Section 5 of IPC Membership Contract

Land Stewardship Model

Introduction to the IPC Land Stewardship Model

The land the Tribe inhabits will be under protection from market speculation through the Community Earth Land Trust. The community itself therefore is already a steward of this land abiding by the Foundations ecological charter and zone management and therefore the tribe cannot buy and sell pieces of it. Since all Participants take part in this stewardship and since each person benefits from public as well as private space, we as a community will manage the lands by designating public & personal/private spaces in permissible zones, without using an ownership model.

Land can be stewarded by a participant (private) but also by a project or cooperative (public) within the zones permissible. In essence the Foundation & the Tribe give these entities the right to use land for an indefinite period of time so long as they occupy the spaces offered and that they do so in accordance to the ecological charter of the land. Stewardship imparts responsibility as well as a privileges to each Participant.

There will be a Steward Registry to keep track of all history concerning the use of lands and the stewards of land.

All Stewards are responsible for the upkeep of their stewarded land which entails respecting neighboring lands, controlling fires, keeping grounds relatively clean from industrial societal garbage and not polluting the water, air or soil with same.

Project, Cooperative, Business Stewardship

There is no Steward Land Fee for a project or cooperative. The size of land stewarded is based on the project or cooperatives needs and will be granted or denied by the community using the democratic model. A project or cooperative cannot transfer their stewardship and if they no longer need the land or if the cooperative or project no longer is functioning the land returns to the commons - to the community.

Private Stewardship

The privilege of private stewardship allows each Participant access to a personal/private space within the greater community spaces. The freedom to use this land in any manner so long as it is in accordance with the ecological charter of the Land Trust, imparts a personal freedom, allowing Participants to live and explore in their own ways things that the community as a whole or in groups is not interested in exploring.

Being a participant and a steward of such a lot does not mean that one cannot choose alternative living arrangements. A steward is not obliged to live or even use the land that they are a steward of. It is a privilege that one has as a participant and it is a show of equal standing, of individual expression and power within the community.

Each private stewarded lot will be equal in size and will have enough room for a modest home and garden. The exact size of the stewarded land will be chosen when finalizing the permaculture plan and its size will help be determined by the needs and wants of future participants. Although an estimated 900 square meters has been proposed and will likely remain unless opposition or circumstances in the permaculture plan deem otherwise.

Each full participant is assigned by their own choice of what is available a private stewarded lot to be on, build on, plant on, keep up, make messy or do with as they please so long as what is done on it does not run contrary to the ecological charter of that zone of the Land Trust.

Each participant, regardless of if they are co-housing with others (children, other participant(s), etc...), enters into stewardship of such personal land.

Children and teenagers of Participants have the right to stay on the Stewarded Land and in the community at no extra charge until the age of 18, after which they will be considered as Family Visitors unless they have already applied for membership. (Please see Family and Friend Visitors section for details)

Stewards can invite outside guests onto their Stewarded land and if they do, are responsible for them. Stewards are given 30 Guest Days per year for their guests to use without charge. This is a non transferable nor bankable time which can be used consecutive or not, beginning on the 1st day of each year. This is counted not by the amount of people visiting but by the days that a guest or guests are on the land. (See Family and Friend Visitors section for details)

A business can be started on a private stewardship lot, community backed or not, however all the rules still apply. What is created from that business must first be offered to the Tribe and what is left can then be sold - please refer to the Income Sharing Model in our Sharing Economy section of the IPC contract for details.

Full membership does not occur until the Land Steward Fee has been paid in full to the Foundation, even if the person may not need the land. Once a member they will be considered the rightful Steward of a lot and they can choose to do with it as they like as long as it abides by the charter and this contract. They could also choose to temporarily or indefinitely allow the land to be used for other community endeavors, however the main steward on the registry will remain the same until they leave the community or transfer their stewardship to another lot. In affect, each Tribe member must be a steward of a lot at any given time.

Each Tribe member can only be a steward of one lot at any given time. Projects, businesses and cooperatives may be stewards of many lots so long as the community has given consent and those entities are actually using them.

Stewarded lands are chosen on a first come, first choice method. There is no difference in fees nor in costs based on the sites themselves. Differences depend only on when a member joins the community and the buildings that prior persons or the community have invested on that land.

Each stewarded land is 900 square meters and is usually located in the periphery of the village center. We feel this is an adequate size to offer privacy for each participant while keeping the village size reasonably (contained) and in proximity for communal living and cooperative work. Exceptions may arise and could be granted through the democratic model if a majority is agreed to.

As of this time, there is no building code, so we ask participants to be safe and create their place as they wish. We recommend sharing your vision of place as helpful information is surely to come your way in saving time, effort and money.

The Stewarded land comes with a fee, referred to most often as the Steward Land Fee and which has a refundable portion under some circumstances. See the Steward Land Fee Information section below for more details.

A participant can transfer their stewarded land to any other participant or person, in the singular, if they are planning to leave the community, exchange a stewarded lot for another, or in the form of a will. In order for the person to become the new steward they will need to already be a participant or go through the membership process and be accepted into the tribe. Such a person will have a one year grace period to come to the community in order to claim the stewarded land. If they are not interested in coming to live in the community or if they don't come to the community within the year, they will be reimbursed the Stewarded Land Fee in full. In either case, after a month of the transfer and until the year grace period passes, the community will be able to use the land, for example, in harvesting fruits, in short term rentals, etc... as long as such undertakings do not change the lay of the land.

If a participant resigns from the community and there is no other participant who wants to take on the stewardship available, the community will find a replacement for them in time, and will reimburse the fee when the community is able to do so, usually once a replacement has paid their Steward Land Fee.

Selling a stewardship is forbidden. The only money exchanged is the Steward Land Fee and it is exchanged with the community coffers not directly between individuals. Every new member must pay the membership fees but if they have been given the stewarded land by a friend or family member through circumstances such as leaving the community or by will, the new member would only have to pay the difference based on the consecutive number of new participants which will never surpass $8,800 USD. So if the old member paid $8,800, and left the stewarded land to his sibling, then the sibling would only need to pay the $1200 trial period fee and be accepted into the community if they have not already done so. If the sibling already is stewarding land, they may choose to change lots. There will be a 3 month grace period for the sibling to make that choice. Which ever stewarded land they do not take on will be available again for other members or new participants coming into the community. As the Steward Land Fee is a way of paying off the original purchase price there will be no raising of the price when transferring. In the same way; if someone payed the 'early bird' price of the Steward Land Fee and transfered to another lot in which that Steward who joined the community later paid the 'maximum' price of the Steward Land Fee, no monies would need be exchanged.

See the section 'Leaving the Community' for more examples and rules concerning transferring of stewardship and receiving the refund of the Steward Land Fee.

If members are leaving the community temporarily, that is, with the intention of returning to live in the community later, there are a few different possibilities of what will be done with the Stewarded Land while away and these are determined by the amount of time and frequency that participants are planning to be gone.

  • For departures over 30 days the community must be informed by the participant at a monthly meeting and/or posted on the bulletin board.
  • For departures of under 90 days a stewarded land can be left abandoned.
  • For departures of over 90 days, the community may ask to use the stewarded land or house to rent out or use for other projects until a week before the participants scheduled return. If this happens, please be ready to remove all important personal items to place in storage. This space could be a locked room in the same house, or in a locked shed or any where else you may wish to store things securely as visitors may be using your personal spaces while you are gone.

If members do not return, or do not communicate with us after the period of their intended return, the community will be please let us know of your plans! If there is no contact after a 90 day period from the intended return date, the tribe will assume that the person is no longer coming back and will make the land available to the rest of the community and future members. Personal items will be respected as much as possible and kept in a storage space. If the participant does eventually return and there is still space available in the community they can choose another land to Steward. If they have been gone for a long period of time (many years), they may need to be re-accepted into the community through a trial period without the fees. If they come back and express their interest to leave the community they will be reimbursed their Steward Land Fee in the usual manner - 1/2 of their initial Steward Land Fee payment.

The 'maximum' price a stewarded plot can be transferred for, from one participant to another will remain at $8,800 in perpetuity. Meaning that as time goes by, the worth of the land, actually decreases with time as inflation rises. Another possibility is that when the community is strong financially its participants may want to donate their share to the foundation, thus no one would ever have to transfer stewarded land with fees again. Either way, eventually, if for unfortunate reasons we as a human race are still using the price system model of economics the full price of a stewarded plot will be available to even the poorest of folk (financially speaking).

Steward Land Fee Information

The Steward Land Fee varies according to how soon one joins the community. This system is in place to give an incentive to those who come sooner as the workload will be greater and less comfortable in the earlier years. These fees break down as:

  • For the first 16 participants the cost of stewarded land is $3800
  • Between participant 17 & 30 the cost of stewarded land is $4800
  • Between participant 31 & 50 the cost of stewarded land is $6800
  • After 50 participants the cost of the stewarded land increases to and stabilizes at $8800 USD.

We prefer if the stewarded land fee is paid in full however we understand that not all persons are capable of this and accept monthly payments as well. Contact us and we will discuss the possibilities with you.

The Financial Cost of Initial Participation Chart (in USD)

Consecutive New Participants Trial Period Rental Fee ($200 x 6 months, non-refundable) Steward Land Fee
(1/2 refundable *)
Total Initial Participation Costs
(max. 10 in year 1)
0 3800 3800
First 16 participants after year 1 1200 3800 5000
New Participants 17 to 30 1200 4800 6000
New Participants 31 to 50 1200 6800 8000
New Participants 51 to 200 plus 1200 8800 10,000

*Conditional on leaving without debt, in good standing with the community such as having no damages to pay. In case of legal issues, the community has the right to hold onto these funds until such legal issues are resolved.

The appropriate fee for the stewarded land depends on when a person finishes their 6 month trial period and not upon arrival to the community, nor upon a payment or down-payment of the Trial Period Rental Fee. The stewarded land fee is based on the consecutive number of new Participants who have joined the Tribe and not the total number of participants who at any given point live in the community, meaning that if the current participant population was 30 and one of the original pioneers who paid $3800 leaves, thus making the participant population 29, the next new participant who joins the community would be counted as the 31st member to join and thus would end up paying $8000 in initial costs. (See Chart)

Once you are a Tribe Member, Part time Member or Vacation Investor you will have the right to vote on all aspects of the community and a stewarded lot will then be available for your personal use. You may choose from which ever lands are available in the village, whether there are existing buildings or not.

Note that, the first 10 participants (also known as the pioneers) do not pay the Trial Period Rental Fee and will get a stipend of $2400 each for the first full year (payed on a quarterly basis, which breaks down to 200 per month to offset living costs). No stewarded land will be allotted during the first year and the Pioneers will make a small camp and live simply, observing and preparing. This incentive helps the pioneers to concentrate their efforts in designing the Permaculture plan for the land and a village design, to incubate a solid base in the region and put down the first roots for the dynamic community to come. If you are interested in our budding community, are familiar with the tropics/sub tropics, don't mind roughing it and love design work this could be a great experience for you.

Private Home Agreement

Community Earth is unique in that a steward can build a personal abode, home, tree house, garden etc... on a piece of land that is for most intents and purposes private space. These improvements are owned by the steward.

Stewards are expected to pay with their own monies to build their own homes. Maintenance of the stewarded land in general, the maintenance of buildings and the building of structures on this lot is the responsibility of the Steward. The expenses of each are also of the Steward to deal with unless a structure is being built or maintained for community use - as in for a place of business, in which case expenses may be a communal affair.

Stewards should register their building expenses with the village accountant. These records are kept for future claims to the worth of the buildings. We suggest that sharing the intended purchases (or in the case of businesses approval of intended purchases) with the tribe before construction begins will help the community as a whole understand a particular participants overall needs and perhaps alternatives too or better prices for materials may be collectively found. If materials are available from the land, these may be forth coming, so long as it does not retract from the sustainability of our lands and does not disturb other already established participants, projects or cooperatives from doing so. All such issues are brought up in our meetings using the democratic model for deliberation. It may be in the community's best interest to keep such building materials if finite, for future communal buildings.

It may happen that some materials will not be approved and these will be decided through the democratic process. Such materials may be declined due to environmental issues while others may be due to the community not willing to take on future claims for it. In the case of the latter, the steward can still purchase and use the material but the expense will not be validated as a claimable expense. This is why it is better to submit at least in rough the materials and estimates to the community before building a private dwelling.

The registration of expenses will be kept by the community and can be used in the eventual transfer of a Stewarded Land so that monies invested by the Steward can be partially refunded. Registration of expenses is only possible with the construction of new buildings or for large renovations. Maintenance expenses are not covered here.

The sale price then is a fixed price. Non negotiable for a higher price. Buildings will be appraised by a pre-established protocol that the Tribe will create once we have begun forming the eco-village. Some form of recompense for buildings in good condition will be forthcoming with material expenses and perhaps some labor costs covered where the community was not somehow involved. We have decided this tactic to be fair to those who have built something with value without playing into the speculation game.

The sale of a building is done between the new Steward to the old Steward. One cannot sell a home or building to someone other than a recognized Steward of the lot in question.

As housing is a need, the Shawoho (Shared Work Hours) count toward those engaged in helping the Steward build their home. However, due to the fact that the Steward is building a house for their own benefit and in their own manner we have decided that time used in building personal infrastructure will only be counted as 1/2 time. That is, if a Steward put in 40 hours into building his home that week, it would only count as 20 hours of Shawoho. Note that this is true for any other participant who may be sharing the living space with them. Any participant who will not be benefiting from the structure personally (not their own home etc...) can count each hour in full toward their Shawoho commitment.