A Message From OUR New Stewardship Council
My name is Jason Guille and I’m a Director of the OUR Community Association non-profit. For the last 3 years I have been supporter and project contributor at OUR, before joining the Board before Christmas. With Brandy’s recent diagnosis of a major health issue–we find ourselves at an abrupt pivot point in OUR history. Naturally, Brandy’s wellness and the village’s sustainability have become the two primary focal points for the community that we are, and the community that we serve. We have been asking ourselves a lot of big questions. The biggest of these big questions have consistently been, “How would the village go on without Brandy?”.
It is real that Brandy’s state of health is the ultimate challenge at present, and of course we are intending will all our hearts & thoughts that she can come through this period of surgery & treatment as smoothly as possible. With grace on our side, perhaps she can rejoin the active team later this year. Meanwhile, and being responsible to all the possible scenarios here, we have some very real work to do to protect OUR Ecovillage and the tens of thousands of hours of design & work its existence represents.
To that end, a great number of Brandy & OUR Ecovillage allies have come together to ensure the good work and long legacy of the village is protected. These allies include close friends & community members, the non-profit & co-op Boards of Directors, past program leaders & alumni, community partners, fellow permaculturalists and many others. Together, we have set out to answer these big questions in conversation, and in practice.
We quickly landed on 3 primary & immediate goals – 1) bring a broad-skilled & well-resourced transition team together to support the Ecovillage Board, staff and community members to navigate the coming 12 months. 2) to find a very talented manager to step in operationally as a transition to a potentially new Executive Director. 3) raise funds sufficient to run the farm for 1 year, and empower the transfer of the land from the non-profit Board fully into the ownership of the Co-op. All of these objectives are now well in process (roughly $150,000).
Brandy & I recently hosted a call with an amazing group of community partners and allies, exploring all these big questions and determining if and how people might wish to participate in this transition. The support and presence from this body of leaders was moving, and resulted in the formation of a 20-member unofficial body we have come to call the Stewardship Council. The members of the Council have agreed to be actively engaged for what we have declared as a year of transition–to bring their ideas, resources, connections and heart to ensuring the village’s sustainability–and evolution.
Despite the serious context within which all this has happened, we are working to treat this like an opportunity–an opportunity to give Brandy and her family the time and space to be together and heal…an opportunity to bring in fresh eyes at the top levels and introduce new ideas to the village’s sustainability…an opportunity to complete a number of projects like the zero-mile eatery to empower the village’s economic sustainability, and so on.
The number one priority at this point is the financial stability of the village. To that end, we are actively creating a new Sustainers program (www.ecovillage.org/protectour
The biggest challenge in Brandy’s history becomes, by defacto, the biggest challenge in the village’s history. That said – OUR Ecovillage is full of and surrounded by amazing, brilliant, creative people who are all stepping forward to protect OUR. We have quite the task ahead of us, and we welcome your participation – at any or all levels of what is to come. On behalf of the Stewardship Council and OUR Community Association Board of Directors, thank you so much for your ongoing support & love–it means the world to the village, in light of what the village might mean to the world.
Chair, OUR Community Association