Friday, March 7, 2014

...and the award goes to....

We were delighted to be recognized!

Hi there you person who is interested in our Blog!  Welcome!  Below is some information about the Sustainability award we just won.  (YAY!)  We thought we would stick it up here your you to enjoy... and also to update our posts.  Yes.  It is true.  Our blog is a...well... a tiny bit out dated.

Not because we don't have news to share, but because life here moves so quickly and joyfully that we've sort of forgotten to write about it.  We'd love to show you for ourselves.  Please be in touch and we'll arrange a tour.  If you would like to live here you'd best come soon as we are selling out very soon.


Yarrow wins!!

Congratulations to Yarrow Ecovillage - Groundswell Cohousing Development. This year marked the 19th Annual Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, where wonderful local companies are recognized in a variety of categories. The Yarrow Ecovillage was nominated for a "Sustainability Leadership Award" - The City of Chilliwack and the Chamber of Commerce are pleased to recognize outstanding contributions via sustainable initiatives.  The recipient of this award has actively implemented, integrated and promoted sustainability into the workplace.  They are recognized for their outstanding contributions to community sustainability through economic, social and environmental excellence and have demonstrated a visible commitment to sustainable business practises."  

After answering a number of probing questions directed at how the Ecovillage manages its resources and encourages better practices, plus an in person interview and tour of the site.....The Ecovillage gratefully accepted the award.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ecovillage you may like to know the answers to:

What is an 'ecovillage'?
The definition of an ecovillage, according to the Global Ecovillage Network is:  "an intentional or traditional community using local participatory processes to holistically integrate ecological, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of sustainability in order to regenerate social and natural environments." Basically, we are a group of people with the desire to work with each other within the village, as well as connect to the larger community, developing positive relationships and fostering care for our planet and its resources.

How did you get so many houses in one spot?
The ecovillage is 25 acres.  Some people have pulled land out of ALR to subdivide into half acre lots; if our 25 acres were treated in that way, it would have resulted in fifty homes.  
Over a number of years of negotiations with the City of Chilliwack, we jointly created an ecovillage zoning which allowed us to preserve 20 acres of ALR, build 33 homes to date on 2.5 of the acres and leave room for a 2.5 acre commercial/apartment development.

How did you do the septic?
We did not put in a septic as the size of the septic field required would have significantly encroached on our farm land. We did work with a professional company (Arden Consulting) to develop and install a wastewater treatment system that finishes in a series of constructed treatment wetlands that we planted with native vegetation. These wetlands filter our wastewater resulting in the discharge of clean water, and are also providing habitat for birds and amphibians.

What is so sustainable about those houses? They look huge!
Our homes are smaller than an average house in Chilliwack. Of the 33 homes, 3 are a bit over 2000 sq feet, 16 are approximately 1000 sq feet and the remaining 14 homes are about 1500 sq feet. As all but 2 homes are multi-family (duplex, triplex, 4 and 5 plex) we have used less materials in the construction to begin with - less siding, roofing, concrete bases and so on, plus, we have less heat loss overall due in part to the shared internal walls. The 2 single family homes are the 'beehive' or dome homes, unique structures in themselves.

What religion are you?
We are not a religious community. Our community is comprised of diverse people with diverse beliefs and world-views.

So do you all work at the Deli or on the farm?
No, the Deli is privately owned and run by the wonderful people who work there. The farm is leased annually, by acre, to organic farmers who sell their products at the farm stand, through a Community Supported Agriculture program, and at local Farmer's Markets.Many of the farmers do live here, but a few live off site.

What kind of jobs do people have there?
Well, this is a broad question, but we have project managers, professors, teachers, systems administrators, scientists, directors, tradesmen and consultants, to name a few. Business owners, farmers and retired folk too. Many of us work offsite, telecommute or both.

If you would like to know more, have a look around, or get involved, please contact us online.
We host pre-booked tours every other Saturday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Eve is big around here

I can't believe how excited I am!

The kids are in bed and I'm just waiting for Paul to get home so we can put the final touches on our Valentine's surprise.  This year is going to be amazing!  What do you do for Valentine's day?  Wait until you see what happens here.
Millie on our Valentine's walk through Yarrow
Photos are all taken by Vivian

Okay.  So I can't know for sure that it will happen again, but let me tell you what happened last year.  Last year Valentine's day got out to the normal "shout the kids out the door to the bus" routine until we opened the front door.  We stopped flat.

There was the beginning of what turned out to be a magical day.  A simple box of chocolates with a poem written out on yellow paper.  There was one at every door in the village.  That simple box of chocolates was like a portal to a magic place.  I suppose everyone opened their door that morning and found the same thing I did.  I suppose it did the same thing to every heart what it did to mine.  I cracked right open.

It must have had that same effect on us all.  Had to.  By the end of the day I had a whole table of choclates and cookies.  Poems and pictures.  A red lamay door knocker still hangs on our bedroom door from that day.

Yarrow Post Office
It wasn't just our village.  The whole of Yarrow had been decorated.  Each store had a special display gifted to it by some unknown folks that cleaned it up as fast as they put it out.  I remember walking Millie down the street.  Looking at each magical installation. Noting different styles for sure.

My front door half way through the day
The village sort of fell in love all over again last Valentine's Day.  Winter can be a tough time in community.  We see each other less.  The work part stays and the fun part dwindles.  We do our best, and those that have been here longer know it is part of the ebb and flow of this place.  Valentine's Day last year felt like a renewal for me.  People walked around with the biggest smiles.  Our hearts were full.

I need that full heart again.  Lord knows this winter has felt long and cloudy for me.  I have barely held on until now- but here I am!  Valentine's Eve!  Falling in love with the village all over again!

Yarrow IS special.
- Paul's home.... Gotta run.  See you tomorrow! ;)