Transition Salt Spring

Community and Cooperative Living


Community and Cooperative Living

Join this discussion group if you are interested in farm-sharing, community living, and/or other types of cooperative living arrangements.

Members: 10
Latest Activity: Mar 10, 2016

Discussion Forum

Stories about growing food together. 6 Replies

Hello everyone,I was very interested in hearing everyone's stories at Seedy Sunday and wished there would have been more time. Stories are important for me, partly because they inform me on what…Continue

Started by Simon Rompre. Last reply by Simon Rompre Feb 24, 2015.

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Comment by myna lee johnstone on March 10, 2016 at 9:18am
Comment by sarah cordes on June 11, 2015 at 4:27pm

hello! I attended the seedy sunday workshop way back in the day and forgot to write down the emails of the folks who were interested in having people live on their land...would anyone still have that contact info?? thanks!

Comment by Dennis Lucarelli on April 8, 2015 at 8:53am

Transition Salt Spring is looking to identify some long-term (five-year) objectives. Go to Long Term Planning Group to share your ideas before our Annual General Meeting on April 21, 2015.

Comment by Jan Steinman on February 25, 2015 at 2:00pm

(continued, part 2)

EcoReality chose the co-op model for a variety of reasons:

  • Formal incorporation (rather than LLP or JTWRoS) provides a lot of "scaffolding" for exceptional cases, such as "What happens when a member dies?" "What happens in bankruptcy?" "What is requride to force dissolution?"
  • Formal incorporation limits liability of individual members and investors. If there's a legal suit or bankruptcy, losses are limited to what individuals put in.
  • The co-op is largely protected from actions of individual members or investors. For example, it takes a 75% majority vote of all classes of all shares in order to force dissolution or liquidation of a major asset.
  • We did not want to try to twist the BC Corporations Act away from its emphasis on shareholder profit in order to provide non-monetary benefits to our members and the greater community.
  • "One member, one vote" seemed the most democratic of the incorporated options available.
  • Governance and share structure is flexible, and allows for inclusion of multiple points-of-view, as well as experimental governance models. (Seeing that "democracy" is "two wolves and a sheep, voting on what's for dinner," we use a combination of Sociocracy, stewardship, and limited consensus for our governance.)

Our long-term plan is to provide low-equity, naturally-built housing for thirteen fellow member-funders who together will provide for our basic food and energy needs, with a surplus for the greater community. Find out more via our website!

Comment by myna lee johnstone on February 25, 2015 at 1:53pm

thanks Jan!
I enjoyed your presentation and your FOG summation!

Comment by Jan Steinman on February 25, 2015 at 1:38pm

Presenters are invited to post a summary of their presentation...

EcoReality Co-op is a not-for-profit co-op organic Permaculture farm, dedicated to providing "affordable equity" housing and farmland for people who are interested in collaborative food production.

For the presentation, I'm afraid I didn't say much about EcoReality Co-op, but rather explored the options available for land sharing, their advantages and problems, and the reasons EcoReality chose to form a BC Cooperative Association, rather than some other form of land-sharing.

Some commonly-used land sharing options are:

  1. Sole ownership. People using the land do so at the pleasure and whim of the owner. This is widespread, and I have the utmost respect for the loving, kind-hearted owners who choose to share the use of their land, but consider that a divorce, serious illness, or death can take things out of the hands of a benevolent owner. Get it in writing, and vet it with a lawyer!
  2. Joint Tenants With Right Of Survivorship. This is a possibility for those seeking land to purchase as a group. Again, get it in writing! You can do anything you want with this format, but also, you must specify anything that may happen, too. Generally, all the joint tenants must agree on things like selling the property. All joint tenants are legally liable for the actions of any of the joint tenants, so only do this with people you trust with your life savings!
  3. Limited Liability Partnership. Similar to joint tenants, you start with ground zero, and you must write up every possible detail of any exceptional conditions you may face, but with the advantage that individual partners do not have liability for the actions of other partners, although the partnership will.
  4. Society or Charity. A "Society" is a non-profit legal entity, formally  governed by the BC Societies Act. A Society cannot distribute earnings to its members, and when it is dissolved, the proceeds must go to another Society. The money that goes into purchasing land cannot go back to the individuals that put it there — it's a one-way gate! A "Charity" is a special case of Society that is recognized by the Canada Federal Government as providing one or more of four distinct social advantages, and it can issue receipts that can be used as charitable tax deductions by those contributing. If your Society is not a Charity, not only can you not get any money back that you put in, you cannot even claim a tax deduction! This may be an option for a "benevolent owner" to put in their will.
  5. Corporation. Governed by the BC Corporations Act, corporate entities issue shares in proportion to amount invested. They are required by law to operate in such a way as to make the most profit they can for their investors. Governance is "one share, one vote," so those with more money in have more influence and power. Unlike un-incorporated ownership, a lot of exceptional circumstances (death, divorce, dissolution, etc.) is regulated by The Act. 
  6. Cooperative. Governed by the BC Cooperative Associations Act, co-ops are not required to be managed to generate maximum profit, and are governed by "one member, one vote," no matter how much or little individual members have invested. Co-ops can be "multi-stakeholder," with different membership classes for consumers, producers, inhabitants, etc. There are special cases dedicated to housing (but unfortunately, unsuitable for farming) and banking (credit unions.) A multi-stakeholder co-op can incorporate elements of housing co-ops and credit unions in order to self-finance, but the finance industry is notoriously hostile to co-ops, and getting individual mortgages for individual members' interests is impossible.

(continued, ran into 4,000 character limit)

Comment by myna lee johnstone on February 16, 2015 at 3:52pm

i wold like to start a report,a record of what we covered at Seedy Sunday,with observations and thoughts.
Presenters are invited to post a summary of their presentation and others can add on from there

Comment by Dennis Lucarelli on February 16, 2015 at 10:34am

This group was started at the request of several people who attended "Seedy Sunday" on February 15, 2015.  


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