THE Findhorn Foundation, the alternative community that became the “Vatican of the New Age” after being established next to a rubbish dump on the shores of the Moray Firth, will today celebrate its 50th anniversary.
In five decades, it has been transformed from a “hippie haven”, once ridiculed for growing giant vegetables with the help of “nature spirits”, to a key part of the local economy, worth an estimated £5 million a year.
The foundation was established in 1962 by Peter Caddy, a former RAF officer, his wife, Eileen, and close friend Dorothy Maclean, who moved to a caravan site at Findhorn Bay after Mrs Caddy said she had received a message from God to go there after the three lost their jobs at a hotel in nearby Forres.
Despite the barren sandy soil, they managed to grow herbs, flowers, and huge plants, including 40lb cabbages, to feed themselves, due, it was said, to “Devas” – so-called angels in the soil that helped the plants to flourish.
Its international reputation for spirituality and sustainability draws more than 14,000 visitors a year from more than 40 countries and runs a continual series of 200 workshops, retreats and events promoting its ideas.
The community has expanded to include a large organic farm, a private school and a caravan park. Along with the eco-village, it contains more than 40 different businesses.
In addition to its self-sufficiency work, Findhorn has its own consultancy service which has worked with the likes of Standard Life, BP and the NHS.