-Tourell

Painting by Deja Defilippis

Connecting Across Difference with Randolph Carter from Alma Partners

This week’s contributor Randolph Carter, facilitated a space of wonder as well as an inward opportunity for self inquiry. Furthermore bringing our Yip community together to wonder and speculate: ‘’what does it mean to be me?’ and ‘how do I connect to the world, with all its challenges?’

The week had a surrounding and smooth structured energy. Randolph gave time to delve into important themes and topics such as diversity, privilege, inclusivity, micro aggression, belonging, assimilation, allyship, bias and justice. This introduction led to more opportunities for conversations to arise in either small groups or whole body discussions, as people felt obliged to voice their opinion, either from a place of vulnerability or comfort. 

The space never felt unsafe, as a result of one of Randolph’s agreements which he introduced to us at the beginning of the week; to be ‘raggedy’, furthermore offering an act to neither be right or wrong, but just come as you are. This held the program fantastically.

Through Randolph’s knowledge, he touched on many aspects of humanity that challenge our way to connect across differences. Differences which can place people in the dark without a voice. During this week we were offered ways in which to work on, or bring forth our own light to this darkness, to see what can be done either in our own lives or in others. For me, I saw this to be a very important practice. We were also encouraged to find our place in affinity groups as a way of observing differences and how we fit into categories such as gender or race, or how we don’t fit into them. This allowed me to see my identity with new eyes, as I would never have much considered my role as a woman or my place in the white community. And as a result of these groups, I could gain new perspectives.

There was time to journal and reflect ,which personally helped me re-calibrate my thoughts and place what questions I had onto paper. But also it engaged us in observing the hidden parts of our identities, that were only revealed from the leadership and discovery that Randolph honoured. One of which being; Who am I ?

This question I find to be tough to answer, therefore I and maybe others avoid it, but during this course we were encouraged to sit with that uncomfortability and see what is feeding it.  

The past week ignited within us a fundamental sense of place and wonderment into our own being, and through that Randolph brought an initiative to observe how we as a human race can build our connection across differences.

Written by Aurelia Jones

YIP16 Organising Team

This is the organising team of YIP16.

This year in the team we have: (upper row from left to right) Aleksa, Yander, Naomi, Lidewey and Reinoud, (bottom row from left to right) Annie and Leonora.
Aleksa takes care of the garden together with the yippies and shares with them her knowledge.
Annie and Reinoud have made YIP their life for the past 15 years. Naomi and Leonora join them this year as fulltime OT’s and together they organise and run the program for the participants.
Lidewey and Yander are the voluntary co-workers for this year to support the team with the more non-program related and practical tasks.

YIP Alumni Project: Wheaton Labs

YIP is a social entrepreneurship program, and each year the alumni network expands and a lot of projects are worked on. We are curious to see what these projects are that YIP alumni are working on, so we decided to include each month an article written by an alumnus in which they can explain their work and experience.

This month we hear from Liam (YIP14 alumnus) about Wheaton Labs:

As a start to my journey into Permaculture and the practical aspects within the topic of parallel structures I am currently taking part in the “Permaculture Bootcamp.” The Permaculture Bootcamp is an initiative that takes place at Wheaton Labs near Missoula Montana. Wheaton Labs is many things, and much like YIP it is difficult to explain. The place is perhaps best thought of as a Permaculture catalyst site. As the site’s owner Paul Wheaton likes to say, the goal of all their projects is to “infect more brains with Permaculture.” On top of a hosting many events, publishing books on the topic, hosting a podcast and giving talks at events, they do a lot of tinkering with unique innovations on their 220 acres (roughly 89 hectares) of undeveloped land. These innovations range from Rocket Mass Heaters to massive hugelkulturs, from buried houses to round wood outdoor furniture, all with the intention to move beyond “toxic gick” and capture masses of carbon. Also, there’s a ton of cats.

The Bootcamp falls under all of this. It is a project to trade work for education and for some people, a route towards settling down here. I currently work about 5.5 days on these projects as well as the general upkeep and improvements of the property. In exchange, all room and board is covered, I get to see the projects in action and assist in the installation and maintenance of many of them as well as receive free tickets to their events. If I would like to and commit enough time there is also the offer of stewardship of an acre of my own. The thought behind this is that the Bootcamp is both a training for homesteading and a bit of a test to see if there is a good fit into the community. I’ll be here for only about two months but will definitely return multiple times in the future. If you’re curious or have any questions, please feel free to reach out!

Website of the campus can be found by clicking here.

Forum about Permaculture in general that the people from the project run can be found by clicking here.

Written by Liam Pearson-Moyers (YIP14)

In the next newsletter you will find:

– Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter
– Intro to Entrepreneurial Project Skills
– Action Based Prototyping 
– Moving in Complexity

– Creative afternoon sessions

– YIP-Alumni Project

Newsletter made by Lidewey Huybrechts and Yander Fabri