EcoReality Co-op

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

  • Last updated: January 14, 2019 (3 seconds ago)
  • Listing created on: November 25, 2005

Mission Statement

Our focus is permaculture, sustainable living, food and energy production, and education.

Because humans have tipped the planet out of energetic balance, leading to increasing overpopulation, conflict, famine, and extinction, possibly of humans themselves, we, the members and advisors of the Ecoreality community agree to honor our individual roles as part of a collective that is committed to sustainability in all its forms.

Here is our mission (an action plan that guides us):

We choose to build a loving community together in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.
As a community, we pledge to learn by practice and exploration how to apply principles of ecology, non-violence, awareness, diversity, and education toward the achievement of a lifestyle that is a result of intentional sustainable actions and alternatives to the state of the world (see first line). To do this, we agree to use clear, compassionate communication and written process, and to empower people through ongoing group awareness and processes that promote personal responsibility and accountability. We agree to share knowledge and materials in ways that promote our community values. Finally, we will support our mission actions by appropriate tools that we all agree to use, such as consensus decision-making.

Furthermore, we endorse a common set of values in priority order, from which we derive our common vision and purpose statements, the latter of which we periodically review and ratify by unanimous consent.

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 eleven 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.

We also have a 3,550 sqft “high tunnel” poly greenhouse, divided into zones for propagation, nursery, and direct seeding.

New as of September 2016: we have salvaged a wonderful 3,080 sqft glass and aluminum greenhouse, currently in pieces, awaiting drier weather so we can start foundation work.

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.


  • Submedia TV:
    Co-founder Jan Steinman is interviewed at 7:30 into this video blog. (Warning: considerable profanity before the interview.)
  • Vancouver Sun article on EcoReality:
    Vancouver Sun wrote an article about EcoReality.
  • EcoReality:
    EcoReality is developing an ecovillage on 100 acres of public/co-op land in the South Gulf Islands of British Columbia. This ecovillage will be a model of sustainable development, and will feature public outreach and education as included goals.
  • EcoReality Co-op:
    Fact Sheet for those considering joining EcoReality.
  • Escape From Suburbia:
  • Status: Re-forming
  • Started Planning: 2004
  • Start Living Together: 2006
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • 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
  • FIC Membership

    Since 2015
    This Community is an FIC Member
  • Location

  • This Community is Re-forming

    Salt Spring Ecovillage Education and Development Society (SEEDS)


  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property), Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling), Transition Town or Eco-Neighborhood (focused on energy/resource resiliency)
  • 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
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land in the permitting or zoning stage
  • Area: 43 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Mobile homes, RV’s, converted buses
  • Current Number of Residences: 2
  • Planned number of residences: 13
  • Planned Residence Types: Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Tiny house, Natural built structues
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental, Work-exchange
  • Land owned by: The entire community membership
  • Additional Comments:

    Two shared houses totalling 4,200 sqft with eleven 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.


  • Adult Members: 7
  • Child Members: 5
  • Non-member Residents: 9
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Check out our visitor information page ( for the latest information. No “drop ins,” please!

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Need funding members (six figures) at this time, although highly skilled people with fewer funds are also of interest.


  • 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.


  • Join Fee: $1000
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: No
  • Shared Income: Partial share of income
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 36
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debt)
  • Additional Comments:

    Applicants must demonstrate a history of fiscal responsibility.

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

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 26-49%
  • Energy sources: Solar, Wind, Hydro-Electric, Biomass, Biofuel, Clean Energy from the Grid
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: Almost All, around 90%
  • Planned food produced: Almost All, around 90%
  • Food produced locally: Almost All, around 90%


  • Common Facilities: Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Swimming pond or pool, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Swingsets & play areas
  • Internet Available: Yes, both the community and individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for some people.
  • Shared meals: 2-5 times per week
  • Dietary Practice: Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We are self-feeding on a gross measure (calories produced per resident), but we sell some food we produce and buy grocery food that we cannot produce.

    We are primarily vegetarian, but have goat dairy and chicken/duck eggs. Excess male animals are sometimes respectfully eaten.

    No smoking on the site. We ask smokers to walk to the road to smoke.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community, Buddhist, Native American, Unitarian Universalist, Paganism or Earth Religions
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Private Schooling at the Community, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Expected Healthcare Practices:

    We strive to use natural remedies, but do not require it.

  • Healthcare Options: Partial, Special, or Limited Community Plan, Up to each family or individual
  • Additional Comments:

    Currently, the dental and other health care needs of Members that is not covered by BC Health are covered by the co-op.

Additional Comments

Walikng/biking distance (3 km) to small village. Hospital, schools, groceries, library, etc. 10 km away. Public bus service.

Photo Gallery

Video Gallery

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