Wherever co-operatives are found, and no matter for what purpose the model has been adopted, they reflect the will of people to work together in order to have a measure of control over their future, improve some aspect of their lives, and contribute to the betterment of their communities. Two of the seven international principles guiding the growth of co-ops are Democratic Control by Members and Member Economic Participation. Co-operatives are owned by members and meant to be democratically controlled by them through an elected board – which in turn is accountable back to the members. Co-operatives encourage Economic Participation by members as a way of demonstrating that they are invested in their own business ventures.
OUR Ecovillage Co-operative is coming into an exciting time of new growth and expansion. We are undertaking a fall membership drive and major capital financing campaign to raise the necessary monies for purchasing this beautiful 25 acres property here at Shawnigan Lake. Below is a brief description of these actions. More details will be coming soon but we encourage you to contact us if you are interested in membership in the co-op and/or supporting the co-op/ecovillage in any of these ways.
1. Welcoming new members to the co-op: OUR is a “multi-stakeholder” co-op. This means there are several categories of membership. These include: agricultural stewards, sustainable enterprise stewards, educational stewards, community stewards, and long term residents called Hearthkeepers. Sustainable Enterprise stewards form a group of members who operate green businesses on site that support the ecovillage’s vision and mission. Community Stewards can include anyone who wants to be involved in some way to support the co-op/ecovillage – these people may or may not live in the geographical area but demonstrate support in a variety of ways. Each class has the right to be represented on the board of the co-op and will contribute to developing a strategic plan for their membership class, which may be in conjunction with on-the-ground operational teams composed largely of summer residents. Membership in the co-op is $5,000.
2. RRSP and Investment Shares: We are currently setting up a self-directed RRSP program through the Canadian Co-op Worker Federation which will allow members and non-members to purchase membership and investment shares in the co-op. Investment shares are $1,000 each. We hope to have this share purchase option available within the next month.
3. Partnering with the Land Conservancy: OUR Ecovillage Co-operative has partnered with the Land Conservancy of BC to place a covenant on the land and protect this 25 acre parcel into the future. The Land Conservancy has agreed to accept tax-deductible
donations for this purpose and has listed OUR Ecovillage on its website as a property the public may contribute their donations toward. Protect OUR Ecovillage Forever campaign here.
4. Commemorative Conservation Scattering Grounds: As part of the agreement with TLC, and in partnership with the Green Burial Council of North America, OUR has also developed the first conservation scattering ground for dispersing human remains – in an ecologically sensitive manner. Individuals or families can make arrangements for having their (non-toxic) ashes scattered on the property in part by making a tax-deductible donation to TLC who channels that donation back to OUR. We have already had strong expressions of interest from the broader community that they are supportive of these efforts. This program will also position OUR to be the benefactor of bequests that families wish to make in memory of loved ones.
These are a few of the ways OUR Ecovillage Co-operative is creating ways to invite greater involvement by our community of supporters in helping us to achieve the vision of creating a thriving sustainable model ecovillage. We hope you will consider joining us in this exciting adventure.
To find out more please contact Patrick Jackson, President of OUR Ecovillage Co-operative, firstname.lastname@example.org or Joy Emmanuel, Co-op Member Education Coordinator, email@example.com.
Co-op Week October 17-22
Another opportunity to find out about OUR Ecovillage Co-operative is by joining us for a social, tour, meals and/or presentation during Co-op Week October 17-22.
Monday, October 17th – private meeting
Saint Michael’s University High school Social Studies 10 class attends “Creating Cooperation: Youth Moving forward in Sustaining Community”
All day program with presentations and hands on cooperative project
Tuesday, October 18th – open, please RSVP
3-5pm “Come and meet OUR Cooperative Board and OUR ECOVILLAGE” – Wine and Cheese gathering.
Wednesday, October 19th – private meeting
T’Sourke Nation Elders Gathering and “Mentorship and Cooperation in Community: Walking the Red Road” presentation.
Thursday, October 20th – evening concert, by donation.
OUR Ecovillage is totally delighted to host an impromptu acoustic concert from Morelove on Thursday night, October 20th as part of Coop week. Morlove an experimental folk band created by the banding together of songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Corwin Fox and folk-pop singer-songwriter Miss Emily Brown. They will be joined by other members of their band.
Donations are requested at the door to help defray the costs of the band. Tell all your friends to come enjoy an intimate night of soul stirring music at O.U.R. Ecovillage with Corwin and Emily and the Ecovillage crew!
Door opens at 7.30pm for O.U.R. Kombucha and Kefir aperitifs, concert at 8pm.
please note – due to a scheduling mishap, the following event will not happen: University of Victoria Co-op week Presentations and keynote (Brandy Gallagher – OUR and Deborah Curran – Lead lawyer for F.O.G. [finance, ownership, and governance for commonshare projects] Research Program) with “The Center For Cooperative and Community Based Economy”
Saturday, October 22nd
Morning tour with available lunch pre-registered
OUR ECOVILLAGE Cooperative presentation on the new “Commemorative Conservation Legacy Project: a green burial option” and OUR Coops partnership with The Land Conservancy of BC.
10am-12pm Site Tour – Costs: Tour $15 & Lunch $9 – please reserve for lunch.
Join us for the tour and come and explore this amazing community. Please call to register and for more information: 250-743-3067