In the Czech language, "po" means beneath or under, below. Šuma is an old Proto-Slavic word for "dense forest" and "šum" today is the whispering sound the wind makes as it moves through the trees. Our region is called Po-Šumavi, just beneath the large forested area. Small villages dot the rural countryside, still based in agriculture, foresting and some tourism. We bring students and campers to several of the local sites during the various programs, to sample the local culture firsthand.
Searching through the generations of mementos, photographs, jars of old jam and rotting clothes, when we bought the mill in 1996, we came across the plans for the last major architectural renovation in 1926. In beautiful script was written at the bottom: "UMĚLECKÝ MLÝN", which can mean several things in translation. "Umělec in Czech means "artist", "uměly" can mean plastic, today, or more generally: "man-made". A literal translation would be "Art Mill". In those days it was referring to the latest technology of the time in modernizing mills: the turbine, which along with the incredible industrialization taking place around the world in the early 20th century, had just replaced the centuries old water wheel.
The name of the place inspired what we would do here: use the power of the land, the water and even human technology to engender more creative and sustainable human problem-solvers.