Executive Director’s Report – February 2014
And another year begins…..
After taking the last two weeks of December and all of January as ‘the village is closed’ time – February has OUR team all off and running with renewed energy and opportunity! Huge decisions were made last November and many changes are on the horizon for 2014 and the activities at OUR ECOVILLAGE.
After looking at the last few years and all the incredible efforts which have been made by 1000’s of volunteers OUR core team has made the new choice. Given a relatively small handful of highly dedicated and committed folks have held together the seemingly, at times anyway, impossible task of keeping the village expanding and taking on a higher level of capacity – there is a plan to actually tuck in and focus on the internal and interpersonal levels of village life. With over 15 years of attempting to serve every diverse need, personality, levels of expectation, and learning focus….we have never built ourselves homes and taken the space to nurture OUR families. As valiant as it is to try and provide for every need requested to be fulfilled by others including Ministry departments asking if the village would take children/families in high levels of crisis, and wider community projects referring homeless, to highly disabled folks being brought by family members who need assistance for them. It is clear the village has been many things for many people.
Always attempting to be a haven from the isolation and exclusion often found present in the mainstream culture of North America. With high intentions to create an ongoing place of belonging, healing, and personal responsibility and accountability…it is clear that the culture of this continent (excepting still many elements of First Peoples cultures) is not yet all that great at actually living/working together cooperatively. As a counter balance to this….the decision is to dig in deeper!
As a kick off to the year we have all teachers, staff and volunteers becoming certified
Permaculture Teachers. With incredible connections to Permaculture Institute of North America, Cascadia Permaculture (Jude Hobbs), will guide all newer staff through to being fully supported to working with a variety of learning styles and learners needs. In the same month we will be kicking off an international connection exploring the ‘Indigenousness’ of all who work as change agents and focus on the deepest levels of purpose and spiritual path that has each who step forward with regenerative/sustainable living work as supported by Ger Lyons and incredible Shamanic teacher, activist and magician from Ireland. This all moves forward in a cumulative experience for OUR core team, HearthKeepers, staff, volunteers and Intern group as each person learns the ways and means to live and work together with a regenerative purpose.
Another really big shift for this year comes with OUR new partnership with The Haven
(Gabriola Island) as we embark on a pilot program to “Come Alive Sustainably”. As a response to the deep challenge experienced/witnessed not only at OUR ECOVILLAGE in being with folks as we all try and live/work together cooperatively….but also an opportunity which will be offered for other boards of directors from organizations, intentional community members or wanna-bes, ecovillagers, coop members, non-profit members (and generally anyone who comes from all the well intentioned groups who strive to make a positive difference in the world and yet are in struggle, conflict and chaos as an organization or collective). The program will be a pilot with many folks from wide and far who have come through Haven and/or are looking to work within conscious relationship processes in order to be advocates for healthy change in the world (personally, interpersonally, environmentally, spiritually, and….). As relationship is everything in village culture this becomes a very exciting next step for those who are living/working at OUR ECOVILLAGE yet also for the wider community as this program is crafted for such a wider scope of needs in our bio-region and beyond.
You are gonna want to get yourself over to visit and see all the beautiful changes on the ground as all of this learning is occurring. With an incredible array of heartfelt villagers there is a great groove to fit yourself right into. Whether you make it for OUR biggest Permaculture Design Certification buffet of teachers yet (which is now combined with Starhawk and Charles Williams’ EARTH ACTIVIST TRAINING) or you simply come into OUR immersed learning environment of the new Zero Mile Meal Eatery…..you will feel nurtured and grounded in the crafted spaces filled with crafted foods. Houses are going for finishing (and a new surprise on that front potentially too – stay tuned!) and new permaculture/food/water systems are being taken on.
With an international team of really amazing folks this all becomes possible. This is the most intercultural and diverse year – with new artisan crafting at OUR core – that we have experienced yet. We will only be choosing a small and select group of Interns for this year. All of the previous teams are becoming one team and OUR year is about “Regenerative Living and Community Homesteading” …..please feel free to jump in, grab a shovel with us, as we dig deeper into the next phase of OUR ECOVILLAGE.