Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.

Ban Blog August 7

Brandy’s Blog (August 7, 2014)


Hello Community friends and family–time passes so quickly in this journey of mine called ‘recovery’!  It is tempting to me often to pick up so many balls that are flying in the air currently and…to run with them.  I have to monitor myself not to simply ‘jump in’ and help so much as is my nature yet I realize that this is not the time yet.  Strange for someone like me who is often focused on a ‘solution focus’ and creatively working on what is being asked of me.

Here is the thing–I am not really sure at present what is the highest and best way for me to serve at present.  I am grounded in my efforts to realize that any “Commons” project needs time for people and place to materialize the next phases of what is being asked for…and yet not yet clear of what is the most impactful way for me to serve and contribute.  A best way to frame this came from the wisdom council of travelling to treatment and doctors appointments with Bill…the former owner of the lands of OUR ECOVILLAGE. We often talk through what is next for this place and project.  On our last trip, and after much discussion of the challenges, he said something very significant (if you do not know this information I will tell you that Bill was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has walked this journey with his process, mine, and that of so many others in such a magical manner).  Bill said:  “don’t try and figure this one out yet!  Stay in the listening. And…ask everyone around you of significance what they think I should do?” With this in mind–my deeply personal request is for feedback of all sorts. I ask that you email me at and these emails will be passed on to me. 

Having said this I will tell you more.  Lately I have been online with so many of the original folks from OUR.  From people in Victoria who founded the original OUR in the ’90s (!), to founders of OUR ECOVILLAGE, to funders of grants/donations/volunteership.  In the last week I have been online with Elke Cole (Cameroon and Germany), Ben Garratt (Vancouver), John Smith (Wales), Patricia Henderson, Patrick Jackson, etc etc. One very large realization I had was that not only do I need my community but I need my elders!!! I put myself to the test and the task of learning how to lead from a place of heart with so many amazing peoples. A major noticing i have is that 6 of the main peoples who informed my leadership have passed away in the last many years…this is not easy for me (and I know for others too!).  I used to try and be pretty well behaved in terms of listening well to instruction/advice/leadership from these elders.  Many belonged to the Intentional Communities Movement, the Co-op Movement, land trusts/protection, farming community, therapists/community development, etc etc.  And too many have left us – though I know many new are up and coming!  Being raised within a First Nations community, a communal community, and in the wilderness…i know the importance of hearing my elders and taking heed.  Regardless, of your age, experience, or path…I call in your guidance now!!!!  I NEED to know what is a major directional shift for me to support and take.

By way of background–I have always worked in some capacity to serve ‘the greater good’ with less regard for anything to do with personal gain.  Some might argue that it has been to the determinant of myself, my family, and even the village at times.  I get this.  And….if you have ideas I would love to hear them and I know the other major contributors of OUR ECOVILLAGE would too!  There is a conflict for some of the heart, the mind and the hands which put a ‘Commons Project’  into manifestation.  Currently, I serve as the Heart, Rick Juliusson (Acting Executive Director) as the Hands and Jason Guille as the Mind. Any amazing magical space such as this deserves to have the likes of those I name…and yet if you believe your name should be there too (or even that you think we should be doing something different it behooves you to say so these days!).  OUR ECOVILLAGE has had both its share of supporters (and then some) and its detractors….this is our community creating!  Anyone who has ever put there hands to any of the structural planning of this place has stated that OUR is a microcosm of the macro.

Another point worthy to mention is debt and the valuing of capitalistic, consumer based culture that is still part of OUR (and hopefully everyone else’s) movement towards an alternative relating to sustainable living.  I hoped to be a beacon in the world that exemplifies ‘alternative economy’….sacred economics.  This has been my spiritual, mindful, and physical journey towards co-creating a 25 acre “Regenerative Living Demonstration Site and Education Centre” at OUR ECOVILLAGE.  Having hosted 10K+ per year–through every conceivable means has been no easy feat! (the online traffic alone is unmanageable through 6 computer addresses).  Try to serve on a big level and you might get a big response…

Many people have said of late; “why does OUR need to fundraise”, “what is going on economically on the ground that folks can not keep OUR afloat without reaching out”, “why carry debt”, etc etc.  Though OUR team has tried over the last many years to restrict any of this from having to be so…the simple choice remains that ‘the commons’ is not easily inclusive without the common support of all!!!  Attempts have always been to bring a ‘common ownership model’ to bear on title of the lands and projects of OUR to honour the commons.  The more innovation and possibility that is created – the more OUR work does not fit into conventional frameworks/governance/finance, etc.  With this I recognize that I have never been ‘in debt’ (other than some short term student loans) until I came into the group process of a non-profit creating a commons.  Crazy, but true, I question if I should have gone along with so many peoples ideas of what the commons should include.  Can humans create an aspect of possibility that contains the common good of everyone’s ideas, projects, activism, creativity, even sometimes sketchy notions of ‘what is needed’….at OUR ECOVILLAGE.  To my fault perhaps…I have said every prospective is necessary, every hope is necessary, and every notion of what is ‘the right way’ should be honoured’.  I notice that many folks do not always agree and there is the rich tension between non-profit culture, cooperative culture, intentional community culture, and social profit culture.  Again – the micro and macro lens needs to be applied.  How humans do something is how we do everything from the Bhuddist perspective.  OUR ECOVILLAGE seems to remain as a common/mainstream perspective on what is going on in the wider context of human relations; with ourselves, with each other, and with earth.

After having visited with Stephen Jenkinson lately on Mayne Island….I am left asking what it is that we are all meant to be doing together, what will have us co-habitat this planet, and what will have us move forward with OUR ECOVILLAGE  as a human laboratory of co-existence?  Do we seek spaces of collaboration, the sacred, and a means for humans to work out our/OUR daily dramas of love/power/cooperation/collectivism/co-creation….and if so how?

I sign off with the opportunity for all of us to take a good long hard look.  If we do not wish a model of capitalism and consumerism…what will it take to keep Protecting OUR ECOVILLAGE Forever?    Tell me and I will serve in whatever ways I can….

In community, as always – Brandy

Permaculture. Sustainable Food Production. Natural Building. Education. Community.