Vision, communication, adaptation, perserverance and development have been our general recourse in the last few years in which the core team had been busy with background work for the project; accumulating knowledge and skills, exploring various eco-villages and intentional communities, envisioning the tribe, traveling extensively in Central America, choosing a decent region and land to call home, creating the guidelines and functioning framework of our open community and building and promoting this website.
We are organized as a Panamanian limited company and each adult tribe member has an equal share and vote in the corporation. We had planned for a land trust model however Panama does not have this type of registration and we looked into a not for profit or cooperative designation however these are limited in scope, more costly, complex and expensive and have government constraints (read corruption). So we opted for a simple corporation where we manage the internal by-laws like a land trust and cooperative combined. The International Permaculture Community has several documents outlining our internal structure which are updated as new realities emerge. The IPC S.A. is also a holding company for different businesses which Participants engage in. Some of us have now lived on the property for 2.5 years developing the essentials and work has begun on the Permaculture Master Plan. We have launched two enterprises over the last 2 years - a local food transformation business and a natural cleaner business. We are experimenting with many things that could potentially lead to new ventures. We also have managed to plant and maintain over 500 fruit trees and have more in our mini nursery to add to the burgeoning food forest in the coming year.
Publicity is now our highest priority with the intention of finding interested participants and raising funds to finalize the purchase of the leased to own lands.
Our internal zoning (permaculture plan) has yet to be finalized however we have been observing the last few years and have made a few decisions on some general aspects: 1. The location of the eco-village center and some outlying areas also suitable for housing, 2. Some food forest zones, 3. Some larger protected preserves, 4. Some water management aspects. 5. Road access and parking area. 6. Some main pathways.
The functionality of the community is laid out in the IPC Structure and within the Membership Contract. With the gradual growth of the community, aspects of these architectural elements will shift as needed in democratic fashion, using our democracy model - the Voting Sphere. The flexibility within our structure allows us to create co-ops for products and services that are unique to the region and we are only limited by our imagination. Any such enterprises will diversify our income stream and sustainability. Once established, the community could serve as a catalyst to help initiate a network of similar communities worldwide.
Our old document IPC's Strategies for Sustainable Growth, has been used in the past as a guideline and we are now somewhere between the Pioneer and Early Development stages. The implementation of the Strategy has been shaken by the situation here in Panama and the world and with a limited budget we have adapted it accordingly. Once our Permaculture Plan is more established and we have more tribe members, the building of the village proper will commence. In the meantime some of us are on the land and some are nearby in temporary dwellings, improving and preparing for the first communal buildings to go up!