The Common Unity Project (TCUP) is an egalitarian community. Our membership, since we started income sharing in April 2013, has steadily evolved to where we are now. As we go along we are learning more and figure out what works for us.
We are open to new members who share our common vision of making a positive impact within ourselves, the greater community, and the earth as a whole. Currently members share income, resources and responsibilities. Our immediate goal is to build infrastructure to house more people while furthering our ability to sustain ourselves through food production and a communal-based business. We are looking for creative innovators to help us along the way. If you would like to be a part of TCUP we invite you to come spend some time with us!
Our Membership Model
Core Member – Contributing Member – Volunteer
Decision Making: We base decisions on a consensus process in which ideally everybody comes to an agreement. Should there be a conflict which can’t be easily resolved, the decision will go to the core members who will try to reach consensus with the greater community in mind. Volunteers will not be included in larger community matters apart from day to day operations.
A core member is an income-sharing member who is committed to the project and living on the land for the foreseeable future. They have their name on the Community Cooperative that holds the land title and are a shareholder/owner of community businesses, land, and assets.
There is no buy-in to the cooperative. No shares, equity, etc may be sold upon leaving. Personal savings and property of core members remains their property while they are a part of the cooperative, however, substantial property such as vehicles are subject to discussion with the community as to how they will or will not be used and shared with the cooperative.
Core members are entitled to own housing on the property. All needs and personal expenses of a core member are paid for by the cooperative, however items in excess of $100 must receive prior approval.
Responsibilities of Core Members:
A core member takes responsibility for community’s commitments and will have to take part in upholding them. Main responsibility of upholding the needs of the community lies on the core circle members. (i.e. pay mortgage, make sure property taxes are paid, income is generated, animals are taken care of, winter preparations are done, maintenance of community equipment and vehicles etc.)
A contributing member contributes time and/or finances but is not income-sharing. Amount contributed is voluntarily given and assessed on an individual basis with any concerns being addressed by the community and if necessary the core member circle.
Contributing members are included in community decision making and meetings, but if consensus cannot be reached in the greater circle, the decision will go to the circle of core members.
Contributing members are entitled to own housing on the property.
Food is paid for by the community and other costs may be provided (i.e. leisure activities, small personal items), but other expenses (ie. vehicles, insurance, travel, cell phones, health care, large personal items or bills) are the responsibility of the contributing member. However, a request can be made to the community for any expense.
Contributing members have access to community tools, equipment and vehicles for community uses. Larger personal uses such as long trips with a community car can be requested. Access and use will be distributed between members based on need with priority given to core circle members if a conflict arises.
Responsibilities of Contributing Members:
While at the community will help take care of community responsibilities. However, may leave freely and is not expected to uphold the functioning and needs of the community.
A volunteer is a Non-member who lives and volunteers on the land. Contributes time in exchange for food and a place to stay. Time expected is approximately 5 hours a day for 6 days a week.
Food is provided and a place to stay, which may be a tent, camper, or other designated space. Volunteers have input in day-to-day decision making but may be excluded from greater community decisions or meetings. They may have access to community’s equipment and tools. They are not bound to any of the community responsibilities and are free to leave whenever they choose. Volunteers have to take care of all own personal bills, expenditures, health care, transportation, etc.
New Membership Process:
Interested people can apply to become a member of the community. Most people will have experienced the community as part of the volunteer circle already. People interested in joining our community will go through a one year trial period after which they can potentially become a core circle members. The person will start with a provisional six month period to see how we live and familiarize themselves with community members and community functioning. This is an initial get to know each other to see if the community lifestyle is for them or not. The prospective member is expected to voluntarily contribute time and/or money to the community and is provided with food and housing. They may attend member meetings of the cooperative, (unless a member only meeting is requested). A prospective member can be asked to leave at anytime by the cooperative. After six months, they must get a clearness with all members. A clearness is a private meeting with a prospective member and a member with the purpose of discussing interpersonal issues and anything that might be getting in the way of them living and working together. Once a prospective member has applied and is clear with all members, a meeting will be held during which membership will be reviewed. If membership is granted, the prospective member can decide to become either a contributing member or a core member.
If they decide to become a contributing member, they will continue on basically the same as they were as a prospective member with the exception that they now can participate in community meetings and decisions. Bigger decisions and visioning is done by the core members without the contributing members even though they be involved in the process to a degree. Once a member they cannot be asked to leave unless by a consensus decision of all members. Some additional expenses may now be provided for.
If the new member wishes to become a core member, they must undergo another six month provisional period in which they income-share. After six months there will be another clearing session in which any remaining issues will be confronted. Once everything is resolved, the new member will become a core member and have a share in the community cooperative.