Whole Village
Newsletter No. 9- December, 2001

 

HIGHLIGHTS

         Whole Village will begin construction of an integrated farmhouse in spring 2002.

         Wind test tower erected to measure wind resources on the WV site

         Ecological Footprinting of Whole Village to be investigated with state-of-the-art energy monitoring systems and baseline data collection.

        Whole Village November Retreat was a great success.

Introduction

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 .  Click here to view our Membership Policy.  Click here to read our Farm Plan.

Site

Karalane Farm, the site of the Whole Village, is in the northwest corner of the Town of Caledon, Peel Region, just 10 minutes south of Orangeville. The 200-acre property has a pond, a year round stream, wetland, bank barn and equipment sheds, a mature sugar maple bush and 100 acres of arable land. While very rural and quiet, the farm is still less than 60 minutes from Toronto and 30 minutes from Brampton, Mississauga and Guelph.

Site Work

The farm garden has been put to bed for the winter under a blanket of straw.  The mild fall weather allowed us to harvest kale, mustard greens, broccoli and lettuce up to the 15th of December.  A team of hardy Whole Village folks has begun to clean out and organize the sheds and the barn in preparation for housing livestock next spring.

 

A wind test tower was erected on the high point of the property.  At the top of the tower is an anemometer that is recording data on wind speed and direction.  This information will be used to determine how large a wind generator will be needed to service the farm.

 

Another series of test holes was dug on the west lot, where we intend to build.  A Geotechnical engineer has analyzed the soil material for drainage and load bearing properties, confirming that the site is ideal for our needs.

 

Outreach

 

At the Caledon Fall Fair, the weekend of September 8 and 9, Associate WV member Paul Hennig had several stimulating conversations with fair goers who stopped by the Whole Village table he was staffing.  The weather was superb.

 

September 9, Stephen Wilson and his mother Diane staffed a Whole Village information table at the Feast of Fields.  This annual celebration of organic food was held at the Agricultural Museum in Milton.  Renowned chefs cook fabulous foods with produce supplied by organic farmers.  Attendees can stroll from booth to booth sampling a wonderful selection of tasty dishes and Ontario wines.

 

Jeff Gold and Denis Bowman gave a presentation on the Whole Village to the Hamilton-Wentworth chapter of the Canadian Organic Growers Association on November 20.  Members of the audience were intrigued by the WV Community Supported Agriculture model linking village members to the WV farm.

 

There have been 40 people in attendance at our last 5 Orientation meetings for prospective members. 

Currently there are 219 people on our email Updates list.

 

 

Networking

 

The Ecovillage Network of Canada held their yearly conference at Camp Kawartha on Clear Lake near Lakefield, September 14, 15 and 16.  About sixty people attended, some from as far away as British Columbia.  WV had the largest contingent, with ten people.  Denis and Jeff presented two sessions, one on Sustainable Building Design and the other on Technical Aspects of Sustainable Design. Gina Noel presented a session on Edible Landscaping & Growing for the People.  The conference was a wonderful gathering of ecovillage supporters and the groundwork was laid for a more active and public network.  Denis, Jeff and Roslyn have also joined the steering committee of the ENC. Plans are underway for WV to host the annual gathering of the ENC in August 2002. 

 

Bev and Jayne attended a Home Schooling Association conference in Oakville on September 15.  Jayne home schools her children and believes that home schooling and the WV are a good match.  She looks forward to having the WV and the Home School Association work closely together in the future.

 

September 28 Jeff Gold met with Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council and Robert Baldwin, a businessman from New England who is promoting an innovative way to build rural housing and conserve farmland at the same time.  The meeting focused on ways to preserve farmland in the urban fringe.  You can see examples of Mr. Baldwin’s conservation efforts at this link.

 

The Caledon Countryside Alliance held a workshop on Globalization and Ecological Footprinting at the SGI Centre near Alton, September 29 and 30.  Dr. William Rees from the University of British Columbia, who coined the term “ecological footprint”, was the main presenter.  His analysis of current global trends is rather sobering, as the data clearly show that we are consuming resources at a non-sustainable rate, having passed the current carrying capacity of the planet about 20 years ago.  Humans, the most dominant and destructive species on the planet, are now eating up what should be our capital reserves (such as fossil fuels-burning in one year what it took nature one million years to produce). Several WV members attended to learn more about how we can reduce our current overconsumption of resources.  One of the goals of the Whole Village group is to reduce our collective ecological footprint.   We will be working with the CCA to measure our current ecological footprint and compare it to what it will be after we are living on the site.

 

Glenn Pierce, a new Associate member, represented Whole Village and the Shaws Creek Watershed Association at the Friends of the Credit Forum on November 3, sponsored by Credit Valley Conservation. Many attendees gave him very positive feedback about the WV design and the need for demonstration sites of sustainable agriculture and watershed stewardship in our region.

MANDATE GROUPS

Much of the organizing and development work of the Whole Village resides with our mandate groups. Some recent progress:

Membership

We welcomed our newest members, Brenda Dolling and James LaTrobe, to the WV.  Brenda, a retired schoolteacher, currently resides in Burlington, and is very actively engaged with environmental and social justice issues on a local, national and international level.  James lives in Toronto, has lived in community before and brings a wry sense of humour along with plenty of enthusiasm to the group. Brenda and James are replacing two departing members, Jamie Rossiter and Alexandra Gunther.  Membership now stands at eight families, four Subscribers (members-in-waiting) and eleven Associate members. 

 

Orientation meetings for potential new members and other interested parties are held at the WV site at regular intervals.   If you are interested in attending an Orientation Meeting, the next ones are scheduled for January 6, February 16, March 16 and April 14, all at 1 PM.  Contact Jeff Gold at 519-941-1099 or email jgold@netrover.com to RSVP and for directions.  Personal Orientations can be arranged, and current WV members can also conduct their own orientation sessions for potential participants.

Click here for more information on our Membership Policy.

 

Planning


After considering all our options and challenges, we have decided to keep the WV site as two separate lots, rather than letting the titles run together as originally planned.  We will now be working inside of the existing zoning and Official Plan requirements and can build a house on the empty lot with just a building permit, without requiring an official plan amendment.  This new farmhouse will provide housing for those members who are ready to move to the land next year to get the farm up and running.

 

Design Group


The decision to build a new farmhouse on the west lot resulted in a dramatic revision to the current WV plan.  Denis Bowman, our doughty architect, and his team, rose to the task and have come up with a plan that fulfills the needs of WV members and meets the current zoning restrictions.  All of the ecological and environmental design goals and elements from the original plans have been retained in the current design.

 

Jason Whitfield, a graduate student in planning at the University of Waterloo, included the WV in the research for his thesis on the planning barriers to Ecovillage development.  Jason is currently living in Calgary, working with a friend in a company called Rocky Mountain Environmental Services, producing energy monitoring systems for the oil and gas industry, among others.  He recently installed a sub-metering system at Cobb Hill ecovillage in Vermont, which records different types of energy use, displays it visually, collects it for remote analysis and also sounds visual or audio alarms when preset energy use levels are exceeded.  The devices can even be programmed to shut down non-essential systems if energy use gets too high.  Jason would like to supply a similar system for the WV.

 

At a November meeting of the Round, Jason also reported on the research results for his thesis on the obstacles to ecovillage development.  He pointed out that lifestyle choices can negate the most sophisticated system design.  For example if someone lives in an energy efficient home but still commutes an hour to work, their ecological footprint will be larger than someone living in a conventional home and working from there.  He also said he found the major obstacle to ecovillage development was not planning issues or economics, but the internal dynamics of the group of people who are trying to create an ecovillage.  A clear common vision combined with good conflict resolution skills are some of the essential elements needed to create successful ecovillages.

 

The last day of November, WV met with another of our knowledgeable consultants, Greg Allen, to share the revised plans with him and discuss strategies for heat, electricity, waste treatment and building materials.  Greg will review our plans and design goals to come up with an integrated systems proposal.

Financial/Legal


Work continues on the Conservation Easement and related documents.  The Conservation Easement, to be registered on the Title of the property, will remain in force for 999 years.  The covenants in the easement are monitored and enforced by the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, ensuring that future uses of the land will comply our ecological and environmental goals.

WV members have provided sufficient funds to ensure that the farm purchase will go ahead as planned.

 

Communications


The Communications Mandate Group coordinates all outreach, maintains the web site and email lists, produces the newsletter and handles all media relations.  WV member Laszlo Kramar has produced a draft CD-ROM about the Whole Village that has images, text, audio and video.  The purpose of the CD will be to give a wide range of information on our project to various people, including evidence from all over the world supporting the need for and the viability of such projects.

 

We now have Whole Village window decals and lapel pins for sale.  Ask Roslyn if you would like to have some to show your support for the Whole Village!

 

Farm/Land Stewardship

We met with the two local farmers who currently rent the farm, to discuss how we might work together after the sale of the property is completed.  One of them has told us he would like to continue the current arrangement after the WV takes over the land.  This will help our transition into full implementation of the farm plan.

Education and Consulting

The members of this group are looking at the common facilities and amenities desired by the membership.  They are also investigating the types and requirements of members’ home-based businesses, as well as exploring a range of educational activities that might take place at the WV, what resources will be required and which institutions, groups and organizations would like to work with us in these endeavours.

Celebrations

A Whole Village retreat was held at the Ecology Retreat Centre in Hockley Valley, just east of Orangeville, November 23 to 25.  We used Open Space Technology to organize the workshops and seminars.  There was a lot of time for sharing and socializing and good fun.  It was wonderful to have a few days together and not have a formal agenda and deadlines.  This was an opportunity for all those involved in the WV project to get to know each other better and to reaffirm our vision and founding principles.

 

 

For more information, please contact us at:

Whole Village Ltd.
20725 Shaws Creek Road
RR 1 Alton
ON, L0N 1A0

Phone: (519) 941-1099 Fax: (905) 833-2813

E-mail: jgold@netrover.com
Website: http://www.wholevillage.org