How to join
Before describing the application procedure, we’d like to clarify a few questions that have probably come to your mind.
Why this type of investment?
We need to move all our resources as quickly as possible towards the most effective solutions if we are to halt & reverse the current destructive trends, and create the new economy. This article from an expert in green investing argues why the type of investment we are offering with this initiative is of the most important, but also least used.
- One of the most important jobs we need to do to change paradigms is to ‘liberate’ land. The idea of humans ‘owning’ land is incomprehensible to native peoples and one of the roots of our collective psychosis in the west. With this shares structure (shares correspond to living rights / stewardship duties but not ‘ownership’ of land) what we are doing is putting the land in trust with a Foundation (or other legal structure to be determined) which ensures it will be safeguarded by permaculture ethics, principles & objectives in perpetuity. We think this change of mindset regarding ownership is essential to having a saner relationships in the future.
- This is also a way of enjoying a whole farm for a fraction of the price it would cost you to buy one on your own, while multiplying many times its quality & fertility. You can cash-in your investment if you wish to move on, always provided you have contributed positively to the project. Your investment would increase simply with time under industrial conditions, but should increase a lot more (in real value if not cash value) as an increasingly productive rural land with our work on it, and particularly as a unit of a wider synergistic whole (the Eco-village). The return of your investment may, especially during the early stage of the project, be contingent upon there being another applicant who is ready to invest — all of this will be clearly defined in the initial agreements (statutes and by-laws) by the founding members.
Investing (our money, time, attention, energy) in the solutions to the world’s environmental, social & economic problems is now the most important job we have as humans, and this project can be thought as a kind of bank for ethical investors. Whether you reap the benefits by sharing this space or just by having a monetary return on your investment in the future, it’s probably one of the most secure ways to invest right now, and certainly one of the most ethical & strategically important, for all of us. Read more about how shares work and investing in 8th Life Panama here.
- You will be surrounded by other independent entrepreneurs with whom you can cooperate to maximize the benefits of all activities. If you need to create a job for yourself, here you can do so without running the high risks usually found in terms of making this lifestyle viable (economically, socially, personally) especially if it’s new to you.
- Organic living is wildly productive if done in a sensible way, not in isolation (as many couples or nuclear families try to make it work) and with the right set of knowledge, experience, skills, local contacts and especially with the solid on-site long-term observation and testing.
- You can have the best of both worlds: the independence of your own piece of land & own eco-business, with the companionship & support as well as the safety-net of other entrepreneurs around you who are mostly busy with very complimentary businesses of their own.
- Great synergies are possible (but not obligatory) in this set-up.
- In the case of you already having a transportable business of your own, here you can find a perfect place from which to operate: high speed internet connection combined with simple healthy living in a most beautiful natural place
So, if you have read everything up to this point and it all sounds good, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I get involved?” Here’s our application process, which pretty much needs to be done in this order:
Study the Project
Take the time to study this entire website well and also read the following resources.
6 Ingredients for Forming Communities There are well-studied criteria for ensuring Eco-village projects succeed. Here is an example of some of the good work that has been done in this area. We are following these recommendations because unfortunately, as with start-up companies, most Eco-village projects never make it.
Evolutionary Relationships Most people focus on physical structures (land, houses, etc.) when they think of an Eco-village, but in fact the most basic ‘soil’ of any project are the relationships. We are all well-trained in consumerism & that means we often know how to use people, animal, land … rather than relate. So there is much to learn & much to change inside as well as outside of us, as we work for a saner humanity.
Socially Responsible Investing This article, by Hal Brill author of Investing with your Values, is quite detailed, from a trailblazing integral permaculture colleague & describes the crucial gap we are aiming to address with this initiative. It merits much reflection, and begs the question — does it go far enough? We’d love to talk more about this!
Fill out our Application Form
If after studying these pages you find that you are seriously interested in being considered as a founding member of this initiative (a project still in very early stages of formation), we’d appreciate if you could send us the application form filled out in as much detail as possible.
We appreciate this is a very long & detailed application form and we feel that it is appropriate to what we’re looking for: being a founder member of a quite unique Co-working Co-living Eco-entrepreneurial Eco-village is something that is worth thinking through in some detail. This is why we ask so many questions as it’s part of the two-way evaluation and mutual agreement process.
We prefer if you fill out the form above – as it consolidates the information into an applicant database – but if you have a problem with the form, as a last resort you can copy & paste the questions from this page, adding your answers, into an email to [email protected] You can also copy & paste these questions into a text document so that you can prepare your answers and then simply copy & paste them into the application form. This would actually give you time to think about your replies.
Introductory Video Call
Once we receive your application, we’ll reach out to schedule a time to talk by Skype, Zoom, What’s App or some other VOIP / internet calling system. This will give us a chance to get to know one another just a bit and answer any initial questions. After this, if we both think it’s a good idea for you to proceed, we will be in touch with you over a period of months while you’re planning your transition and studying permaculture (which we hope you’ll do here here with us).
Integral Permaculture Training
Enroll in the online Integral Permaculture Certificate action learning program, where we will formally start your induction into the project as well as designing together your transition to the Eco-village (including any Eco-business you might need to organize).
This training is a basic requirements for all resident members. It will be useful whatever you end up doing, if you are seriously interested in living a more sustainable life, anywhere. But it also will be useful for us- because we are setting up a very ambitious project and it’s important for everyone to be on the same page.
So for people who are seriously interested in joining us as pioneering Eco-business builders the first step after reading this site and contacting us in Panama is to enroll in the PDC+ Action Learning Program (option C as a minimum) as soon as you can. This will allow us to get to know each other as you become acquainted with existing members & with the designs we’re working on. At the same time you will deepen you knowledge in the science of designing for sustainability, (a basic requirement for all members of this Eco-village).
If at all possible, we’d like you to take this course here in Antón since, as part of the Eco-Escuelas Network, we offer the course on-site with lodging at Villa Astoria. That way, while you’re studying you have the opportunity to design and implement projects that are highly relevant to your transition – since you’ll become familiar with everything here. Another benefit to doing the PDC here at the villa is that, through the course and getting to know us and where we are, you might discover that there are better options for you elsewhere. It’s best to discover that early, don’t you think?
So, while it’s possible to take the course purely online, we highly encourage people to take it here. This substitutes for a formal visit program, which we’ve found isn’t the best route for us at this point. In any event, if you are serious about sustainability, the PDC+ Action Learning Program is full of very basic essentials to orient you on your path & is highly recommended for all people who are aiming to create a more sustainable life for themselves, their families & their communities, wherever and however that might be: it’s about learning profound design principles, & for most of us, the biggest & most important design we do is that of our own lives.
Note that if you have already taken a PDC (or several), we still require you to do this course as it develops the People-Care & EcoEconomics modules to a level no other PDCs do (yet) & we consider these especially basic & critical in making a project like this work in practice. Because it is an Action-Learning course (design-portfolio based, & you start sharing your designs from day 1) we have also found this to be the best mini-max & multi-functional way to get to know each other & the project in detail.
Your enrollment in the PDC+ is the first sign of commitment on your part which motivates us to take you seriously as a prospective member & also make some good use of answering all your questions & supporting your transition – wherever it might lead. It shows you have some basic understanding of symmetry as a basic requirement of sustainability, & also that you’re interested (& possibly as excited as we are) about the Integral approach we’re taking. The length of the course depends upon which option you choose and how we structure it. We will be holding formal, facilitated PDC courses for groups, but it’s also possible to do this in ones or twos and we’ll provide ad-hoc facilitation support. Plan for a minimum of 2 weeks – but we encourage you to take it more slowly, giving yourself a couple of months to absorb and apply the information. Plus, we’ll get to know each other much better this way!
Become a Resident
Once you’ve planned your transition, you become a resident at the project (this can be during the time that you are taking your PDC). The first 6 months of residence is part of our mutual evaluation period. Following this time, you apply to become a member. Acceptance is based on following the community agreements (being drafted by the founding members) and being an active, productive and positive participant in the daily goings-on of the community.