EcoReality Co-op

Last updated: November 19, 2015 (1 week ago)

Listing created on: November 25, 2005

EcoReality Co-op

(Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)

  • Status: Re-forming
  • Started Planning: 2004
  • Start Living Together: 2006
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address:
  • Business, Project, or Organization:
  • Contact Name: Jan Steinman
  • Phone: 250-653-2024
  • Community Address:
    2152 Fulford-Ganges Rd
    Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 1Z7
  • This Community is Re-forming

    Salt Spring Ecovillage Education and Development Society (SEEDS)

  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    Check out our visitor information page ( for the latest information.

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes
    Need funding members at this time, although highly skilled people with fewer funds are also of interest.

Mission Statement:

permaculture, education

Community Description:

EcoReality Sustainable Land Use and Education Cooperative is developing an ecovillage in the south Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada. This ecovillage will be a model of sustainable food and energy production and will include public outreach and education as goals.

We have acquired a 43-acre property next to a 61-acre “community farmland” site, backed by a thousand of acres of public parkland, all the way to the highest peak on the island, and down to the ocean.

The property has cleared, productive farmland (mostly in hay), riparian and laucustrine areas, and young forest. The public parkland extends from the highest point on the island (Bruce Peak, at 704 metres), all the way to the ocean at Burgoyne Bay, and up the other side to the second-highest point (Mount Maxwell, at 579 metres).

All of the property is irrigated by a two-acre pond and two year-round streams via an extensive buried irrigation system. The class-2 soils are in growing zones 8 and 9. We have been implementing a Permaculture design for the site.

Two houses with a total of 4,200 sq ft of living space have ten bedrooms, four bathrooms, and two kitchens between them, as well as ample room for meetings and home-based businesses. Three members live in these buildings, sharing them with renters, WWOOFers, and visitors.

A garage/studio/workshop of about 1,200 sq ft is used as a classroom for Permaculture and agriculture classes and public events. The classroom seats 40.

New in 2012 is a 3,550 sqft greenhouse, divided into zones for propagation, nursery, and direct seeding.

We have begun a public education campaign leading to re-zoning that will enable construction of a number of additional dwelling units. Current zoning allows three additional houses and a cottage. We have completed studies that show a larger number of dwelling units are appropriate, based on both carrying capacity of the land and agricultural labour needs, which is the legal requirement for more dwellings. This will be a political process, with at least three government bodies and public hearings involved.

We are seeking additional members who can contribute approximately half the value of a typical North American suburban house to the project. Prospective members with outstanding skills who can contribute less are encouraged to contact us.


  • Adult Members: 6
  • Child Members: 4
  • Non-member Residents: 7
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 31-40%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes

Social Factors

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community, Buddhist, Native American, Unitarian Universalist
  • Common Facilities: Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Swimming pond or pool, Tractor & Farm Equipment
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Expected Healthcare Practices: We strive to use natural remedies, but do not require it.
  • Internet Available: Yes, both the community and individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for some people.


  • Type: Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability.), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property.), Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling.)
  • Programs & Activities: Transition Town (post-petroleum and off-grid communities.), School, Educational Institute or Experience, Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming, Festivals, Conferences, Events
  • Decision Making: Sociocracy
  • Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments: We use modified Dynamic Governance (Sociocracy). Stewards are elected by consensus, and have considerable autonomy, and committees of stewards with similar or overlapping responsibility make many decisions.

    Consensus is used as a delegation and ratification mechanism, with a great deal of autonomy given to stewards.

Land and Buildings

  • Status: We have land in the permitting or zoning stage
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental, Work-exchange
  • Location: Rural
  • Area: 43 acres
  • Land owned by: The entire community membership
  • Current Number of Residences: 2
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Mobile homes, RV’s, converted buses
  • Planned number of residences: 13
  • Planned Residence Types: Multi-family homes, Natural built structues
  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Energy sources: Solar, Wind, Hydro-Electric, Biomass, Biofuel, Clean Energy from the Grid
  • Additional Comments: Two shared houses totalling 4,200 sqft with ten bedrooms, two kitchens, four baths, plus garage/workshop/classroom, trailers, and greenhouse.

    Eleven additional units planned, in a two-storey series of duplexes in a south-facing arc, connected by solaria.

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: None
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debt)


  • Required Labor Contribution: 7


  • Join Fee: 1000
  • Regular Fee: 25
  • Additional Comments: Applicants must demonstrate a history of fiscal responsibility.

    $1,000 for basic membership, plus an equity investment in land and buildings.



  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Current food produced: Between 26-49%


  • Planned food produced: Almost All, around 90%


  • Food produced locally: From 50-75%


  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
  • Dietary Practice: Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian


  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.


  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.


  • Additional comments: We are self-feeding on a gross measure (calories produced per resident), but we sell our food and buy grocery food.

    We are primarily vegetarian.

    No smoking in any structure.


Additional Comments

Walikng/biking distance to small village. Public bus service.

Photo Gallery

Cohousing Info

  • Building site status: Own Site
  • Year construction was (or will be) completed: 2016
  • Number of housing units: 13
  • Shared common building: Yes (800 square feet)

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Ecovillage Network of the Americas, Northwest Intentional Communities Association

Community Affiliations

Yarrow Ecovillage, O.U.R ECOVILLAGE, Earthaven Ecovillage


biodiesel, raw goat milk, humanure, market garden, greenhouse, ice cream, goat milk soap, co-housing

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
Bryan Bowan Architects California Cohousing International Communes Desk ICSA NICA Wolf Creek Lodge