Welcome to our Changed Newsletter Format!
Whole Village has begun to produce a quarterly newsletter to keep our associates and friends up to date on our project. It is our hope that through this communication tool we will be able help these individuals develop stronger ties with this community. We plan to share information regarding community living; sustainable agriculture, & land stewardship in an effort to help our friends better understand our mission, vision and guiding principles. If you have questions or concerns you would like to see addressed in the newsletter, forwarded them to the editor though our e-mail address:
Whole Village CSA Garden Yields
Plenty of Organic Veggies in its First Year
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a system that makes it possible for a farmer to grow food with the financial support of the individuals who intend to consume that food.
The financial risks are shared equally between the farmer and this group of individuals—described as the CSA membership. Each CSA member pays a fee for his/her share of the year’s produce. The fee is calculated by dividing the annual expense budget by the number of members. Providing the necessary capital early in the year (e.g. to purchase seeds, plants, etc) frees the farmer to apply her/his skills to the task of planning and maintaining the garden, maximizing its productivity.
In April of this year, Natasha Bye (one of the farm house residents) became WV’s first gardener and CSA coordinator. With support and suggestions from Whole Village members she developed and implemented the garden plan in the spring and early summer. She and her helpers planted kale, Swiss chard, beets, peas, potatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and various herbs. CSA members each paid $300 for a share this year and began receiving their weekly boxes of vegetables in early July. They are delighted with the garden’s yield and glad to know that they will continue to receive veggies through October.
For personal reasons Natasha had to move away from Whole Village at the end of June. Roslyn Levin-Gold stepped in and assumed the leadership for the weekly harvesting, while various Whole Villagers provided regular labor to maintain the gardens. Next year the Village will be looking for a new CSA coordinator from among the ranks of its members and associates.
How Can You Get Involved?
People are regularly contacting Whole Village to learn about the project and see how they might support it or get involved. We recommend that you begin by receiving an initial orientation at one of our monthly group sessions. The village continues to actively seek individuals who want to become full members, making the personal and financial commitment required to live in the planned farmhouse. However, here are some other ways that you can become part of this venture without making such a commitment.
Contribute your skills by coming out to the farm and volunteering to help out with farming, gardening or construction. Please call ahead to make arrangements: (519) 941-1099.
Associates support the project through regular monthly contributions ($10/month). They are put on our e-mail list in order to be notified in advance about upcoming organizational meetings, workshops and events. As well, Associates are eligible to become CSA members (see article in this newsletter for info on the CSA).
Fellow Stewards are individuals who live near the farm, in the area referred to as the Shaws Creek Watershed. These individuals have a common interest in land stewardship and the environment. It is our hope that such individuals will become involved in cooperative ventures with the Village that are mutually beneficial.
If you pledge to make a financial contribution of $500 per year, you will be considered a Patron. As Whole Village is not a registered charity, we are not in a position to issue charitable tax receipts.
Support the community garden financially and ensure that you and your household receive a weekly box of fresh organic vegetables from July through October. We would encourage first time members to sign up in early March to avoid disappointment, as there will be a limited number of memberships available each year.
The cost is $10 for a 1.4 kg container.
We will be appealing to friends and associates to donate specific goods as the need arises. Watch for these appeals on the web site, in e-mail communication and in the newsletter.
Let us know of events in your community that we could attend to promote our work.
Whole Village Ltd now owns the farm. The sale was finalized in early July. This is a major milestone toward the group realizing its vision.
In June we hosted an information evening for our immediate neighbors. Thirty people turned out to the meeting, including the Mayor of Caledon, and our two Ward Councilors. The meeting was part of an on-going effort to develop positive relationships with individuals living in the area. Many questions and concerns were addressed. It is our intent to follow up on several suggestions that were made that night and to stay in touch with our neighbours.
Whole Village played host to the Ecovillage Network of Canada’s annual gathering this summer. It took place over the August 24-25th weekend.
Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a global service that matches organic farms with people who are willing to exchange their labour on a farm for room and board. There are host farms on every continent. The system makes it possible for individuals to travel and have a genuine experience with local people Whole Village hosted “WWOOF”ers from Canada, France, England, Australia and Japan this year.
We have 20 mature beehives and just completed our second harvest, totally 1300 pounds of honey! If you are interested in buying honey, call the farm.
Who are Whole Village Members?
There are currently ten Whole Village members, representing eight families. These are individuals who have made a legal, financial and personal commitment to the project. They intend to live in the new farmhouse, work on the farm, and enter into a familial relationship with the rest of the Whole Village residents. Members are also shareholders and the directors of Whole Village Ltd. Their financial investment provides the bulk of the revenue to keep the project moving forward.
We have five individuals involved as subscriber members. These are individuals who are working toward full membership and have made a smaller financial contribution.
There are several Associates who are currently playing an active role in all aspects of the project. While they are not voting members, Associates attend meetings, volunteer on committees, work at the farm and assume leadership roles where their skills can be put to use.
At the moment there are five people living in the existing farmhouse. Other members and associates visit the site regularly in order to work in the garden, harvest honey from our newly acquired beehives, plant trees, and make minor renovations and improvements to the property.
The original vision for the Whole Village involved the creation of a thirty unit co-housing style residential complex in conjunction with the farming operation. However in the summer 2001 we abandoned this ambitious plan because we realized that it would involve seeking an official plan amendment—a long, circuitous and costly endeavor, with no guarantee of success at the end. Instead we opted to develop a site and building plan that would accommodate those individuals who had already committed to Whole Village and at the same time comply with existing zoning by-laws.
Proceeding with this new plan, we applied for a building permit to construct a “one family” residence on the vacant 91 acre lot that is part of the Whole Village Farm. While there appears to be no technical problems with our permit application, it seems to be in limbo. It is our current understanding that our permit application may be denied due to concerns identified by town planning officials. These are the professionals who determine if an application for a permit conforms to existing zoning by-laws and the intent of the official plans for the Town of Caledon and the Region of Peel.
We are not certain what concerns the planning officials have identified. We have decided to seek a court ruling on our situation. A ruling in our favor would result in the court directing the town officials to treat us as a family for zoning purposes. While such a ruling may not result in the granting of a building permit, it would strengthen our case. Should a building permit not be granted, we would have to return to the courts for a second ruling—this time on granting the permit itself.
o are the Whole Village Members?
Over the last five years I have had several opportunities to meet John Seed, an internationally known Deep Ecologist. I am always struck by how peaceful and positive he is, even though he sees continually the destruction of more and more wilderness. I find myself very moved by both the person and his message. If I can try to summarize what Deep Ecologists have to say it is this: for most of human history our home was in the forest, surrounded by the natural world, depending on our connection to it to feed us day by day, and respecting the other species around us as equals. It is only the modern human who has left the forest, and has lost that connection and intimacy with the natural world. Indigenous peoples around the world have seen what this has done to us, and do not envy us. By living on a sustainable farm I feel I will be placing myself more in balance with the natural world, because I will know that I am living in a way that respects that world. Also my contact with the land will deepen in a way that is more than just enjoying the pretty scenery. One little example: in the brief time I have been beekeeping at the farm, I have gained a real delight and fascination with their life. Taking the cover off a hive, and putting my ear down as close as possible, I can listen to the mysterious sound of 50,000 bees.
For an environmentalist and fifth generation farm girl, ecovillages make all the sense in the world. Over the years, I've been looking for a project that would combine my love of the earth, my hobby of organic gardening and an interest in intentional community. After hearing about the concept of Ecovillage at a conference on building sustainable communities in Findhorn, Scotland, I began searching for a way to create one with others. Whole Village seemed the perfect fit! Enthusiastic members and a beautiful farm with lots of potential for growing healthy food drew me in. Then my dream of building an ecological house came true when plans were developed with the help of our own architect/ member. After taking possession of the farm, the teamwork began - growing our own food, planting a tree nursery, beekeeping, and repairing farm buildings. It's been a great feeling working with like-minded people to create a new model for sustainability. No wonder the United Nations declared ecovillages a “best practice” for sustainable living!
The simple answer is that I want to live in an intentional community. The 'living' part is important. I belong to several communities now, for example, my faith community where I go once or twice a week. While such interactions are good, they are not sufficient. I want to live in community -- every day. The 'intentional' part is also important. Part of the membership procedure is to read your biography. I bared my soul in my biography because I wanted them to know what they were getting if they accepted me. The third important reason is that I want to live lightly on the land. Mairy Beam
Support Our Project
Any letters, telephone calls, faxes or e-mails to the Town of Caledon on our behalf would be appreciated. Contact Mayor Carol Seglins at
905-584– 2272 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org