Ontario Agriculture

The network for agriculture in Ontario, Canada

Intentional Community Farms, Co-operative Farms or Mult-Family Farming Anyone?

Hello!

I am new to this forum but I was wondering if anyone on here knew about or was interested in discussing the idea of cooperative farming.  I currently live in Toronto but would like to move to a farm setting within 45 minutes of Toronto.  My partner and I would like to raise a family in a rural setting, preferably in some type of communal or shared setting.  This could be as simple as renting or buying a house on an existing farm and helping with some aspects of operations to establishing a cooperative farm with other families with a similar vision.

 

I grew up on a cooperative colony farm so I do have some experience and understanding of what is involved there.  Unfortunately I still do need to earn a living in the city so proximity is of great importance to me. 

 

Anyone interested in discussing?

 

Cheers

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That's a good idea. I have an academic background in agriculture and am interested in your plan. Wish to learn more about the plan and know more people related to farming.
Interesting concepts...not something complete foreign to agriculture...we have a tradition of cooperatives...just not as common on the farm...

I have only heard about a couple of cooperative models for farming...the Hutterites colonies in Western Canada and US have grown over the years and of course the Israeli Kibbutz system...wondering if anyone else has some examples that work...

Joe
The amish and old order mennonites have participated in varying degrees of collective farming as have the Bruderhof and several other religious groups. Seeing as religion and common cultural heritage are strong glues that held those communities together I think an alternative concept would be doing something more similar to a "condominium" structure where there is common shared space (the farm) and privately owned space with service fees (the houses)
It would make a lot of sense in terms of sharing the investment, risk and capital expenditures that farming involves. It would also not necessarily have to financially sustain all the members but could be seen as a collective hobby farming community..? I think it would be a cost effective, environmentally friendly and exciting way to build relationships, have a safe and green place to raise kids and as well as a farming opportunity.

OntAG Admin said:
Interesting concepts...not something complete foreign to agriculture...we have a tradition of cooperatives...just not as common on the farm...

I have only heard about a couple of cooperative models for farming...the Hutterites colonies in Western Canada and US have grown over the years and of course the Israeli Kibbutz system...wondering if anyone else has some examples that work...

Joe
It looks like that we should build the system firstly, then we can practise.

Ekandi said:
The amish and old order mennonites have participated in varying degrees of collective farming as have the Bruderhof and several other religious groups. Seeing as religion and common cultural heritage are strong glues that held those communities together I think an alternative concept would be doing something more similar to a "condominium" structure where there is common shared space (the farm) and privately owned space with service fees (the houses)
It would make a lot of sense in terms of sharing the investment, risk and capital expenditures that farming involves. It would also not necessarily have to financially sustain all the members but could be seen as a collective hobby farming community..? I think it would be a cost effective, environmentally friendly and exciting way to build relationships, have a safe and green place to raise kids and as well as a farming opportunity.

OntAG Admin said:
Interesting concepts...not something complete foreign to agriculture...we have a tradition of cooperatives...just not as common on the farm...

I have only heard about a couple of cooperative models for farming...the Hutterites colonies in Western Canada and US have grown over the years and of course the Israeli Kibbutz system...wondering if anyone else has some examples that work...

Joe
Actually legal framework, social guidelines and construction suggestions for this type of living arrangement are quite extensively available. The "project model" originated in Denmark and Sweden in the 60s and can currently be found in communities throughout North America. There are many particularly in BC. For some reason there don't seem to be many here in Ontario, at least not near Toronto. Not all of these groups are farming communities but most incorporate some element of farm life and rural culture. There are many websites out there but this one I found just now seems to give a brief overview of some of the basic concepts. http://www.pcdf.org/meadows/cohousing.htm

The biggest challenges are:
1.finding a group of people with similar interests that are ready to put time, effort and money into starting a project like this
2.finding suitable land at a reasonable cost that can be rezoned to support multi-units and common facilities.

Ideally I was looking for a group that already had something like this underway but if that is not the case I would be happy to lead some discussions around the possibilities. Maybe someone has an existing farm that could accomodate a few more houses and could use additional investments and free labor! :)
There are a handful of cooperative farms in Ontario that incorporate worker and housing coops. Some have been around a long time, some just getting started, most being very low profile. A good place to start for you would be the Whole Village not far out of Toronto
www.wholevillage.org/
Do you have any other examples or names besides Whole Village? I went and visited them and I think its more of a retirement community for a small handful of people. They seem like awesome people but I am hoping for a more family-based environment.

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