Well, reports about the arrival of spring have been greatly exaggerated. Cold weather and lots of rain continued to dominate the weather scene this month. But this hasn’t dampened the spirits of the OUR Ecovillagers and volunteers who have been leaning into spring with planting, greenhouse repairs, waste water treatment and deck construction and new program development. Read on for the full story of what is happening and upcoming at OUR ECOVILLAGE. Oh…by the way, Happy Easter everyone!!!


OUR ECOVILLAGE Coop, Education and Farm Manager updates (Brandy):

Here comes the season as it ramps up with more and more folks walking in the door to OUR ECOVILLAGE…and yet we said we were taking 2017 as somewhat of a ‘down year’. We cut back OUR Permaculture Design Course registration, we only took 2 Homesteaders this year, and took a break from a few other programs. And yet – we are really excited that there are more and more school programs contacting us all the time! We have created a new and inspiring “Sustainability: Then and Now” program and have began the season with support and partnership with the likes of the local CVRD, BC Royal Museum, the University of British Columbia, The Federal Government…and sooo very many local business/corporate sponsors/and like minded organizations!

Also new to us is having all 5+ of OUR new HearthKeepers integrate into OUR ECOVILLAGE and live onsite completing their HearthKeeper Internship and round out the awesome work of OUR Coop from the many years of designing and crafting a landshare project where all could share in equitable, farm based, small business inclusive, affordable housing…and village loving culture! With this as OUR focus we are really appreciating the incredible year to take time for OUR families and friends to dig in deeper into sustaining relationships and having space to be together in a way which does not have a huge tide of folks also moving through. We very much love all the wonderful co-learners…and now are loving all the support we are getting to move OUR coop collaboration to a next level.

With this we are also looking to share in the “New Tribe Experience” weekend this September 2017. Stay tuned as the co-founder of the ManKind Project, and a number of other community building processes, comes up to share in the creation of an incredible deeper dive into the international community building relationship work that is so integral to intentional communities and ecovillages around the work…

Even with lots of down time – we sure do have time for you to come for dinner or a cup of tea/visit and B&B guests! Let us know when you have time to come on around…

LASTLY – a tribute to OUR loved friends;

JOHN SHIELDS and his courageous life and passing last month. John was Freya’s ‘god-father’ but loved by my family for over 30+ years…and then he married good friend and previous Ecovillage Board member – Robin Hood. So many beautiful woven connections over the years and he will be dearly missed! We welcome Robin onsite for some time to dip into the medicine and healing of OUR ECOVILLAGE as she journeys this next time of transition and feels the love of a world of family and friends who support her from near and far.

MICHAEL WATERS (MOORE) for his brilliant and incredible friendship and support of all of us at OUR ECOVILLAGE over the last number of years of his life! Michael stepped in when times where challenging and he never stopped being the person who was there to make each and every person feel like they were so very important to the end of his days. He has a Legacy Project part in OUR Green Burial and there will be a Dogwood Tree planted in his honor sometime this summer when Sophie and the kids come to have some retreat time again.


Upcoming Courses

The big news for May will be the O.U.R. Permaculture Design Certificate with Earth Activist Training by Starhawk (beginning April 28) that is incorporated with the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) Course. PDC/EAT and EDE Certifications in one course!

The Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) Certificate Course is: Leadership Training for Being a Response-Able Catalyst for Regenerative Community. The village is the only place now to integrate these two into a single learning experience.

And for those of you who would prefer just an initiation to Permaculture, please note that we are offering an Intro to Permaculture weekend from April 28 to April 30.


CSA Update by Gracelynn Lau, Education Co-coordinator

THIS BOX IS NOT JUST A FOOD BOX! This is actually a range of foods, meats, eggs, breads, samples of treats, gift certificates, discounts and offsets from other local businesses even! This is also a great way to represent you local business if you would like us to advertise you on the South Island!

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA Boxes) are a huge movement towards supporting local food and local farmers!

We are excited to share with you that the Village Chippery will continue to take part in OUR Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Goody Box program this season! We want to extend OUR gratitude to the Chippery restaurant for nurturing the Shawnigan Lake community with their gourmet delicacies and supporting sustainable farming education in our community by being an OUR CSA box member. They have incorporated many of the seasonal vegetables into their salads and have been donating compost from the restaurant weekly to OUR garden for soil building!

OUR CSA Goody Box program is open for subscription now. Starting from June 1, 2017, OUR CSA member can pick up the Goody Box EVERY THURSDAY for 20 weeks. Pick up locations are at OUR ECOVILLAGE and Victoria.

OUR Veggie Box – includes vegetables for 2 or 3 people and fruit when available, a recipe, and an occasional sample of a locally-made product or service.

Full Season: $650 / Half Season: $325 (Jun–Aug or Aug–Oct)

OUR Lifestyle Box – includes vegetables for 4 or 5 people and fruit when available, a surprise OUR item, (e.g. eggs, sausages, canned goods), a recipe, and an occasional sample of a locally-made product or service.

Full Season: $850 / Half Season: $425 (Jun–Aug or Aug–Oct)

Online registration is available now, check out: OUR CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Goody Box program.


Building Update by Chris, Victor and Chad

2017 has OUR team building a new and creative building project with JUSTBIOFIBRE. We are creating a ‘hemp block’ new build system which has just come through the National Building Code. We are privileged to partner with this incredible new natural building start up corporate sponsor on a commercial project. The month of July will be filled with teachers, company educators, building inspectors, engineers, and lots of regulatory information for those who wish to build legal and outstandingly efficient natural buildings…check out the work through JUSTBIOFIBRE and look for OUR new webpage online showing all the program, day courses, open houses and wine and cheese with “Cascadia Collaborative” (previous Emerging Green Builders).

Now that we’ve jumped right into the growing season with lots of seedlings already sprouting and ready to be transplanted, our efforts have been focused on renovating the greenhouses and their garden beds. Particular attention has been given to the wooden structure with new spacers under the poly roof, supports for plants have been built and rotten boards from beds have been replaced with new ones. Thanks to Nathan and his amazing climbing skills, these improvements will turn our greenhouses into a cozy home for this year’s vegetables and fruits!

We also moved forward on our new waste water system by digging a trench that will bring hydro and control signals from both the wood shop and the barn to the gravel ponds area.

And as we are upgrading our kitchen to a professional level, our dry and cold food storage rooms received a new set of tiles. Thanks to Elodie‘s creativity, leadership and for bringing this project to completion!

Finally and after weeks of finishing, Taj 2’s upper level has now a brand new bathroom with a shower, a dry toilet and a sink. Warm colors using natural plaster have been applied and the custom made furniture fits perfectly. Thanks to Dave Helland for his amazing and meticulous work.


Volunteers and Homesteaders Update by Mark Berge

The month of April has been a wonderfully connective and productive stretch of time. OUR current crop of jubilant Homesteaders and vibrant volunteers have joined the hearth keepers and residents to form a cohesive culture of mutual support and by extension, the aforementioned productivity.

At this moment the word “family” comes to mind. And two of OUR’s, Pat & Sian, Homesteading superstars, are currently heading into the upcoming PDC/EAT upon the completion of which marks the end of their initial agreement with OUR. I am happy to tell you that there is a proposal in the works that looks to have them staying in the village for months to come. Hooray! Happy to have you here Pat & Sian.

Now, to the next portion of the update. It is not without a twinge of sadness that I announce the reality that a number of OUR beloved volunteers will be departing the village in the coming weeks. And as such I wish to shine a tremendously beatific light of gratitude upon those whose presence has been such a blessing: Bela & Kati, Brumby & Mark aka “DenMark”. Thank you so much. May we as a group collectively cherish the remaining days we have together and may we all keep the experiences we’ve shared, and will share, in our hearts. Thanks for all you’ve brought and continue to bring. Bless.


Sustainable Wellness Retreat by Gracelynn Lau, Education Co-coordinator

Tune into OUR Return To Your Creativity: Summer Solstice Retreat June 16 – 18 (Fri-Sun), 2017. You are more creative than you can imagine. And you don’t have to be artistic in order to be creative. Find the source of your unique way to be creative and reconnect with you passion and desires. This 3-day retreat is designed for you to expand your creative expressions in different ways: body movement and dance in the garden; breath work; sexual wellness and ceremony. We bring together wellness practitioners in the Cowichan Valley including a deep tissue massage therapist, cranial sacral therapist, homeopathy doctor, yoga therapist and acupuncturist to assist your wellness design. Come to find out the initial spark of your own creative power.

And, while you are at it, build your own sustainable wellness practice. Before you know it, summer will be knocking at your door! Are you ready for summer heat and the fun ahead? Before you and your family begin summer adventures and exciting activities, don’t forget to prepare your mind and body to transition into another action-packed summer.

We have some creative suggestions for your seasonal transition:

1. Change your routine, create new habits. The days are getting longer as we approach summer. It is the best time to create new routines. Try getting up earlier. Start a new morning ritual. If you are used to showering in the morning, try switching it to the evening and see what happens. Or alternate the flow of water from hot to cold back and forth to give your circulation a boost. Change something in your daily routine, your body will feel different!

2. Brainstorm and create a summer check list. What is your goal this summer? Sit down with your family to brainstorm all the fun ideas and activities you want to do this summer. Write them down and create a check list. You can even focus on one goal each week/month. Share it with your friends and ask them to join. When you look back in the fall, you will be amazed how much you have achieved as a family!

3. Homemade farm-to- table gourmet. Eating well is the basis of playing well. Try a new healthy cooking and eating style in the comfort of your own home. Visit a local farm gate sales or a farmers’ market. Sign up for OUR CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Goody Box program and expect to pick up a weekly seasonable vegetable and fruit box with a surprise item, e.g. eggs, sausages, canned goods and a recipe.

Sometimes the best way to cook something new for the family is to surprise yourself with a CSA box!

4. Don’t over schedule. Allow yourself and your family to get bored and do nothing once in a while. Recall how creative you are when you daydream! Make sure you spend time doing nothing!

These ideas and much more will be covered in the Return To Your Creativity: Summer Solstice Retreat

See you there!


Village Heart Yoga Retreat by Satiya Channer

Village Heart Yoga is pleased, with the support of OUR ECOVILLAGE, to offer its third annual spring one-day yoga & nature retreat. Sunday, June 11 from 10:00 to 5:30pm. You will participate in a power yoga practice led by Fiji McAlpine RYT 500 of DoYogaWithMe. Fiji formerly taught yoga at Hudson Yoga and Hemma Yoga both in Victoria. You will then be led by Satiya, RYT 500 Yoga Therapists (also of DoYogaWithMe) on a walking nature meditation to a beautiful picnic lunch spot. After lunch you’ll return to the ECOVILLAGE for a gentle restorative Yin practice.

A full day of yoga to reset your energy for the beautiful summer ahead. At the end of the day you’re invited and to stay at OUR for dinner in OUR beautiful community. Look for more details in the next newsletter and ways to register on OUR website in the coming month. Enjoy your spring!


OUR ECOVILLAGE Hosts Syrian Refugee Gala

On Saturday, April 22, the village played host to over 60 generous and concerned individuals for the benefit of a Syrian refugee family to enable them to reunite with other immediate family members. There was drumming, dancers, music and a feast of Middle East delicacies. All village hands were on deck to make this happen and to help with logistics, food and set up. Community connection and community building at it’s finest – village style. All of us are invited to really look into our hearts and minds of how we embrace the many peoples of our local communities and how to support each other in all our different needs/dreams/families!


So…that about wraps up April at OUR Ecovillage.