Newsletter No. 4- April, 2000
The Whole Village newsletter is published on line to keep our friends, near and far, informed on how our project is progressing. For background information and previous issues, please visit our website at: http://www.wholevillage.org
There have been several significant changes in the Whole Village since our last newsletter in November. Just before Christmas, our oldest member, Keith McMillan, passed away. Keith was also our lawyer. His careful speech and wry sense of humour will be sorely missed.
After almost a year of working closely with the owners of
Falconfield to assess the suitability of the property as a site
for the Whole Village, we have agreed to break off negotiations
and look elsewhere. Needless to say, this has been a great disappointment,
especially after the tremendous amount of time and energy spent
on site planning, surveys and preparations for gardening. In
spite of this setback, we are still proceeding on many other
Membership now stands at 14 families and we expect ultimately to have at least 30 families. We held orientation meetings for potential new members and other interested friends, on November 24, 1999, January 23, March 5 and April 2, 2000. If you are interested in attending our next Orientation Meeting, check out the date on our web site or contact Jeff Gold at 519-941-1099, email <firstname.lastname@example.org>. While aimed primarily at friends, prospective members and new members, these orientation events are useful for any member who wants to know more about the history and organization of the Whole Village. WV members can also conduct their own orientation sessions for potential members.
The intensive, weekend retreat for all members was held at the Ecology Retreat Centre on November 27-28, 1999. This well attended event was very productive. We revisited and reaffirmed 0ur Vision and Founding Principles, dealt with many thorny issues and set our course for the coming year. At the same time we enjoyed delicious organic food, the soothing rural setting and each other's company.
On December 4, 1999, John Paul Warren led six members of WV and 35 other interested persons on a tour of two straw bale houses and one earthship. These owner built dwellings are marvelous examples of owner built energy efficient housing. One of the straw bale dwellings, a post and beam design with straw walls, is off the grid, using a combination of photovoltaics, solar hot water, wood heat and propane. In the other straw bale house, the roof rests on the straw, which was precompressed with wire loops. The earthship was built with used tires that were stacked and filled with rammed earth, then plastered in and out, for a total cost of $40,000. It boasts a solar composting toilet and an indoor garden to recycle gray water. This was an informative and inspirational outing.
Ecovillage at Ithaca Information Session
December 22, 1999, we met with Rod Lambert, a Canadian who has been living in the Ecovillage at Ithaca for several years. Rod is the project manager for the second phase of the Ecovillage. He enlightened us on the realities of living in community and gave us seasoned advice on how to avoid the many pitfalls encountered in creating an ecovillage.
Guelph Organic Conference
WV once again took a table at the Guelph Organic Conference on January 29, 2000. This event is attended by thousands of people and many of them were interested in our initiative. Several WV members attended the Saturday sessions and also the Sunday session hosted by the Biodynamic Gardening Association. This conference gets bigger every year and it is very encouraging to see the growth of interest in organics and biodynamics as time goes on.
On February 17, 2000, Michael Schmidt, a noted biodynamic dairy farmer and community activist, met with WV. Michael lives near Durham, Ontario, and has a tremendous enthusiasm for both farming and community. His shared his inspirational life history with us and promised that he would assist WV in developing all aspects of a biodynamic farm, whenever we are ready.
One piece of good news was the awarding of a $20,000 grant to WV under the Affordability and Choice Today program, jointly funded by CHMC, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the National Home Builders Association. This grant will be used to work with the municipality and region, groups of interested citizens, various provincial ministries, and other relevant authorities, to develop a set of zoning regulations which would allow the kind of positive development we propose, while continuing to control destructive development activities. The A-C-T grant will also be used to retain professional consultants to conduct impact surveys, environmental and engineering studies, prepare official plan amendments and rezoning filings, etc. We still must obtain a letter of support from a municipal government to release the funds.
Concerned Citizens of King Township
As part of our general outreach and lobbying efforts, we made a full presentation on WV to CCKT on March 28, 2000. Although we had met with their executive on several occasions, this was our first opportunity to introduce all the members of CCKT to the WV initiative. The hour-long multimedia presentation was well received, with many pointed questions on the viability of the concept, land ownership, financing and how we intended to make a living farming. While we may not have won over everyone to our cause, it was an opportunity to inform, educate and network. We also asked the CCKT to write a letter to King Township in support of our ACT grant application.
Planning Class at Ryerson
Jeff Gold joined with Dorothy Mazeau of Cohousing Ontario on March 23, 2000, to make a presentation on WV and cohousing to a second year class in the School of Urban Planning at Ryerson Polytechnic University.
Much of the organizing and development work of the Whole Village resides with our mandate groups. Some recent progress:
For more information, please contact us at:
Whole Village Ltd.
Phone: (519) 941-1099 Fax: (905) 833-2813