Modern day pioneers

Three develop sustainable village, education center in Callaway

Tao Weilundemo shows off the solar panels that collect sunlight bouncing off of the metal roof of the common building at Maya Creek. Maya Creek's residents harvest solar energy to be stored in golf cart batteries, which powers cell phones, low-wattage LED light bulbs, efficient laptops and other electronic necessities.

Tao Weilundemo shows off the solar panels that collect sunlight bouncing off of the metal roof of the common building at Maya Creek. Maya Creek's residents harvest solar energy to be stored in golf cart batteries, which powers cell phones, low-wattage LED light bulbs, efficient laptops and other electronic necessities. Photo by Dean Asher.

Fulton, Auxvasse, Millersburg, Mokane, New Bloomfield. These are all cities, towns and villages that people see in Callaway County when they look at the map.

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Though it looks wild and untended by more conventional gardening standards, Maya Creek uses a technique called "permagardening" to grow much of their own food. The layout is designed to mimick how vegetation would grow in nature, and the bedding of mulch helps prevent evaporation and reduces the need to irrigate.

But there’s one village you’d have to go off the grid to find: Maya Creek, population 3.

Maya Creek is a sustainability and self-sufficiency education and demonstration site near Calwood, established in 2009 when Tao Weilundemo decided to trade in his cubicle for the great outdoors.

In the beginning, Maya Creek was only a few tents in the woods on a 310-acre nature preserve Weilundemo’s father owned. It has since grown to a larger, efficient and sustainable facility of tents, buildings, solar panels, composting and gardens built by Weilundemo and his like-minded friends, John Yu and Jesse Mayes.

Their website, mayacreek.org, states their mission statement is “to preserve and protect the land and all its inhabitants” and “to establish a lifestyle dedicated to taking responsibility for our own existence and that of future generations.” To promote those goals, Maya Creek is open to visitors by appointment who want to volunteer to help build it further or learn about efficient and sustainable living.

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