Big Changes As The New Season Unfolds…March 2017 Newsletter
After an unusually long, cold and snowy winter, spring has finally arrived! We are very fortunate that our fruit trees, berry bushes and all site infrastructure more than stood up to the test of such a trial! Incredible gratitude and thanks to OUR winter team and their loving care. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were such that we’ve lost our two hives…But we are now back to work and preparing the new season, with lots of projects going on!
Here’s what happened in March:
O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE COOPERATIVE AND EDUCATION COORDINATOR:
Ohhh ya – transformation is full out in OUR world of community here at the Village! This week we celebrate OUR 18th year together in co-creation of the many projects and possibilities at O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE. It is almost as if every dream, design, drawing is coming to fruition and/or completion. There is kind of a humble smugness of…”we said so” and then we have gone beyond even OUR wildest wishes. And in some ways — it is time to take a bow and accept the acknowledgement of whatever aspect of this we might each have played in the puzzle pieces of O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE.
Onsite we have been reminiscing lots over the winter. With Nancy/Charles becoming Hearthkeepers last year we have had many amazing experiences. It was incredible to have Bill Blount (the former land steward/farmer of the lands of OUR) come for lunch – when I went to introduce him to Nancy – I was stopped in my tracks. In a flight of ‘deja vu’ we each were brought back to the day when OUR team first came to the land in 1997…Nancy walked the land with me, Eialina, Robin, Morris, Marcel, and Nic et al; and met Bill that same day. In March of 1999 we all met again when Nancy actually packed the kitchen for Bill when we all moved into the farm (and Bill was moving out!). There were many tears as we talked through OUR original conversations 20 years ago…and how incredible it is to know that we are all in this life altering process together! Still! It was a secondary joy to introduce (for the first time!) Nancy to Matty as she handed him a cheque to buy him out from his HearthKeeper Lease and to let go of the last of all business obligations from the times previous of when OUR Coop took over full title of all the lands and projects at O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE. Such a feeling of exhilaration and wonder to fulfill on every plan and agreement OUR has embarked on — and to have done it with such beautiful connections and crafting of every step! Much to be proud of.
Though we were taking a break from as many educational programs this year…suddenly we are booked solidly for much of the year. Though we voted to not have a longer internship this year – OUR hearts were drawn to a few folks that we brought in on a special offering of a different framework from OUR previous Homesteader Program. With this OUR full attention is going towards the development of the village for children and families as central to living sustainably – and more fully focusing on educating for 7 generations. We are excited to ramp up OUR Farm and Nature Children/Family school – and have Ali and her children co-creating the new teacher position and curriculum. TAJ2 classroom is beautiful and the children have begun designing the gardens with us and roaming the wild spaces…they are inviting learners who are visiting to come and check out their ‘Children’s Tribe’ projects.
Yuri and Luc – OUR EcoNest owners and Coop Hearthkeepers are moving onsite this summer permanently. Now that they are here full time it means Yuri will be taking on OUR Healing Sanctuary and the new “Sustainable Wellness Programs” within her medical practice. They are also running many of the “Little Permie Peoples Children/Family Camp” offerings…with a whole twist on medicines, artistic miracles, mysteries…and more! Come to the open house days to see the beautiful work…
…and to see all of us for the year!
2017 OUR Regenerative Village Living And Homesteader Re-Skilling Update
We are extremely pleased to announce that this year’s Homesteaders have begun to plant their roots here in the village. And given the discussions that took place last fall, where possibly not running a Homesteader program in 2017 was seriously considered; we are thrilled to be unveiling a revised program with an increased focus on regenerative living and self directed re-skilling. So the program has been rejuvenated and OUR team is more than ready to walk this intentional community journey with OUR newest recruits.
Responding to the call, three eager teacher/learners have jumped straight in with both feet and have already begun to forge their place as contributing members of OUR team. And as we continue to move further into the experiential learning magic that unfolds here year after year, we’ll watch with great anticipation to see how we might blossom together. Please join us in welcoming OUR newest Homesteaders: Patrick Droste, Sian Hughes and Ali Attew (with family: Jason, Ashton/Hawk, Alexandrea, Grace and Carol).
Feel like meeting these beauties in person, well come by the village and say hi. The program comes to it’s end May 14th so don’t delay.
Once again, a gratitude filled welcome to Patrick, Sian, Ali and family. Welcome home.
(Mark Edwin Berge, Volunteer Coordinator and Education Team Member)
Also welcoming our new volunteers and staff members!
Earlier this month, we had the pleasure to also welcome our new team of volunteers and so many of OUR staff members back! It’s a very diverse group, from all ages and different parts of the world. And the least we can say is that they’re very passionate about learning Permaculture and Community Living. O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE is very grateful for their energy, motivation and curiosity. Here’s a picture of the group during the Orientation Day, with Brandy bringing everyone into OUR immersed learning environment through OUR general tour including a 1) one hour PowerPoint history/design/development/future plans for OUR, and 2) a one hour onsite walk getting into each of the buildings and teaching of the design and systems within the village.
A major step towards soil building!
This year, one of OUR’s main focus is to establish a long-term soil building strategy. The plan is to develop the necessary knowledge and understanding of the whole soil food web and – using tools such as compost, compost teas, mulch and effective microorganisms – create a healthy living soil environment that will allow us to grow healthier and more nutrient rich vegetables and fruits. Our CSA members should appreciate the initiative! This picture was taken during the “Compost tea and effective microorganisms workshop” led by Christina Nikolic from Gaia College.
Did you think the snow would keep the building team from moving forward?
Well, it sure didn’t! So much happened over the winter and March, thanks to our team leader Chad and his great motivational skills. Our gratitude goes to Dave Helland for his help building all the cabinets and vanities in the Eatery and the demonstration kitchen. Many thanks also to Shylene Schlackl for leading the great mosaic work on our stairs as an ongoing stream of us onsite, visitors, and OUR talented children (who made their own little cob houses in the permaculture principled design). It almost feels like we now need a kayak to go down! Sacred Water is indeed the theme of OUR world these days…
On our journey to create wheelchair accessible areas on the site, we started building a deck between the Eatery and the Farmhouse/Guesthouse. This project has been made possible by the generous support of Dogwood Lumber, from which we received 5000 lineal feet of yellow cedar, a 45 gallons drum of natural preservatives donated by Heritage Natural Finishes and thousands of GRK’s donated by Carl Robb at ITW Construction Products and GRK Fasteners Canada. Just wait to see the results!
Even our beautiful barn got a roof update with a new set of screws (well, a few thousands!). Wes and Victor had to put on their harnesses and courageously defied the laws of gravity to complete this task. This improvement will allow us to install our new modern solar panels system in a very near future!
Last but not least, while daring the cold weather, we were able to move forward in completing OUR ‘Wastewater Demonstration Project’ (monitor project with the new Ministry of Health Regulations) system with the addition of two new retaining tanks and seeing the near completion of 6000 lineal feet of subsurface irrigation/nutrient lines. Anticipating its completion OUR Food Forests received many of the 115 HUGE blueberry plants we rescued last month…this incredible ‘climate change adaptation strategy design/build project’ will support the very large amount of harvest we expect from the fruits of OUR labour in this ecosystem of food delights. Bring on the value-added opportunities…
Stay tuned for the upcoming 2017 natural building program that will include Bio Fiber materials for our new office building!
(Victor Mauroy, Building Team and Outreach Team)
Update from the Sustainable Wellness Program
It is time to wake up our body and mind from the long winter hibernation. We spring into wellness over the Spring Equinox weekend with OUR first Sustainable Wellness 3 days retreat. Raw food chef Diana Marchand shared tips on healthy eating daily routine and food as medicine simple recipes, also co-created a colorful detoxifying salad and pesto for lunch with all the participants. Carrie Ingrisano, integrative family nurse practitioner from Cline Medical Centre gave an informative companion guide for detox food plan at her interactive presentation and wellness dinner. Retreat participants enjoyed a morning of sound healing during yin yoga practice, followed by a silence walk to the wild side of the land harvesting the first growth of stinging nettle and learned to DIY nettle tincture. On Saturday evening the community joined together for a Spring Equinox ceremony where each of us has a chance to reflect back on the things that we wanted to let go of and the “new seeds” that we are ready to plant for the coming season.
Starting this Spring we are also gathering women of all ages for a full moon women’s circle. This monthly women’s circle is open to all women in the Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay areas, who looking for sisterhood and mutual support and those who want to support other women to build resilience. Upcoming full moon women’s circle will be on April 10 (Mon) 7:30pm at OUR healing sanctuary.
Check out our Return to Your Creativity: Summer Solstice Retreat June16 – June18 (Fri-Sun), For more information: http://ourecovillage.org/retreats/
(Gracelynn Lau Chung-yan, education coordinator and co-creator of OUR sustainable wellness retreat).
A New Season of Village Heart Yoga 2017
The light is returning, the sun’s warmth is beginning to reach this part of the planet again. The trees are budding, flowers coming into bloom. We’ve increased our daylight hours and therefore our energies are increasing. Let’s move that energy throughout our bodies as well with yoga practice here at O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE.
Tuesday 6:30 – 7:30am
Thursday 6:30 am – 7:30am
Drop-in practice $12
Commit to 4+ practices pay only $10per
Presently, we practice indoors but once the weather warms up more, the mornings are brighter and the rains stop, we will practice outdoors. We’ll do yoga walks in the forest or practice a top OUR’s Vision Hill bathed in the light of the rising sun. Outdoor practice should start in June some time (keep you posted).
There is also a day retreat planned for early to mid-June. More details to follow in upcoming newsletters
Come get more in tune with the energy of the land, feel it move through you as you connect to self in a greater way. Please call to book yourself in 250.686.4466.
(Practice led by Satiya, Yoga Therapist. RYT 500hrs).