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What do we want to create?
A village located on 22 acres of land north of Viking, AB accommodating approximately 20 families. The remaining of the quarter designated as a conservation area. There is also alternative section of 20 acres on which an edible forrest or a sister-village can be built.
To explore a new, replicable concept of alternative rural living within a small sustainable rural community committed to building their lives together, living on sustainable foods and exploring concepts of mutually beneficial relationship between people and prairie nature
- ARSAN will not develop the village but instead act as a partner to the land developer who is willing to buy the quarter section of land with the portion designated for the village.
- The goal is the formation of a small village, approximately 20 families, organized as a housing cooperative or an equivalent legal cooperative structure.
- ARSAN has legal rights to the quarter of the land which can be sold to a cooperative representing potential villagers or a developer who is willing to enter into a contract with ARSAN, agreeing to build an intentional community and protect the part of the land under conservation.
- ARSAN expects that:
- Buildings constructed according to ecological principles and modest in size
- Housing and some common use areas are designed to fit the natural features of the land
- Common utilities provide some renewable energy and are designed to conserve water and energy
- Suggested approach to organize the village development is not to force participants to act as a kind of commune but rather create conditions encouraging increasing cooperation
- Villagers can be supplied with sustainable foods produced on the bio-intensive demo farm next door with easy pedestrian access.
- Getting foods from the farm will be voluntary and based on Community Supporting Agriculture principles, villagers having the priority to participate in the CSA
- Foods can be obtained raw and/or processed or villagers may process them, individually or collectively
- Foods, if not yet available from the Bio-Intensive Farm, can be sourced with ARSAN's help from other sustainable local suppliers
- Learning about sustainable food processing, farming and other aspects of food sustainability can be provided by the Sustainable Food Learning Centre in Mundare
- Some food, if they choose so, can be produced within village boundaries directly by villagers
- Opportunity to learn about sustainable bio-intensive farming through direct participation in farm operations
- Access to Viking and its various ammenities possible on a bike or even on foot
- Native land next to the village can be enhanced to correct present problems and increase its vitality and biodiversity; 90 acres committed to rebuilding it to its natural state, 20 acres to plant an edible forrest and 28 acres to make it more attractive to villagers when increasing land biodeversity.
- Conservation principles of the land and its specific uses are opened for negotiations with the potential developer of the land.
- Villagers, having full access to all land, are seen future guardians of the conservation areas.
- Very interesting opportunities for various institutions to conduct variety of long-term human ecology projects about ecological enhancement of the land and interactions between people and Nature to their mutual benefits
- Final decisions as for principles of organizing the village will be made by those who will be forming the housing cooperative in partnership with ARSAN
Connections with other ARSAN projects
- There is a direct reciprocal tie with the Bio-Intensive Farm project. The farm needs the village as a market for its foods and a potential source of help working on the farm. The village needs the farm for an ongoing supply of sustainable, high quality food that cannot be obtained elsewhere, particularly when considering supplying most of family food needs.
- All traditional food processing technologies that can be utilized by villagers will be developed as a part of the Sustainable Food Learning Centre project
- Meats and poultry which are foods requiring most complex processing skills, designated facilities and adeherance to demanding food safety procedures can be supplied through the Local Meats for the Cities business structure
What is unique about this project?
- Reciprocal economic, food and learning relationships between the village and the bio-intensive farm that allows for extensive learning and can sustain both; the village and the farm
- Extensive links to the natural prairie environment present on the remaining part of the quarter of the land
- A conservation village as place built in connection to some land under conservation is a relatively new concept of intentional community usually tried within an urban rather than rural setting
- Opportunities to participate or just observe proceedings of various ecological projects as they develop over time on the adjunct land protected by ARSAN
- Strong links with a good size working town when having opportunity to develop and maintain its own village social identity and community relationships
- Opportunity to live with people of similar beliefs and values, which makes it different from many other typical rural developments
- People who will decide to live in the village
- People and organizations that decide to learn from the concept and replicate it at other locations
- Viking and its dwellers through the addition of people who support local services and infrastructure, the boosting of the town's image, and by attracting visitors and tourists interested in the village and the ecological projects to the town
- Beaver County by increasing its tax base and boosting its image as a progressive county
- Both rural and urban Alberta by being offered an alternative model that may in the longer term help re-populate rural areas with urban people
- Natural environment since development of the land may not only increase vitality of the quarter on which the project is developed but may have a much broader impact by demonstrating to the public benefits of new ways of people living in sync with their natural surroundings
How far has the project progressed?
- Land suitable for project implementation was identified
- Initial concept of the project has been developed
- ARSAN acquired legal rights to the title for the quarter of the land. The land has been purchased yet payment for the whole quarter is delayed up to three years. This must come from the proceeds of selling the land for the village
- Applicable regulations and budget cost of village development have been investigated and identified
- ARSAN obtained official letter of support for the project from the Council of the Beaver County
- A sub-project called People and Priarie Nature was formulated and started, being led by Pamela Gottselig. Gerry Ehlert and Pamela Gottselig through the summer of 2011 have conducted field work on natural plant inventory, setting up site plant communities, monitoring progress, and setting recommendations for creating trails on the land. The report is now completed and available to download here
- Barb Hazenveld from Olds, an expert on permaculture and intentional communities, has created a document presenting key ideas about forming an intentional community in Alberta - download here.
- After holding the title for the land for two years, ARSAN decided to reverse the ownership of the land and give it back to William and Bernadette Rozmahels. The land is now in the hands of the Rozmahels family but all the options of building the conservation village are still open.
- Waiting for people and organizations interested in forming the housing cooperative (or other alternative legal structure) and leading development of the village
What support and resources will we be looking for?
- ARSAN will not actively purse this project further, from the idea development stage to actuall building of the village. The land is now back in the ownership of the Rozmahels family who welcomes any inquires regarding development of the village along the lines developed and proposed by ARSAN. Brian Rozmahel is the person to contact regarding further steps in this project.
- ARSAN brought this project to the point where all the ideas regarding the village and the quarter of the land on which it could be placed have been developed and laid out for public access. Check http://prairiehome.ca. ARSAN's role and resources allow only for genenerating and developing new ideas about possible alternatives but for its different projects, to move forward, new people (or organizations) that see their vested interest have to materialize as future drivers of the projects.
- There is still an open quest for finding individuals or a group of people willing to purchase and develop the land as an intentional community.
- Funding to help advance the project further; developing plans for the village, setting up human ecology projects, planting the edible forrest, etc.