Ecovillage

Ecovillage

Mission: A wholistic village based in principles of permaculture, safe for people with environmental illness. Where we can recover strength, work from home and in safe local workplaces, access fragrance-free medical and dental care, and contribute to the local and national economies.

Current Phase: Pre-planning

Grand Vision:

  1. Fragrance-free and free of toxic chemicals within the borders of the village – no scented daily products such as laundry detergents, cleaning products, shampoos, deodorants, hairspray, cosmetics, etc. All products used by the community and by our guests will be natural, non-toxic, and safe!
  2. Brick and stone roads within the community rather than tar, landline phones instead of cellphones, and ethernet instead of wifi
  3. Surrounded by organic farms and forests to avoid pesticide drift
  4. Gatehouse with computer centre, solar roofed car parking, and storage units for toxic items to offgas
  5. Medical centre accessible by bike-drawn carriage, containing both allopathic and wholistic medical services, partially subsidized by the community
    1. Emergency Oxygen
    2. One Doctor (part-time unless the village is large enough to support full-time) experienced with Environmental Illness and Autoimmune Disorders, supported by part-time Nurse Practitioners and Wholistic Practitioners
    3. Wholistic Dentist (safe and non-toxic dental materials)
    4. Acupuncture/Acupressure/Magnetic
    5. Nutritionist/Naturopath/Homeopath (Can be qualified community volunteers)
    6. Therapeutic Massage/Energy Healing Modalities (Can be qualified community volunteers)
  6. Hall with commercial kitchen, meeting rooms, emergency hot/cold centre, organic gardens, also:
    1. Infrared Sauna
    2. Semi-private showers for the emergency housing and guests
    3. Daycare room
    4. Bike Carriage Garage
  7. Commercial organic greenhouses to feed the village year-round
  8. General Store Co-Op with all fragrance-free items, bulk food, and a separate gluten-free area
  9. Emergency and transitional housing for people with ES according to HomesFirst philosophy with rental prices within the amount for Ontario Works
    1. Emergency Shelter Units are converted aluminum trailers with sleeping area, chair and small desk, small dresser and shelf, chamberpot – rent is maximum for a single person on OW
    2. Transitional Housing Units are Tiny Homes with livingroom area, partial kitchen, small bathroom, small home office, and 1-3 bedroom areas (children will need to share rooms) – rent is maximum for the amount of family members
  10. Summer Healing Retreat area for persons with environmental illness to bring a tent or trailer/RV and discover how the village works
  11. Private lots with trees bordering each lot – maintenance fee for owners or rental fee and maintenance fee for renters
  12. Deep lots for people with electrical sensitivity
  13. Community workplaces paid for by community membership fees and rentals
  14. Welcoming and friendly to people of all races, ages, and abilities who wish to truly understand and live a healthy lifestyle

Innovations:

  1. A local economy that welcomes non-workers (fully or partially disabled and those unable to work) by using their rental money and maintenance fees to pay for infrastructure and for those who work full-time on their behalf
  2. Key personnel for a successful wholistic community will have full-time paid jobs, all others can work part-time for either pay or for discounts on community-produced goods and services
  3. Social spaces for those who wish to socialize, privacy for those who are more introverted

People:

Although this village is designed for people who suffer from environmental illness, it is also suitable for healthy people who have an interest in living more ecologically, or for people recovering from other types of illness. Environmental triggers can affect other disabilities such as mental illness, migraines and can even cause fibromyalgia flares.

Environmental illness can range from mild to severe, from mild asthma to bedridden. Key, full-time jobs will be offered only to people on the milder end of that spectrum, however the more disabled are useful members of the community as well. Maintenance fees and rental fees will cover the upkeep, pay for improvements to infrastructure, and if the village is large enough, pay for a few full-time jobs as well such such as the manager, greenhouse lead, chef, medical administrator, groundstaff lead (snowplough, summer gardens, repairs, plumbing, odd jobs). People on OW and ODSP will bring in a regular outside income to the community, rather than relying on crops or outside sales which are risky and seasonal.

People who can work part-time will be able to find job-sharing built within the community as receptionists, healers, greenhouse workers, builders, co-op staff, kitchen staff, daycare staff, odd jobs, plus co-work spaces to run their own business.

Many intentional communities fail due to lack of motivation because they rely on volunteers. Motivation to work will be monetary, which will ease the transition from normal western life to community life. Supports will be in place for those who cannot work and need healing time.

Council meetings will offer free organic gluten-free food, and council members will receive rewards for their time and dedication.

Starting Small:

There are about 100 of us in a support group in Ontario, however only about 20 of us wish to move, and about 15 of us would move instantly if safer housing were available. Some of the people who are most vulnerable and most need safer housing must stay in Toronto while waiting for back pay from disability. Most of that 15 are on government assistance and are not allowed to own our own homes.

We will need sponsorship and/or crowdfunding to build Emergency and Transitional Housing first. One of us will need to become the manager of these rental units and then find land for us to park for the beginnings of Woodfinch Ecovillage.

Maximum rent for a single person on Ontario Works is $380 per month. As manager of Woodfinch Ecovillage, rent would be free.

For 15 units, 10 should be Emergency Shelter Units, and 5 should be Tiny Homes. 2 of the Tiny Homes should be family units with 2 loft bedroom spaces, 2 units should be wheelchair-accessible single-floor units, and 1 unit should be for a single person with small office (for the manager) and loft.

Therefore, gross revenues for the initial 15 units would be $7800 per month (1 unit free, 10 units at $380, 2 wheelchair units at $800, and 2 family units at $1200). Expenses would include land rental, (if loans were incurred to build any Housing or obtain land then loan repayments,) repairs savings, future building savings, utilities, and a small stipend for the manager ($600).

If it costs $15,000 to build an Emergency Shelter Unit, and $35,000 to build a Tiny Home, then it will cost $325,000 to build the initial 15 units. Costs will be lowered because we will build them ourselves in the tradition of Tiny Homes and barn-raisings, donating labour to each other. Costs of building are higher than many Tiny Homes because we need to use specific non-toxic materials and building practices, and cannot use most reclaimed materials due to potential non-safe contamination from fragrance chemicals or mold. We will need to hire or receive donations-in-kind of specialists for the electrical work, plumbing, and architects to go over the plans to ensure they meet codes and standards.

Starting Even Smaller:

6 units: 4 Emergency Shelter Units, 1 Family Unit and 1 Transitional Housing Unit. Costs $130,000 to build. Gross revenues of $2720 per month.