See French Articles
- The Past, Present & Future of
Sustainable Housing Design
by Hugh Perry
Part 1 of 6 on sustainable housing. Natural Life Magazine Sep/Oct 2008 issue. Building or Buying Your Sustainable Home — Applying the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to your new home.
- Choosing Sustainable Building Sites
by Hugh Perry
Part 2 of 6 on sustainable housing. Natural Life Magazine Nov/Dec 2008 issue. Building or Buying Your Sustainable Home — Applying the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to your new home.
- Water Efficiency
by Hugh Perry
Part 3 of 6 on sustainable housing regarding Water Use. Natural Life Magazine Jan/Feb 2009 issue. Building or Buying Your Sustainable Home — Applying the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to your new home.
- Energy and Atmosphere
by Hugh Perry
Part 4 of 6 on sustainable housing. Natural Life Magazine March/April 2009 issue. Building or Buying Your Sustainable Home — Applying the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to your new home.
- Materials and Resources
by Hugh Perry
Part 5 of 6 on sustainable housing. Natural Life Magazine May/June 2009 issue. Building or Buying Your Sustainable Home — Applying the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to your new home.
- Indoor Environmental Air Quality
by Hugh Perry
Part 6 of 6 on sustainable housing. Natural Life Magazine July/August 2009 issue. Building or Buying Your Sustainable Home — Applying the principles of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to your new home.
- Inside WindSong Cohousing
by Hugh Perry, Natural Life Magazine
The first architecturally designed cohousing project in Canada, now 12 years old, has preserved the community feeling that characterizes cohousing.
- Land Acquisition Guide
by Michael Greenstein
This guide was created to help groups carefully consider what characteristics to look for when buying rural land. Read or print
- The Future of Agriculture
by Tom Manley
I had the pleasure of joining the 7,000 farmers at Queen's Park on Wednesday March 2nd 2005. The bus ride of 5 hours each way was worth the opportunity to understand the many facets of the crisis in contemporary agriculture in Ontario and Canada. Read or print
- A Bright Future for Ecological Villages in Canada
By Hugh Perry
Those who have attempted starting a community of their own are well aware that the major obstacles are provincial and municipal regulations. This discouraging factor is attributed to 19 out 20 failures to start up communities in Canada. Read or print
- Going Green in the Burbs
By Brian McDougall
So you want to live in a co-operative community where materials are recycled, nature respected and water and energy conserved. What'll the neighbours say? Read or print
- Consensus Builds Emotional Acceptance
By Hugh Perry
Exploring a method of decision-making that transcends "Majority rules" and builds emotional acceptance. Having everyone agree on the direction to be taken ensures the action is in the best interest of the whole group. Read or print
- A Sustainable Co-Creative Organizational Approach
By Manon Gaudreau
This approach was developed with the support and inspiration of wise elders, based on values of trust, commitment, cooperation, truth-telling, letting go, respect, compassion, self-responsibility, and listening. The co-creative approach simplifies organizational operation, empowers members, and develops a new sense of community. Read or print
- A heart to heart article on Community Building
By Gina Cenciose
This process is an ancient one, very simple and yet can seem demanding to people who resist being in their hearts and in their truths. It is a leap into the unknown every time. Read or print
- Searching for Community, By Harry Rudolfs
This article about Dandelion, Dragonfly and Morninglory appeared in The Citizen's Weekly, from Ottawa, on Oct. 15, 2000
- On The Road
Michael Greenstein is travelling across Canada visiting intentional rural communities (IRCs). Here are some excerpts from his travel journey. Read
- Marble Rock Coop Centre for Rural Living and Education
The land was initially purchased in 1981 by a group of 10 people, who incorporated and began developing an intentional community. However, work did not progress beyond the stage of incorporating and buying the land. Over the next 25 years, a number of different groups have formed and then dissolved. Read
- Twelve Tribes Community
The Community in Winnipeg was established in 1993 after relocating from Nova Scotia where we began living together in 1983. We now own 3 homes in a beautiful area of the city where we are surrounded by a beautiful river on two sides. There are more than 100 of us living here including children. Read
- Morninglory at 35
Morninglory at 35. What a concept. There's certainly myriads of more trees here than there were when we moved here, and even more deer present commonly on the farm. In 1969, there were only 30 acres with trees, now there are closer to 90 and cleared fields are a rarity. Read or Print
- Dragonfly Community is 25 This Year
Revolution was in the air throughout the world at the end of the 60’s. The feeling was that anything could happen and young people would be the agents of change, a change that had to happen because the status quo was definitely not acceptable. Read or Print
- G.R.E.B. Ecohamlet
The G.R.E.B., Ecological Research Group of the Batture, is an eco-hamlet founded in 1990 located where the waters of the Saguenay fiord and the Hahas Bay merge. It is a borough of the Saguenay town at about 10 kilometres from downtown La Baie. Read
On The Road
Michael Greenstein, founder of the Wholistic Community Network (WCN), is travelling across Canada visiting intentional rural communities (IRCs). Here are some excerpts from his travel journey.
July 31 / 07, Montreal, Que. - 0 kilometres traveled:
[...] sold all my worldly goods except for my clothes and a few cooking and personal items. [...] found an old van I could afford, a 1995 Ford Aerostar[...] I've contacted about 20 irc's across Canada and requested permission to visit. [...] I know its the right thing for me to do; especially with what's happening in the world these days and the need for people to learn more about wholism and wholistic living. [...] I hope this journey will allow me to be of service. Here I go!
Aug 23 - Sept 1 / 07, Whole Village Community, Caledon, Ont. - 1250 kms traveled:
Spent nine days visiting the Whole Village community situated on 191 acres in the rolling hills of Caledon [...] I learned that I love country living but I don't want to be a full-time farmer. I do want to garden and look after fruit trees, herbs, and animals on a part-time basis, but I never want to put myself in a situation where I can't travel because I have plants or animals who need my attention 365 days a year. I learned that consensus is the right approach for the big issues of communal living but not for the mundane, daily, material decisions! No interminable meetings dealing with nit-picking details for me! I learned that people without a sense of playfulness and humour must be a small minority in a community and that too many of them will quickly take the fun out of living together. I also learned I don't want to leave my community to go to work and that on-site enterprises that enable members to do their right work must be the central core of community life.
Nov 1 - Nov 7th / 07, The Kootenay mountains of British Columbia, 6700 kms traveled:
The seven days I spent visiting two Kootenay communities were extremely instructive and useful in helping me understand what works and what doesn't in an intentional rural community (irc). Neither place I visited was really a "community" in the sense of a group of people working harmoniously together with common goals and visions. Both places were being sustained by the efforts of either a couple or an individual. In both cases the "sustainers" were the original owners of the land (one had formed a co-op ) and had seen many people come and go through the years. Both aspiring communities shared some common challenges. Neither one had established a sound enterprise that can generate enough money to sustain themselves. Much of their original motivation for buying the land and many of their ongoing decisions about developing it are based on strong feelings rather than careful planning.
Jan 3 08 - April 28 / 08, Gabriola Island, British Columbia, 7800 kms traveled:
After five month crossing Canada I've arrived on Gabriola island, the western end of my journey. I was there to help a friend in exchange for a place to stay. Living on an island with a relatively small population is like being part of a large intentional community. It' s true, you don't get to choose who comes to live on the island or know every resident, but if you stay there long enough you will get to know many of the members of the local social subgroups that has formed over the years. On Gabriola these subgroups include the retirees, visual artists, musicians, environmentalists, ageing hippies and escapees from the city, off-island summer cottage owners, entrepreneurs and small business owners, and the working-class heroes who do most of the physical labour. Each of these subgroups operates as a kind of intentional community with its own rules and values. Once you get accepted into one or more of these subgroups, a process which can take from a few months to many years, life on Gabriola certainly becomes more pleasant and more interesting.
April 28th - Present, Vancouver, British Columbia, 8500 kms traveled:
I'm now living in a upstairs room with a beautiful view of the mountains in a pretty neighbourhood. Vancouver feels very different to me now after four months of intensive "tree energy" and the limited opportunities for me on Gabriola. I am certainly more aware of my need to appreciate the simple, important things of daily life and not take them for granted as I may have in the past, e.g. unlimited access to water, an ethnically diverse population to interact with, housing and work opportunities.
Is this the end of my journey? Will I make Vancouver my permanent home and abandon my plans to live in a intentional rural community? I don't know the answer yet but several things have become clearer to me.
1. Living in a physically isolated, rural setting away from large groups of people would only work for me under very special conditions and probably not for a long period of time. I know there are many simple pleasures to be found in a country life; chopping wood, working in the garden, enjoying the natural cycles of plant and animal life, etc., but without a wide variety of relationships with people I cannot continue to grow as a human being. I never thought a semi-hermit like me would be saying this but I need to interact with people!
2. Communities come in all sizes, shapes, and flavors. Building an intentional community requires time, patience, and persistence to gather together a group of people who like each other, trust each other, and share common interests and important core values. I recognize that I have a lot of work to do on my community-building skills and this work can be done wherever I 'm living. The work must be done because being able to love, accept, and work with people is a vital part of being human.
View the whole travel journal
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Marble Rock Cooperative Centre for Rural Living and Education
Marble Rock Cooperative Centre for Rural Living and Education is a cooperative in rural eastern Ontario. We presently consist of 8 founding members and 2 children. Four of us live on the land: 130 acres of borderline agricultural land with lots of mixed forest, rock, and a large swamp, backing on a small river. We are about 10 minutes from Gananoque and 30 minutes from Kingston.
The land was initially purchased in 1981 by a group of 10 people, who incorporated and began developing an intentional community. However, work did not progress beyond the stage of incorporating and buying the land. Over the next 25 years, a number of different groups have formed and then dissolved, with always at least one constant member who has been involved since the time the land was bought.
We are now the strongest we have ever been. One permanent year-round dwelling has been built on the land as well as a workshop for small carpentry projects and a garden shed with a sleeping loft. We have developed a large organic vegetable and berry garden, which we worked cooperatively with about 10 folks last summer. We plan to expand this project in the summer of 2006. We have begun construction on a bunkhouse to facilitate more people being able to spend time here at least in the spring, summer and fall. We plan to build an outdoor kitchen and shower this summer, which will also make it easier for us to have long-term visitors.
While we have a number of exciting projects underway on the land, we are still very much in the forming stage, especially about things like cooperative land ownership (right now the land is owned by one individual) and working with the township to get zoning that will allow us to build multiple family dwellings. We have not finalized a workable ownership model, but are deep in rich and interesting discussions about this.
We initially came together through our shared commitment to social justice work, and that remains a focus of our community. Our long term goals are to:
- provide a rural educational and retreat centre for children, youth and adults;
- revitalize rural communities by developing alternative living models;
- provide skills and training in such areas as organic agricultural methods, energy-efficient construction techniques, renewable energy technologies, arts and crafts and strategies for social change.
We are open to new members, volunteers, visitors and inquiries from anyone interested in knowing more about what we do. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit our website and discussion boards at www.marblerockcoop.com .
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Twelve Tribes Community
The Community in Winnipeg was established in 1993 after relocating from Nova Scotia where we began living together in 1983. We now own 3 homes in a beautiful area of the city where we are surrounded by a beautiful river on two sides. There are more than 100 of us living here including children. We operate a cafe called Common Ground, a food distribution business specializing in importing herbal teas from Brazil and a machine shop.
We are the first of many communities that will be gathered in different localities across Canada.
Through our common life together, we are learning how people from different backgrounds and cultures can actually live together in perfect unity. The faith we live by was perfectly expressed by our Master Yahshua the Messiah. We believe in Him, and it is His Spirit that is living in our midst that teaches us to overcome our own selfish ways and to love and forgive each other.
We have a hope that does not disappoint because we are part of a new Holy Nation, the restored twelve tribes of spiritual Israel that will usher in the rule of Messiah on the earth, the true New Age.
You can visit us any time. Our homes are always open for visitors whether it is for a day or to stay.
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Morninglory at 35
By Robbie Anderman
Morninglory at 35. What a concept. There's certainly myriads of more trees here than there were when we moved here, and even more deer present commonly on the farm. In 1969, there were only 30 acres with trees, now there are closer to 90 and cleared fields are a rarity. And the deer challenge me in the night when I answer nature's call close to the compost pile. Five babies have been home birthed on the farm and several more were born elsewhere while calling Morninglory home.
An 'offshoot' of the Toronto experimental Rochdale College, Mike Nickerson and I saw ourselves as moving out of the city to the country... became acutely aware that we needed to learn a whole new way of life just to survive in this relatively harsh environment (yes, one can die from exposure around here, though we don't hear of many doing it).... So we came up with the idea that Morninglory could be "Rochdale in the Country", a place where people could come and learn some basics about country survival skills, like gardening, wood heat, dipping buckets down the well for water... And so it has been. Hundreds of people have passed through our gate and learned what they needed to learn here... not necessarily what they consciously came looking for. Since we started, as a community, talking about the 35th anniversary, we've been considering the question of "why us"? Why, of all the communities that started in 1969 and before, are we still here on the land, surviving and even thriving in some ways?
Amidst mention of the concepts of respect for the land, respect for each other, evolution of the individuals in the group, patience, tenacity, etc. There is also the consideration that, being off the common energy grid and thus not vibrating at the same frequency as most folks in this society, and not paying a monthly bill for that energy, we have had to work harder just to keep the basics together... while being more in touch with the basics: water, firewood, shelter, gardening, food storage, transportation,etc. While most people flick a light switch, most of the years here have seen us reach into a pocket or into a match box for a stick to flame to light a candle, a coal oil lamp, a propane lamp.... and only the last 15 years or so have seen solar panels opening the option of flicking a switch... though even that has been tempered by the need to watch the battery meter during the short cloudy days of winter... when the match still has its active place in our lives.
So things that most Canadians take for granted, we have to work harder at... At the same time, we have the best water I've tasted in any of my travels... and we share the land taxes so we pay relatively next to nothing for "rent"... and I do say rent because the deed says we own the land, except for those rights retained by the Crown. Considering that we're about 18 people (of all ages) and that the land taxes are about $1400 a year, we do get to work more directly for what we consider to be of value... rather than a monthly "rent". And we get the peace of quiet as a bonus... a feature that many many new arrivals comment on.
One of the greatest values is community I've noticed that values and beliefs change over time through experience... and this "evolution" of consciousness has seen me allowing myself and my neighbours to change and to place our friendships above my earlier beliefs. Survival is challenging enough, I need friends and neighbours, even if we disagree on some key things. Judgement serves no purpose, especially of myself, though discernment has its place.
One of the greatest sources of disagreement has arisen around land use. and this has mostly arisen between those who have been working and living for a long time on the land, in contrast with those who are relatively new to the land... and don't want to cut down trees... even though their heat during a cold winter comes from someone cutting down trees somewhere to deliver to them. Again, beliefs change. Then again, land use includes which tree to cut, is that one your favourite friend? We all have "spots" on the land that nourish us... and the others don't even know they exist. Here is where communication and respect come into play.
Communication is a key element. We noticed that, in the past, meetings were often unpleasant, as some powerful speakers dominated the floor and the quieter members kept their opinions to themselves while awaiting the right moment to speak. We have moved into the circle as a means of working through meeting issues these days. Either with a talking stick, or not. We go round and round until consensus is reached, usually one topic at a time... with passing allowed, and a limited time per person if need be. Interruptions are allowed ONLY by permission of the person whose turn it is.
Maybe the biggest realization of this 35 years has been the friendship and support we have felt from our neighbours and fellow inhabitants of this wide rural area. Again, people living in such an environment know that even if we don't go to the same church, that there may well be a time where they will need and appreciate our lending hand... and we do offer it in many ways in the larger community. We don't claim perfection, nor constant harmony. We have become friends, we have offered shelter to those in need, we have shared our resources and we have benefited from the peace of the hills we live in. The beauty inspires us to stay here at home, even when things are not doing so well amongst us...and then the season changes and we're working and playing together amidst the beauty once more.
I would like to amend the above to say that, though there have been times in our history when we were close to being a commune and shared all work, resources and income and expenses, we're not doing that actively now. Our members harvest maple syrup, honey, vegetables, fruit, trees, chicken eggs, etc... and teach school, make tie dye garments, make Cool Hemp non-dairy frozen dessert, do auto repair, do ad sales for other companies and Eco Farm and Garden magazine, craft wood work and musical instruments, manage the programming and tech on the local community radio, do web work, and play music,,, and much more.
We work alone and we work together.
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The G.R.E.B., Ecological Research Group of the Batture, is an eco-hamlet founded in 1990 located where the waters of the Saguenay fiord and the Hahas Bay merge. It is a borough of the Saguenay town at about 10 kilometres from downtown La Baie.
The goals are: research, experimentation, diffusion and education for an ecological lifestyle in a northern rural region to ensure a global and fair development while preserving and enriching the local ecosystems.
We have five out of the six ecological houses planned in the project built, plus a barn/cow-shed and an organic farm providing organic food baskets to local customers who support this enterprise through a work cooperative. In addition to this, an organic sheep production started in the winter of 2003, while 4 out of 10 adults work in Alma for the Quebecer Centre of Sustainable Development.
The project should eventually be completed with the addition of a community centre, an audio-video room, a library, a documentation centre, workshops and a barn/warehouse.
Its strong points are: the beauty of the place and of the buildings, the strength the comfort and harmony of the structures, the diversity of the members forming this eco-hamlet, and the complicity and liveliness of the children.
The weak points are: the lack of economic self-sufficiency within the eco-hamlet (some of the families' income being generated from the outside) and the distance between the houses being a deterrent for certain communal activities.
For more information, contact Pierre Gilbert telephone (418) 544-6714
9323, Chemin de la Batture, Ville la Baie, (Quebec) G7B 3P6
courriel : email@example.com
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