Chippewa Sustainable Living Project
Building Better is working with Chief Myeengun of Chippewas of The Thames First Nation, and Manager of Aboriginal Services at Conestoga College, to implement a sustainability and cultural site.
Using 5 acres of reserve land, we will showcase sustainable building and living technologies. We will also allow space for community engagement and First Nation cultural practices including sweat lodging, story telling, fire circles, food production and craft and skill development. We hope to combine new technologies and ancient First Nation beliefs to promote sustainability in our area, and improve our native / non-native relationship.
We will build an off-grid home that uses passive solar heating and cooling, water collection and treatment, solar electricity, indoor food production, and will be built using recycled materials. Chief Myeengun will use this home and gain first hand experience living off-grid and in a sustainable way. We hope to inspire others in his community to make choices to reduce their environmental impact. We will host workshops and tours for skill transfer and education in sustainable technologies.
The first tiny home for the project is built and awaiting finishes. Work on it began in March 2018, and through the dedicated labour of Building Better members and friends, over weekends and free time, the main structure was completed and moved to site in September. The initial construction phase was completed in a shared workshop managed by Junk Alchemy, here in London, ON. This tiny house is designed to be completely self sufficient, built largely from salvaged materials, incorporating a solar power system and water catchment and treatment systems. It will feature a well insulated living space, using GUTEX, that requires very little energy to heat and cool.
The tiny home will be available for rent so that people can experience small space and off grid living, and engage in eco-tourism locally. This opportunity will be open to both First Nations people and non-natives. We hope to bridge our cultural gap and give non-natives a tourism experience on the reservation. We plan to develop this into an eco-tourism based social enterprise that provides meaningful employment to members of the Chippewa community.
Proceeds from the rental will be used to fund the next build. The tiny homes that are built with rental income will be used for affordable housing for people living on the Chippewa of the Thames first nations reservation, where first nations people will be encouraged to apply for a low and affordable rent to own program.
We hope to provide building experience and training to members of the Chippewa community that are interested in building and sustainable technology.
We have secured the support of a number of other organisations for this project. Hutton House is our charity partner and will work together to develop a skills training program in building, eco-tourism and food production for their participants with barriers to employment. Habitat For Humanity have offered to assist us by donating materials.
We are developing a collaborative project with Wildcraft Permaculture and students of the Fanshawe College horticulture programs to design and implement the food forest and landscaping for the 5 acres.