The RCP network of straw bale construction is a non profit organization with about 75 active members, but with a lot of fans. Our webpage has more than 7,000 visits a month.
RCP is now 8 years old, as it was born 2005 in Barcelona, Spain. Only couple years later our little magazine, in 2007, “BRIZNA” was printed for the first time where we document our straw bale building experiences twice a year.
The aim of RCP is to be open and to support other Spanish speaking countries to spread the word, especially if they do not have their own network. That’s why we don’t call ourselves the Spanish Straw Bale Network.
At the moment we have partners in Chile, “Construccion con Fardos de Paja-Red Chilena”, who are doing a great work.
The goal of RCP are to promote the different techniques of straw bale building, offer all the necessary information to be able to build your own home, to provide a space to announce workshops, building-sites, etc related to straw bale construction, and to provide a network of like-minded folks interested in this subject, including professional builders and self -builders.
Since 2005 the interest in straw bale construction has increased and some articles and short news have appeared on TV, reaching all types of people, helping to make the subject more familiar to a wider audience in the Spanish-speaking world. Most of the activities that RCP offers are small conferences, exhibitions and of course the gatherings we organize every 2 to 3 years, where many participants from across Spain participate.
Our network is quite interesting because most of the founders are not professionals or technicians (architects, engineers, etc.). most our members are average people interested in straw bale construction, searching for information, wanting to make life easier for other self-builders. We have no physical location. All the work is done via internet and gatherings of the board-members are done on a voluntary basis. This makes it very interesting and more horizontal in structure, meaning that everybody can participate in our network and also build with this material.
But, perhaps because of that and other reasons, we aren’t an association that focuses on scientific research. We are hopeful that this perhaps will change in future? Since 2009 the interest of professionals has increased and RCP is starting to create tools (create a map of straw bale producers, translate the French Straw Bale Code, etc.) that will assist everyone.
The RCP finances herself via the membership dues, selling our magazine, or through the gatherings. With this money, we have bought a moisture meter that can be used by our members in order to control the quality of their bales. We also are able to afford to send a representative of RCP to the international gatherings and purchase space at various fairs where we can share material with people that have never heard of straw bale construction.
Since 2011 RCP has been a participant in the Lifelong Learning Program called Leonardo Da Vinci, where European Countries participate in order to improve and exchange valuable information and perform co-operation projects to transfer or develop innovative practices. Our role is to share information about straw bale construction and create tools to improve the skills of future Straw Bale Trainers.
We also support also other networks, such as the association RIE (Red Ibérica de Ecoaldeas or Iberean Ecovillages Network http://rie.ecovillage.org/) and the BAM-conference (Bioarquitectura Mediterránea http://bamconf.org/en/pla-de-buits-biobuilt/).