OUR Sustainers work to support the day-to-day activities of the Village, making monthly contributions to ensure that we can continue our work around education, sustainable food production, and community. Because we think they are pretty great and want to share their stories with OUR community, we’ll be profiling them in our newsletter and on the blog over the next several months. This month we profile Silvia Di Blasio
How long have you been a sustainer?
I joined right after finishing my PDC last September.
What inspired you to become one?
I try to support local organizations whose people I know, admire and respect. O.U.R. is a collective effort to apply Permaculture not just to grow food but to social arrangements, natural building, and Earth stewardship. I also try to support organizations with my actual volunteering, as I think we should “walk the talk.” O.U.R. gives me the opportunity to blog for them, attend courses and events they do for the community, and volunteer my time with people who are authentic and live their values.
How did you find out about the Village?
I started studying the impacts of Climate Change and Peak oil two years ago and my readings made me join a local Transition group first, and start actively supporting food security in my community. This past summer, I attended a BC Food Systems Network gathering in Shawnigan Lake and we toured O.U.R. as part of our program. I fell in love with the landscape, the living Permaculture, the natural buildings and, more than any other things, with the people behind O.U.R.
I visited the Village with my little family again in August and spent four more days as part of my PDC. We also spent Thanksgiving there and enjoyed a much more intimate O.U.R.
Has the Village and/or becoming a sustainer had a wider impact on your life?
Definitely yes. O.U.R. and taking the Permaculture Design course have been (together with joining a local Transition group) one of the more (if not the most) impactful events in my life. O.U.R. has allowed me to remember that there are other ways to live, that we are not fully trapped, and that living with less and closer to the Earth are wonderful choices we can make.
When you aren’t at the Village, what would readers find you doing?
I work full time as a career counsellor and I’m very active in the community: I provide Emergency Preparedness and First Aid training for diverse communities, take part on the Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition and Village Surrey Transition initiative and act as a coordinator at my community garden (“Food for Thought” in South Surrey). I also blog a lot, both for my own and for non profits, including O.U.R. and write as freelancer for a magazine of national circulation.
As I’m planning my own future career switching, I’m also working towards a Diploma in Permaculture and facilitate food security workshops and community food and resilience mapping…I garden, cook and occasionally, relax reading a book.
Do you have one piece of advice or a favourite quote you’d like to share with readers?
My advice is to think for yourself and discover who you really are. Most people feel lonely, overwhelmed or frustrated with the state of the world, choose either turn inwards or become addicts of some kind. If instead, you turn outwards and open up to explore what others have done, how others feel and what else is to be done, your feelings of loneliness, frustration and overwhelming would switch to those of joy, peace and a sense of belonging and worth.
My quote for all of you is: “May you live everyday of your life” by Jonathan Swift
Anything else you would like to share?
If you haven’t done so, take a Permaculture course. If you live in city or town and are concerned about our future, join or start a Transition initiative with your community. If you haven’t try yet, start growing some of your food at home or join/start a community garden, or join a local CSA and volunteer with them.
Are you interested in becoming a sustainer?
Sustainers contribute $10 or $20 a month and receive 10–20% off courses and events, invitations to sustainers-only activities, free entrance to OUR annual Harvest Feast, and more. Learn more and sign up by following this link.