Section 2 of the IPC Membership Contract
- The Relationship Between the Land, the Legal Entity & Community Participants
- Participant Responsibilities
- Panamanian Residency and Citizenship
The Relationships Between the Land, the Legal Entity & Community Participants
The International Permaculture Community is an association of individual Participants and their dependents. This Association, also known as the Tribe or the community has been granted permission to steward land which the IPC Corporation owns.
Note, originally it was intended that the legal entity be a Land Trust by the name of Community Earth, however due to legal statutes being different in differing countries it made more sense for several reasons. to the core team, to establish a Limited Corporation in the country of Panama in 2020, with it being the legal owner of the property instead. However the internal dynamics of the IPC Inc. allows this corporation to operate more like a co-operative than a traditional enterprise; each adult Participant that becomes a Steward will be registered in the books of the Corporation as being a member of the Association (The IPC). Each Steward thus becomes a shareholder of the Corporation as well as of the collective enterprises under the IPC Inc. umbrella. This way, the leaseholder (the IPC Tribe) have a direct say in the on going decisions and responsibilities of the Corporation, as do any previous benefactors (persons), reducing the expenses of the Corporation while also securing the development and stability of the community in perpetuity. No person or legal entity can have more than one share in the IPC Inc. and no person or legal entity can hold a share if they are not also recognized tribe members of the IPC Association. Once a Participant leaves the community for good, they are also duly removed as a share holder of the Corporation. However not all the Board of Directors of the IPC Inc. have to be Participants of the International Permaculture Community Association.
As part of its mandate, the IPC Inc. managed by its Board of Directors is responsible for it's legal requirements in the country of Panama, responsible for the writing of the IPC ecological charter and the compliance thereof by the stewards as well as establishing and keeping the internal zoning of the land in good standing and in public scrutiny. This general zoning has been established and will be calculated by percentage of land to simplify the work involved. See Physical Elements - space uses of land, village and farm to see those details. These zones are usually but not limited too Preserved Natural Habitat, Agricultural, Food Forests & Village zones. This simplified method also allows for the Tribe to develop a more detailed Permaculture Master Plan that take on a holistic land usage approach, interwoven and overlapping zones for ideal sustainable outcomes.
The Tribe as a collective association of free persons are responsible in keeping to the ecological charter and paying any land taxes that pertain to the land, buildings and general maintenance costs.
Stewardship, rather than ownership is the model of which agreements are made to occupy, work, maintain and use the lands. See our Stewardship Model for details.
A 90% majority is needed to change any of the public laws of the IPC Inc. such as its By-laws as well as The Ecological Charter, The Membership Contract and The General Zoning decisions. In the case of possible insolvency, the decisions shall be based on 100% consensus.
Once a Participant leaves the community for good, they are also duly removed as a share holder of the Corporation.
In exchange for full membership and so long as the membership contract and the ecologic charter are respected, Participants are guaranteed a personal space on the land to steward, a say in all the matters of community including the cooperative ventures and access to the benefits that the land and the community and its ventures can offer. The Contract gets into the details of Participant responsibilities and the general functioning of the community.
Each role and/or task that Participants play carry their own responsibilities. There is a detailed spreadsheet entitled the 'The Participants Responsibility Breakdown', not available on-line, which is a work in progress. This spreadsheet is a tool for Participants on the land to use as the information is in a format that is more concise and condensed than in this Contract and can be readily updated as our needs and circumstances change. The spreadsheet and this Contract must not contradict one another. If there is any doubt of authenticity or regulation, this Contract over rules the spreadsheet.A summary of the general privileges and responsibilities of being a Community Earth Participant follows;
Each Participant will:
- Choose an available piece of land they can steward as their home / personal space of 786 square meters (28m x 28m) or (8460.4 square feet);
- Have the right to assist meetings of any of the cooperatives within the community;
- Have the right to vote on any issue that pertains to them within the community;
- Take on the responsibility of completing the minimum Shared Work Hours (Shawoho) per month;
- Take on the responsibilities of being a member of the International Permaculture Community Corporation without renumeration beyond Shawoho;
- Have the right to share in the harvest and goods produced by the community and monies (paid out monthly) made by the collective works of the community, minus expenses, through the 'Share the Wealth Dividends';
- Have the right to divest of their participation from the community and reclaim their buildings cost minus any depreciation through a new member when that new participant has paid their membership fees in full and been approved by the Tribe (or unless some other agreement has been formally granted through an IPC Inc. general meeting).
- Have the right to participate in all the enriching community activities at cost (at the cheapest rate).
- Pay their fair share of communal maintenance costs as any other tribe member including any taxes on communal infrastructure).
Panamanian Residency and Citizenship
Although the Tribe can help guide you through the process, it is the responsibility of each Participant and visitor to ensure their legal stay in Panama.
For all foreigners who do not need Visas, a quick jaunt across the border to Costa Rica would ensure your legal stay within the country for 3 or 6 months depending on which part of the globe you hail from. As a group we can organize such trips quarterly.
There are many ways to get a legitimate residency and citizenship and this will differ depending on your skills, experience and/or your income or savings. Please refer to http://visaspanama.com/english/index.html for Panamanian visa and residency information. As a community we may be able to help those enter and stay who cannot qualify on their own.