FreeLab - the Laboratory of Freedom



WE BELIEVE that the current crisis in Europe will be getting worse, dramatically dividing people, the rich from the poor, the privileged from the excluded, the rulers from the ruled ones.

WE BELIEVE that the so called ‘middle class’ will retain only a few of its privileges, a vast majority will join the ranks of the excluded.

WE BELIEVE that the political class, despite its official claims, is neither willing nor able to reverse the process, but rather amplifies it to protect its own privileges and political survival.



Set up a facility to gather, verify and share knowledge and skills needed for free social self-organisation.

Focus on a practical, technological approach, including soft skills, while staying away from all conflicts, be it ideological, personal or otherwise.

Get involved full time, as a community, in supporting individuals and groups aiming to leave the social decomposition zone, and to adopt a freedom-oriented


Co-create an intentional community as a testbed for the solutions we want to research.

Thus, we created FreeLabThe Laboratory of Freedom

1. Why

Because people who live off-the-matrix, voluntarily or forced, need theknowledge and practical skills both for survival and for getting organised.

2. What

We gather, verify, improve and disseminate practical skills for social self-organisation. From making rocket stoves, rainwater harvest systems, through urban farming & food processing, to radical cooperatives' organisation, consensual decision making and social problem solving technologies. We run demo installations (rocket stove heating in a squat in Warsaw), workshops (consensus-driven decision making) and make tutorials. The first and major point is that we are not focused on leaders. We are focused on communities.

Then we are not focused on “making a difference”. We are focused on teaching people how to increase their independence in key areas:

  • food
  • energy
  • technology
  • social structure & procedures.
Finally, we are not focused on people who are in a search for a project/mission. We are focused on those who have the goal - even just a personal one. We provide

tools, not ideas.

Formally speaking, the FreeLab mission is to gather, verify, refine and spread all practical skills needed for social self-organisation.

3. How

We set up a team of people, living&working together as a collective. We settled in a rural area of Poland. The facility includes a house, a barn (being adapted as a

workshop area) and 1ha of garden. Our approach is to make off-the-system communities sustainable and resilient in respect of food, energy and technology. The first stage is the ‘scarp source ecology’ – using waste and recycled materials. Then we move towards locally produced/grown materials and producst, shortening recycling loops and energy circulation. Local food, local energy, local production – the goal is to have up to 80% of needs fullfilled from local sources.

4. Who

There are 4 people, all homelless and jobless, being full time collective members, two honorary members and several „Friends of FreeLab”, working remotely. We

also have couple dozens of supporters, mainly over the Net. This winter we hope to invite two more full-timers, after a trial period. Currently, the members are:

  • Beata, 24 yo, artist, maker, dancer and musician. She's an avid food maker and great tutor.
  • Michal, 25 yo, musician, gardener, descendant of a long tradition of blacksmith family.
  • Natalia, 55 yo, activist, translator (GER&RUS), natural therapist, counsellor, cook, gardener and biker.
  • Petros, 48 yo, technologist, tinkerer, speaker, coach. Co-founder of Warsaw Hackerspace and independent political writer.
We are homeless, jobless and (mostly) bankrupt. We are pathfinders for people like us - leaving the mainstream or being excluded by the system.

We are not interested in spreading our personal stories. We are interested in serving intentional coummunities and individuals around us. The rocket stove, rainfall harvest system or consensus-driven decision-making procedures will work all the same disregarding personal stories of “people behind the project”. Less ‘ego’, more ‘go’.

5. Story so far

Started last spring, FreeLab begun its operations in the middle of nowhere, near Opole, in SW Poland. During summer months we developed basic infrastructure

(rainfall harvest, solar power station, rocket stove kitchen), run several workshops on-site and throughout Poland (Animal Rights Gathering Poland, Wodstock Stop

Festival, Antinuclear Camp Lubiatowo, squatting communities in Poznan and Warsaw, Anarchist Federation summer camp). For the winter time we were invited

to Poznan, to establish an urban Freelab facility. During the move the proposed location (a squatted building) has been evicted by armed police forces. Thanks to

our friends, related to the Rainbow Family, we got an invitation to settle in Grabówka in SE Poland.

Currently we are operating as a sort of secular mendicant order, raising funds from our supporters, working locally for a share of crops and running extra-curriculum classes in local schools in exchange for food and wood for winter.

Once we gather provisions (6 ppl * 6 months) and have the house and barn prepared for winter, we shall be able to resume normal FreeLab operations. We already have an invitation from Warsaw squatting community to run rocket stove workshops. We also prepare couple „IT for activists” projects, plus a number of publications to be presented online and during public events.

Beginning next spring, we shall start new series of prototyping and workshops, covering local food and energy production. We shall also test our solutions during the refurbishment of the house, barn and garden.

6. Our needs

Food, wood and basic resources we shall arrange locally – by working and begging. Our extra needs include fixing broken equipment (2 Kindle readers & Dell XPS – broken screens, fiat ducato – major engine failure), and some hi-tech gear: camera for tutorial movies, Itronix rugged tablets & laptops for field ops (pre-owned, preferably; can be just a case, battery, mainboard and screen – we shall gradually make them complete), PV panels and controllers – older generation will do, we have a LOT of roof.

Minor items: LED lights (12V & 230V); accus of all kinds: AAA, AA, C, D, 9v; Battery driven tools (12V preferably); hand winch, electric winch.

We also need people to help us with electronics for our constructions, microcontroller programming and power adaptors construction. The main project in this area is an intelligent battery bank. See „Winter projects” below.

Beginning spring we shall be inviting guests to help us with house/barn refurbishment and garden recultivation. Through the winter we plan to work for construction materials and to gather enough wood and other components to make the job doable.

7. Winter projects

  • Intelligent battery bank. Made of recycled car batteries, with intelligent controllers keeping all batteries at the same capacity level. Details on demand.
  • Wood gasification – wood gasifying stove and wood gas generator for a converted car engine.
  • Rocket stove based hot water installation (Warsaw squat location)
  • Rocket stove building & development workshops in Warsaw.
Online activity: publications, tutorials, campaigns.

Really important

Hello Beata, Michal, Natalia and Petros. I am impressed: it seems you are going off the grid in a really structured way. In Edgeryders we have been perceiving for a while that the existence of an orderly such “exit lane” is a perceived need for some people in Europe.

Also, some of the metaphors coincide. You think of yourselves as a “mendicant saecular order”, and people here are developing the concept of Unmonastery. Uncanny!

I am curious as to how you are developing your relationship with the local community. Did you just knock on doors asking “hey, do you want extracurricular classes” ? Is anyone helping you to make a soft landing with the locals?


Being an extravertic, I


Being an extravertic, I do not have major problem knocking door and doing pitch. :slight_smile: This time, however, we had a bit of luck. One school is led by the local dwellers’ association and we have a common friend, who introduced us. The other is the school attended by children of a fellow eco-settler, so he took our offer and forwarded it to them.

Generally speaking, we try to set up contacts by contributing towards community. Working for food&wood is the best way here, avoiding both mercantile relationships and beggars’ label (which is quite negative in traditional communities here). Ecosettlers are different - they are mostly newcomers here and they went the way we go, so there is no problem in getting help straight away. Besides, my computer skills are quite apperciated here as well.

Informative and highly inspiring

Thanks for sharing your experience guys, and welcome to Edgeryders! I was interested to read more and came across the FreeLab social contract, and one thing which struck me was how good a job it does making it clear for everyone that this is a work space and getting things done is important and beyond potential conflicts, differences between members, while at the same time acknowledging personal preferences.  I think it serves as a good internal regulation model for the unMonastery cooked here…

Is there a recruitment process established or you just invite over anybody who;s interested, and chances are some get to stay full time? Maybe it’s too soon now, but are you considering a more formal selection in case more and more people show up over time?


The Social Contract in


The Social Contract in English comes from the previous site. As always with FreeLab it is creative commons CC_BY_SA, so feel free to remix it to your heart’s content. :slight_smile:

In Grabówka we are a bit more ‘right-side-brained’, incorporating the spirit of The Rainbow Family, and our current contract (under development) put more pressure on the consensus driven process and participation, less than making a ready-for-everything set of rules. It’s all about “resilience through participation”.

No formal recruitment now. We still have two free places for the winter and guests are welcome. Any time, when the guest AND the Circle (community gathering and top authority) agree, the guest may become the long term member of the collective.

There is and will be a selection, however not too formal. People will come for days/weeks as guests. Some will participate in projects/workshops. Some will keep returning, untill we all agrre that it’s easier to keep them here. If it fails, we shall develop somethon else, ofc.


Hello, I am re-reading your comments and I am curious about this: what are “community gathering” and “top authority”? You seem to have a sophisticated governance model there. Can you elaborate a bit? This is useful fot those of us trying to build the Unmonastery.


We have the social


We have the social contract that is still under developnment.  Here’s the attempt of translation, based upon automated Google Translate.

FreeLab Grabówka - Social Contract

Residents, visitors and friends of FreeLab Grabówka (FLG), accept the following social contract.

Purpose of FLG

FreeLab Grabówka supports technically and educationally social self-organization. Our collective and place is a testing ground and model for the most of the developed solutions. We are a service collective, which aims to work for the freedom of other communities.


A group of people who live in and lead local Grabówka FreeLab.

The first FLG collective are: Beata, Kuba, Michael, Natalia, Petros

Democracy - the principle of self-government.

FreeLab Grabówka is governed by consensual and participatory democracy.

The highest authority in Grabówka is the Circle - meeting of members of the collective.

Circle decisions are taken unanimously. In exceptional cases, decisions may be taken by majority, according to the principle of one man - one vote. [Edit 9/25/12: A member of the Circle can not vote in their own case.]

All members of the collective take part in gatherings. It is their fundamental right and duty. Members of the collective living outside Grabówka can participate remotely in the circle.

Circle meeting may invite any person or persons as observers in an advisory capacity.

Circle appoints and dismisses the Agents (the person responsible) to implement the various decisions. Members and guests of the collective support Agents in their activities. The place of assessment, counseling and possible revocation of the person responsible is the circle.

Circle lays down rules for the functioning of Grabówka, if necessary, interprets them, verify, modify, examine individual cases.

Everyone always and in every situation on the FLG has the right to appeal to the circle, and the circle is obliged to listen and respond.

Circle pre-meeting materials are available to members of the collective and Friends. Decisions and accepted projects are - in principle - available to the public.

FLG members, friends and guests

Members of the collective FLG (household) declare:

  • permanent residence in Grabówka (over 6 months)
  • active participation in the work of FreeLab.
  • performance of obligations under the social contract
Circle unanimously invtes new member of the household, or unanimously accepts a request to join the collective.

Withdrawal from the collective requires:

Member’s resignation presented to the Circle


Unanimous decision of the Circle, removing the member

Freiends of FreeLab enjoy the privileges of members of the collective, except for participating in the Circle.

The circle gives a Friend status with the consent of the person concerned.

Loss of a Friend status - as a member of the collective.

Guests of FreeLab, living in Grabowiec, apply to the social contract and participate in the work and daily chores Grabówka.

FLG has several sources of income:

  • Donations of the houshold members, friends, guests and external donors.
  • Tithe. Each of the members of the collective declares tenth of their personal income for the FLG budget.
  • Income from FreeLab projects and business activity. All FreeLab own income is used for common goals.

There you see

Hi, I’m glad pice!

Where are you? see from google Earth

Good going

Nice to see people getting down in the dirt, good work! These things can take so long if too formal, especially when people begin trying to organize comforts and placing limits or their own choosing on developments. It looks as though you are getting it done in the only way possible, from the ground up. Good look with it, I sent you my email at another location online for possible translations of your documents, feel free to hit me up for that,

Also there is the off grid solar engineer mentioned there too, he could perhaps help you find cheap solar gear.

if you are interested there are online workshops soon from the urban farming guys in Kansas on how to build an aquaponics setup, its a webinar online and isn’t free, but its seriously pro work and well worth it.

And you may have heard of Daniel Connel from OSE, he just published designs for a relatively simple solar collector that can be built for less than 100 euros, you will find daniel and all of his info at

He also teaches design workshops at the Extremadura OSE settlement and could perhaps help you out with the same, the workshops were packed in Spain, people learned a lot and took their know how away with them all over Europe.

Also you may be interested in having a look at Indiegogo and seeing what can be done there…I heard that kickstarter just opened for UK projects…it shouldn’t be long before thats EU wide, and its a great way to raise finances of you have a bit of a network behind you.

App wise maybe check out Bambuser (or is that a z?) its a really handy live streaming app for use with ios/android and is great for getting out quick instant content.

Ok , all the best team! Exclesior!


Thank you for your warm


Thank you for your warm comment. :slight_smile:

I couldn’t find your email yet, but we are really interested in cheap PV arrays. I am in touch with David and we shall probably try to prototype his solar flower during the winter.

Urban farming is another story - I have passed the info to Natalia, who is in charge of it. I guess we shall wait with it - having some rural farming to be done first. :slight_smile:

We are watching Indiegogo, plus some Polish crowdfunding websites. Once we are ready, we shall start raising funds per project there.