A five-year business plan was completed in October 2010, and updated in 2013.
Since this plan contains detailed information about our competitiveness, it is not available to the general public.
If you are a potential investor or member, you can see our complete business plan under non-disclosure agreement.
As of 29 February 2012, we are organized as ten distinct profit centres, plus a cost centre for general overhead. Each profit centre is assessed a portion of general overhead proportional to that profit centre's gross income.
|0||Overhead||Expenses that are common to all profit centres get logged to this cost centre. Certain income, such as interest and long-term lodging rental, is also logged to this cost centre.|
|1||Education||EcoReality principals and associates are skilled educators. We have offered programs ranging from two hours to two weeks on Permaculture Design, Composting, Soils, Propagation, Small Energy Systems, Biodiesel Production, Water Management and Irrigation, and Livestock Systems, as well as numerous non-agricultural topics, such as Bead Weaving and Photography.
Past educational clients include University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, O.U.R. Ecovillage, and Quest University. Past educational events include talks by author and community development expert Diana Leafe Christian, author and sustainable economy expert Mike Nickerson, natural builder Adam Perry, facilitation trainer Tree Bressen, filmmaker Paul Manly, Greenpeace International founder Rex Wiler, green architect Paula Baker-Laporte, and author and social activist Starhawk, among others.
We will continue to integrate revenue-producing education into all our activities, organizing educational events and activities around our food and energy production activities in a synergistic manner.We will continue to use revenue-neutral education to attract “free” labour from interns and work-exchange workers. In such cases, we will seek outside funding to cover our costs of food and lodging for non-revenue exchange workers.
|2||Agri-tourism||Our lodging capabilities allow us to extend our sustainability education activities into the realm of agri-tourism. We operate “bed and breakfast” operations to those who want to learn about self- sufficiency and sustainability on a level that is in-between voluntary labour and formal educational programs. Farm animals and healthy, delicious, organic, home-made meals make this attractive to those who would like something beyond the typical B&B scene.|
|3||Market Garden||We have been producing small quantities of market garden goods, with larger quantities of several specific items, such as garlic.
Continual development of a 1.5 acre area is creating passively irrigated permanent garden beds, suitable for a wide variety of produce, eventually expanding into an irrigated ten acre hayfield.We will identify niche areas of low-competition products, and will focus on those products for future market garden activities.
|4||Transplant Propagation||We have identified transplant propagation as an important low-competition area for immediate development. This is an important “synergy” niche, because we need its product for our other profit centers, notably market garden production and medicinal herb production.
We have built a 3,550 sqft greenhouse, divided into three areas with separate temperature and water control for propagation, nursery, and direct planting. Winter plans include limited heating with biodiesel produced on-site, and through passive solar heating.By producing our own starts, we will get to market earlier in the season and reduce the cost of commercially-available starts. By using our own biofuel, we’ll significantly reduce the cost of late winter and early spring heating, when passive solar heating cannot meet our greenhouse heating needs.
|5||Dairy||Our largest income producer to date has been pasture-fed, raw organic goat dairy products, available only to those who purchase a share of the animals and associated infrastructure, in a community supported dairy operation.
We would like to grow this profit centre slowly and steadily at a natural rate to keep pace with demand.Our current limit is the amount of hay we can store through the winter, and money from new investors may go toward a larger hay barn.
|6||Eggs||We have been producing modest numbers of organic, pasture-fed eggs, with a loyal clientele. We plan modest growth up to 99 hens over the next few years, beyond which requires a commercial permit and a lot of additional paperwork and expense.|
|7||Fruiticulture||We have eleven heritage pear trees, eight apple trees, and seven hazelnut trees, plus numerous sources of “wildcrafted” fruit on site.
We plan to expand our fruit and nut production with additional cane, bush, tree, and field perennials.Although we market some of this fruit through local grocers and directly, the primary customer of this profit centre will be our own value-added products.
|8||Energy||This is an unconventional business, but one that is important for our economic resiliency, because its value should track the spiraling cost of petroleum products. We can produce biodiesel from local restaurant waste oil.
The feedstock (local restaurant waste) is currently free, but if the price of petroleum-based diesel increases significantly, we may have to pay for waste oil. The primary cost is methanol, which currently amounts to about 60 cents a liter in the finished product. We have been collecting from four local restaurants, producing 120 liters of biodiesel per week. This was about ten times our own needs. As with the raw dairy, we can legally distribute the excess to co-op shareholders with sufficient mark-up to cover both direct expenses and a share of general co-op overhead expense. The local market supports approximately a 30% premium for locally-produced biodiesel ($1.40 per liter vs. $1.10 for commercial dino-diesel).
We are working in partnership with a local inventor who will collaborate to put a wind turbine on site. This “first generation” turbine will be primarily an education and demonstration tool, generating a few kilowatt-hours per month, primarily used for battery charging. Part of this project will be to research and initiate feed-in tariff agreements with BC Hydro, in preparation for producing more substantial amounts of energy in the future.
We intend to pursue micro-hydro potential on this site and an adjoining community farmland property. Estimated generation potential is about 20 megawatt-hours annually, generated primarily during the winter. While the income from this at current retail electricity rates is insignificant, BC Hydro is poised to offer significant feed-in tariff increases for renewable energy, which could make this a five-figure income annually.We also produce all our own firewood, which is “sold” internally at cost to site residents. As such, this is not really an income producer for EcoReality, but it does allow EcoReality residents to invest their normal heating expense in other ways.
|9||Value-Added||Using synergy among the various profit centers, EcoReality is poised to craft unique value-added products that have broad appeal to regional and island customers.
We plan a number of premium “zero mile” products, where nearly all the ingredients come from within the Fulford Valley. In such a case, a product that is unique becomes premium, and a product that is ordinary becomes unique.
For example, we currently produce both unique jellies that contain wildcrafted fruits, and “ordinary” grape jelly. The demand for “hawberry jelly” is already high, but when we replace the sugar in our grape jelly with locally-produced honey, it becomes a “zero mile, zero-CO2” product, which we have determined has much greater appeal.Similarly, greenhouse starts produced using “zero mile, zero-CO2” biodiesel for heating fuel will have greater appeal than competitors’ greenhouse starts produced using conventional polluting energy sources for greenhouse heat.
|10||Medicinal Herbs||We have identified medicinal herbs as an important part of local resiliency. Many naturopaths and herbalists obtain supplies from China, and would love to have a local source. In addition, it is thought that local herbs have a greater efficacy, since they are adapted to the local environment. The bulk dried herb market will continue to be dominated by large foreign producers. We intend to bracket that on either end by providing nursery starts of medicinal perennials and value-added products, such as tinctures, hydrosols, essential oils, etc.|
|11||Capital Projects||Expenses that increase capacity via increasing the means of production are not really "overhead," nor should they be allocated against the operational income of any other profit centre unless amortized over their useful lifetime. This is a convenient "bucket" for tracking such expenses.|
|12||Rental||This is for long-term rental of rooms or complete buildings in any structure on-site, but primarily lodging in the White House and the Yellow House|
|13||Body Care||Body care products, particularly goat milk soap.|
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