OUR COOPERATIVE REPORT – Brandy Gallagher
What a year! Here we are as a village, and perhaps as a planet….facing some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced perhaps.
So much the work of OUR Ecovillage has focused on creating structure, legal/regulatory processes and frameworks and as always….the human beings are the ones which can never be accounted for or designed/planned for. The variety of individuals who have come through as visitors from backgrounds and countries all over the world – has been amazing. At times there has been over 12 countries/languages represented in OUR Gratitude Circle! The quintessential question: how to co-create ‘Cooperative Culture’ together.
This journey has been hard for OUR Coop as we recognize that most folks do not necessarily know how to run their own business, not to mention that if we do then we often have to shift skills in order to learn how to run multi-business facets and individual enterprises as a collective. Mainstream culture does not prepare any of us for this kind of shared experience….and inclusive decision making often feels very ‘weighty’ because of the additional time, complexity, and re-definement of value systems. This indeed is the next phase of learning for not only the world at large – but for us as well.
OUR team is looking at how to re-focus individuals and organizations to begin an immersion in this type of learning.
As part of linking with this wider ‘world work’ we are also very happy to be finally able to begin installation of OUR Ecovillage’s new LIVESTREAM Project with Stream of Consciousness and the Cowichan Valley Regional District/local government. This is an exciting achievement as OUR team is now able to bring teachers in from all over the world and create accessibility for them to have real time conversations within OUR current courses…and even to teach curriculum of their own. This also mean that folks who are teaching or presenting OUR/their own work in on site programs can be streaming out to an unlimited number of people around the world. Suddenly OUR educational programming has such large shift in the ability to create access and inclusion for all!
Another major opportunity which OUR team has created is the launch of programming with a number of wider world programs; from the United nations (Sustainable Development Goals) to the Global Ecovillage Network’s first North American ‘Training of Trainers’ for sustainable development. It is an important evolution of the village to be able to network into the wider world of organizations, government departments and universities/colleges. If you have ideas or organizational needs which you might wish to see built into this next phase….please let us know!
Lastly, this fall has seen OUR Ecovillage Coop take on a major partnership project with the Federal Government, business/corporate partners, other organizations and non-profits titled “Closing the Loop on Affordable Housing”. Stay tuned for working with all your favourite Permaculture Teacher/Designers, regulatory folks, and technology peeps, as we build; heat/energy/solar well/rainwater harvesting/greywater reclamation/composting toilet systems that are all interdependent for a housing cluster built with ecological design and salvaged materials construction. This is a showcase for Canada and will be a very important demonstration project to be monitored by industry and government for many years.
All this great work will be designed/dreamt/drawn over the next months of long winter evenings. We have such a beautiful team of wondrous volunteers and OUR staff that are ready to hunker down and focus on completing, cleaning/sorting, finishing work, outreach, partnership development, and major IT and infrastructure upgrades. We are aware that having months ahead to relax and rejuvenate is well deserved and we look forward to hanging out with you around the fire, playing board games and long intimate conversations over large pots of tea! Come for a visit or skype on in and let us know how you are!
-Brandy Gallagher, Board Chair