OUR ECOVILLAGE Cooperative Report
Report by Brandy Gallagher
This has been the most wonderous fall! With the extra weeks of sun OUR team has been able to create so much beauty, so many completions, so much organizing, so much loving care in putting OUR gardens/farm to bed (well at least 2/3 of it).
It is such a mixed feeling of the juiciness of starting to ‘fall’ into good books/movies/games that the long awaited early evenings brings at this time of year…..and yet the quiet feeling of so many of OUR beloved friends/volunteers returning to their homes or starting their next travels. We have had such an outstanding team of villagers this year with a deep deep connection of relationship first – the effort of shared land tending, cooking for each other, sharing the load, and welcoming new visitors to the village becomes almost effortless as we enjoy each other so much in these days of gratitude for all we have done this year.
An incredible achievement this year was to host and outstanding “Westcoast (+North America) Communities Conference”. With over 130 folks present – there was a mix of presentations, international guests, local achievements, well known founders/authors/elders in the movement to the range of folks who had just began to put their toe in the waters of intentional communities and what we are all up to!…there was even a 10 piece musical/reflection evening with Solaris. What a moving experience after O.U.R. has been intertwined in the intentional communities movement for 30 years (10 years in Victoria prior to becoming an ‘ecovillage’ and was OUR House).
One of the greatest learnings has been for OUR ECOVILLAGE Cooperative to see how to shift and change with OUR own changes. We realize that we are on to a new era for 2020…..and it will be the completion of OUR 20th year! Feels auspicious to have 20 years to celebrate all the more for this 2020 vision we began. At this time it is easy to see that OUR villagers have spent most all efforts over these decades in fulfilling on all of the visions/goals/hopes of so many people who shared in OUR lives. We have put the 10’s of thousands of learners who come to OUR non-profit (and non-profit Cooperative) as a first priority. We ensured that the ideas/designs/needs of all those who wished to become part of OUR journey was a highest priority as well. We worked endlessly with Government (all 3 levels), training programs of ever sort to support the ‘skilling up’ those in the wider community who realize that it is of vital important to transform ourselves all towards a more regenerative culture and living even more sustainably on this planet, and further with academic programs of all walks and talks! Every step of the way we have put OUR efforts towards supporting the needs of children/youth education that would in all ways lead towards a healthier/happier/more holistic way for them to live and play in the world (K-12 programming has been a main focus this year with new ‘Inquiry Based Learning Programs’ and transferrable modules for public and private schools. Some of the best work of OUR’s ever!). What we have not done well though…..is look after OUR long term intended HearthKeepers! In all the years of OUR ECOVILLAGE we did not put as much effort to OURselves as we did to the shorter term learners/visitors and needs (including buildings/infrastructure/etc for all of these humans). This has meant some of the most amazing of OUR villagers did not stay, and were not able to stay, because of having no housing and no solid container in which to build community within OUR ECOVILLAGE. This is a disclosure which carries a mixed feeling….outstanding that sooo many humans have supported soooo many humans and yet at the same time – families need homes and stability. 2020 really must be the year for OUR HearthKeepers to take on this important next step of full legal/final approval processes for affordable and healthy housing. It is the year for current HearthKeepers and new HearthKeepers who are really to begin their learning journey of living at OUR ECOVILLAGE.
With this in mind we are beginning a new Internship of “Regenerative Living Culture Building and Deep Adaptation Internship 2020”. This Internship is a full featured ‘boot camp’ for those who wish to become a provisional member (and eventually HearthKeeper) at OUR ECOVILLAGE – but will also be a pilot project for other ecovillages/intentional communities who may wish to learn from the template of this Internship for onboarding within their own re-villaging work. Ecovillages/intentional communities across North America in particular struggle with a wide variety of issues within onboarding of new communitarians and it brings to light many social/political/legal/and values based questions. Usually those seeking innovation and alternative culture often are only coming from the experiences of mainstream/conventional culture, and thus it is hard to build towards this without building a new range of skills and ways of belonging. Stay tuned for more information on this new program as we shift gears and focus more on the ‘Deep Adaptation’ needed by OUR own structure as we know that there is no other choice but to move forward. And we will keep you appraised of any new HearthKeeper applicants for long term cooperative membership and living within OUR ‘Healthy and Affordable EcoHousing Cluster’ —
And finally…some of OUR biggest news is that we are in the process of uncovering the next steps in becoming a ‘Peace University’. There is much to say about this as we move forward and yet for now we mostly wish to ask as to how anyone reading OUR Newsletter might wish to become involved in this new focus for OUR ECOVILLAGE. Please reach out and let us know if you might wish to be on a committee of the whole while we circle up (in person and online!).
Happy Fall – and please come for a cup of tea when you can !