A New Economy | New Living Space | Social Needs | Building Communities
(mellow music) (people chatting) (instruments tuning) - [Yuel] Should we just double-check our (mumbles)? (instruments tuning) (chamber music) - I think there's a lot of things going on that are driving people to experiment, and to explore, and to hunger for something different. It's a very interesting time in history where people are beginning to see the old system isn't working. Not only economically, ecologically, but in human terms.
- You can look at cooperation as an ethical, good-hearted thing. Or you can look at it as something people need to do to take their work seriously, to take other people seriously, to organize politically. This isn't touchy feely stuff, this is about actually getting the world to work. - We're in transition, and what's remarkable to me is that people feel that in their bones.
We need to figure out how to align the human economy with the principles and patterns that tend to operate in all living systems. That's the essence of it. And so, the challenge is to kind of figure out how to switch out the engines on the plane while we're keeping the plane in the air. (chamber music) - What if we were able to really build the foundations of a cooperative world? What would it look like? What would be free and exciting? What would be generous? What would be moral? What would be exciting? What would be liberating? That's the kind of direction we're talking about. We're at ground zero beginning to explore designs that take us beyond the 20th century capitalism, 20th century socialism. There are a lot of people beginning to say there's gotta be a better way.
You talking about changing the system, the whole system? That's what this is about, but that means people have to really start small but also, think big. (mellow music) - Housing is one of the primary social institutions. We have an opportunity through technology and kind of open collaborative philosophies that have been emerging in the last few years to really rethink the way that the built environment works and the way that major societal structures work. I have to instigate the project that we're sitting in right now.
It's called the Red Victorian, and it's a 20-room hotel, and it's a bed and breakfast, it's been here for 100 years. We took it over about a year ago, and turned it into what we're calling a co-living hotel. The Red Victorian is really a new way of thinking about home and housing in the 21st century.
It's a combination of long term residential accommodations but in a very fluid way with short term housing options. So, we have people staying here everywhere from one night to one month to indefinitely. We're aiming to serve the kind of modern, nomadic creative population and so, people are often traveling, or they're working late, or their schedules are very different. We don't have a particular hierarchy, and I certainly wouldn't call myself the boss or the manager, or we're all managers, or you can think of it in many different ways, but it's a cooperatively run space. - [Man] Okay, which one are we looking at? - [Woman] Can I show you something? - [Man] Sure.
- The way we make decisions at the Red Victorian is open to everybody who's in the community. I went and I met with the Department of Public Health, and they provided a couple of options for what we could do in the short term to be compliant with what health codes are required. So, the first is that we could be officially a bed and breakfast, providing the breakfast and other things that go along with that. It means that only employees and innkeepers, which they don't even know what they're defined as, may provide food for the guests, but we have to provide it, and the guests can't provide it, can't access it themselves. - That's so, silly 'cause it like precludes you from doing new and innovative stuff. - We basically don't fit into any of the boxes that they have for anything.
They could basically say you've gotta shut down your hotel because you're not complaint. - We're witnessing an era where the diversity of economies are starting to flourish and so, government doesn't know what to do. - But this seems to be written for like a B&B that's family run. - Yeah, yeah. - Is what I'm seeing here. - Family run bed and breakfast, that's a thing right? - Yeah.
- But yeah that's, that's actually... It turns out a co-living hotel is a family run bed and breakfast. Who knew? - Easy.
- Thanks everyone for coming tonight. This is our Wednesday dinner at the Red Victorian. For those of you who may not have been here before, the Red Vic is our home.
(people chatting) - [Jessy Kate] I'm really inspired by living around and being exposed to people who are up to amazing things in the world. We can provide an environment and a structure that not only selfishly gets us exposed to those people, but actually, I think supports and amplifies the work that they're doing by making it easier for them to do what they're doing and also, to hopefully meet others who are inspiring to them. - We've been totally bootstrapped up to this point. - I mean I think that this to me a very exciting aspect of having a physical building, is that it's an opportunity to provide literally a container for a whole bunch of humans to walk through the door, and when you walk through that door, we get to say hey the rules are a little bit different here. We really like to play with that in terms of having people getting to say actually here you do have a say in things, and then looking at it and saying, okay well how's that working? Actually that didn't work very well but that worked really well, okay let's update how we're doing things and try it again and instead of it's a big experiment. (chamber music) - I first really understood about cooperation because my background is as a musician and of course when we play chamber music or any kind of music that doesn't have a conductor, we have to find ways to cooperate.
You know the way most musicians rehearse is by grunts or eye contact you know or grimaces. (chamber music} - Like being able to really listen to the other person, all three of them in fact, you're kind of trying to hear three voices in your head at the same time as you're looking at your own music and playing together so, you kind of get into the flow as a group. Do you know what, I think we need to practice number 1, just right from there, from 1 to 2. Yeah, why don't we try one at a time. Why don't you do it once with her from 1? - Yeah, we are part of one thing and you know each one of us have a role and sometimes we trade in roles.
It's a real conversation, well, reminiscent of life. It's communicating. It's fun.
(chamber music) - We are on about 1 1/2 acres of urban land. It was a parking lot and through a partnership with Concord Pacific we have been able to farm this land. So, we are an urban farm. - We felt certainly a great need on the downtown east side that nothing agricultural was going on, that a social enterprise based on agriculture had the potential to not only provide meaningful work, but also, a number of other healing aspects that occur by nature of working the soil, growing living things, taking care of something, feeding other people. So, we have five farms, each is different. They each are in different neighborhoods.
They each are doing different things. This is an orchard for example. Pacific and Carol, our largest site, big production, and First and Clark an entire acre, 16,000 square feet of unheated tunnel houses. You know where we're producing tomatoes and peppers and melons and things like that. So, we have to, because of the, intensity and scale of the operation, we have to make maximum use of time and space. So, as soon as a crop is done, boom, replant, you know.
Here people using these words urban agriculture. Nobody had ever heard those two words together, when I would describe it, it was like what? And we felt we needed to demonstrate that it was possible to have a successful enterprise business based on agriculture in the city and at the same time support people's needs. We had to bring the farm to the city.
Yeah, we had to create within these boxes an entire ecosystem. Kinda crazy, imperfect, but has potential. - We are providing employment to people who are facing barriers. Sometimes that's an addiction, sometimes that's a mental illness, sometimes it's a physical illness. Whatever the barrier, it makes it hard for most of our staff to work a regular job. They need a job where there's flexibility and understanding about the ups and downs of their lives.
- Right there, lemon tree with lemons, right? That's special. It's awesome yeah, yeah. I missed my calling, man. I should have been a fucking gardener, instead of what I was. It's not very often down here 'cause you know you're pretty rough around the edges that you get to care and nurture for something. When I was a kid, punishment was going to weed the garden.
so, when I came here it's like, oh man what am I doing. I remember this. But it's not like that. You get into the soil and stuff. You get to see stuff grow and, actually, it's kind of beautiful.
It is beautiful, it's not kinda beautiful, it is beautiful. - Sole Food has two primary goals. One is the a social one, and I think one is an agricultural one.
The social one is first and foremost. The agricultural one dominates and then forms the social piece. This as a community, this is a place to go, this is a reason to get up in the morning. This has a choice between something that's gonna bring you down and something that might be positive. This is where you're getting hung up on right here. - 'Cause these guys, they don't give up on you.
You don't show up, you're not feeling too good, you're not making it, come back the next day, we'll keep working. You don't get fired here. And hey, I come in every day. Oh, I missed one day last month and that's the only day I missed. I do all the seeding here just about. Yeah I guess I'm the boss for here.
Tell people where they need to be, what needs to get done and stuff like that, but it's only my second year and I'm still learning, and I'm learning from the best. Lissa is a beast. She might be small, she's strong too. She can work her butt off. - [Michael] She's awesome. She really kinda holds us all together for us.
And she's a good weeder. - Thanks Michael. At least I know I can't mess that up. Why do I do this? Some days I don't know. (laughing)
I mean we all want the world to be a better place and I think that there's real, for me personally, there was a lot of transformative power in agriculture in my life. I come from a really privileged world. I went to university which was paid for primarily by my parents. I grew up in a stable household with a really loving family. I had people all along telling me that I could do things.
It is quite hard coming in this. You try to find a common ground with people. I don't know what it's like to go through opiate withdrawal. I don't know what it's like not be able to get my prescription in the morning when I need it every day.
There's days when like I really can't understand what someone's dealing with but you can be compassionate. (mellow music) - A lot of people on the east side are great people, it's just that they don't think that they're worth the puddle that they're stepping in, and that's the truth, right? I've been a heroin addict for about 20 years. I battle with addiction and it didn't matter to them. Like it didn't matter to them.
You know I had track marks, it didn't matter. I wasn't being judged, you know, like what's going on here right? - [Michael] The power of what we've done here has to be shared, both by the influence of the soil and the plants and the healthy food, but also, by the community of people who have been involved with this experience. It's about the people. - What we see emerging is what we call a regenerative economy, and in very simple terms, we're having this conversation because our bodies have been, and are continuing to regenerate. So, we're sustainable because we're regenerating, and the whole universe works that way. And we see it everywhere.
And usually driven by the intuition of an entrepreneur who has no theoretical framework in mind. They intuit it. So, that's why I'm confident that it's an emergent property, and it's amazing how often we see these patterns repeating themselves.
(mellow music) - The London Brewing Cooperative is located in London's old east village. Tight community, vibrant community, a community that's really has its own identity and is moving forward. - I suppose it's got its roots in my friend Marcus receiving a used book for his birthday Papazian's New Complete Joy of Home Brewing and he sent me an email and said hey you wanna brew beer? And I liked beer. I had no idea it could be made. - We were brewing together you know in my garage just with you know something we built.
It was a propane-fired, gravity-fed system. I mean we didn't paint it up even to look nice. It was very utilitarian, it made beer, it made very good beer. Everybody has a good time brewing the beer. Everybody has a good time sitting around and chatting. And usually beer brings out some good debate, brings people together.
- It was a very makeshift system that we had you know thrown together and garage door wide open so the propane fumes could go out and you know we were just having a lot of fun brewing beer. We started to realize these recipes are actually people kinda like them and it's starting to work. - And we looked at different models of cooperative brewing, ways that a brewery could both be financially viable but also be collectively owned.
We couldn't figure it out, so we just kept brewing, but we just enlarged the circle. At that point it was myself, Dave... Dave often jokes that he got involved 'cause he had a garage. That's partially true. - [Gar] I think people want to be on big decisions that matter. How to structure that becomes really tricky.
We have to learn that, it doesn't come naturally. A cooperative is simply a one person, one vote ownership structure. So, you get a group of people together, everybody gets a vote, and you set up a company or a bank or a store or a farm. It's a very simple structure.
- We purposely located ourselves in old east village. It's a neighborhood we love, it's a neighborhood that many of us live in and so, we want to be part of that community. So, we don't want to have a huge you know pollution spewing kind of operation. We wanna have a community brewery so, one that everybody feels they can be a part of, everyone feels that is doing things that are in the best interest of the community. - Co-ops, I mean, they're a very old business model, they're an underutilized, business model, and at the premise they're about a more, equitable distribution of power and wealth. - If we can just make a couple of notes of positive and then things to improve on maybe? - The idea is a very beautiful one when you think about how it can work and how everyone works together.
- Do it on a night that, like on a Friday or a Saturday night potentially, when we're gonna be busy in the cellar. - It's one member one vote. It's not $1 one vote. So, it doesn't matter how much of the company you own, how much you have invested, it's that you have a stake in the outcome.
- That's a food house, that's a real food house. - So, there's no need for a president, there's no need for a secretary, but they say no, no you need to have one, what kind of corporation doesn't have a president? - So, it's about engagement. It's about folks having control over the workplace as much as they also, end up in a position of the workplace having control over them right? - At the end of the day we're people helping people and I think that's how a lot of my coworkers view this job and if you're coming into this job from a non-cooperative structure, then it can be very different, but I do think it encourages folks to view their work differently and therefore work in a different way. - We're not taught to cooperate, and we're not taught to trust.
Think of all the board games that we play when we were kids. I just remember playing with my cousins and you got, Monopoly, it's about being at the top. - Working together is-- - Working together is really hard. (laughs)
When everyone has... I mean the purpose of a worker co-op is democracy between workers. So, when everyone has an equal voice, it can be difficult to reach a consensus.
But yeah, basically human interaction is hard, especially when there's not a hierarchy saying you know, I'm the manager, this is what we're gonna do. - [David] We can all work together for somebody else's goals. So, cooperation to me means deciding on those goals together, and maybe the benefit of having a brewery is that you get together and you have kind of that Habermasian cafe style where everybody debates. That's the democracy, and not a voice that's just understood through a vote, but a true voice at the table. - Well we're having a baby in a few months. - 4 1/2 months. - Yep, really soon, coming up really fast.
You know this has brought another aspect of long term planning into our co-op meetings and the development of our co-op. What does maternity leave look like? Well, we have to decide that right? What does paternity leave look like? Is it going to be possible for me to step away from my daily job for three, four months, maybe longer? Which brings us to another complication, which is where do we find more people with the you know the vision that we have, the dedication we have to our work? - Who was I speaking to the other day, they said never get in business with your friends and it's just like I don't know who I'd wanna work with otherwise because if they don't know you, if they don't know your story, then how do they understand where you're coming from? It's running at 100, though with just one element. - 100 with one is (mumbling). But I thought a couple boilers is all right.
(baby crying) - [David] It can be a real difficulty to be cooperative at all times, right? To work in a democratic way and to make sure that everyone's on board. How long does it take to-- - It takes 40 minutes in total. - [David] You know it's, again a real reality in a corporate world.
You have a child and you need to take time off? You're falling behind. - Do you wanna baby piece of toast? - It might be easier to do if it were just a straight up business sometimes, if you didn't have to deal with relationships and you didn't have to deal with cooperation you might be able to do something that was far more efficient, than what we have but it wouldn't, we wouldn't be the ones doing it, it'd be somebody else. - Well, I had kinda come to, I guess like the end of my rope with job hunting and had applied for several things and wasn't really getting anywhere and saw this job posting and then I was like oh well somebody who knows how to work with food and can talk to chefs. I'm like, well that's pretty much what I've been doing my whole life so, that job has got my name written all over it. I guess technically I'm a sales person but maybe this is why I'm good at sales is 'cause I don't like sales.
I just let the quality of what we do speak for itself, and they either want it or they don't want it. I don't wanna sell something to someone who doesn't want it. It's dishonest.
- My job is what I call quality control. So, I mean everything you see here I make sure that I go through everything before it comes here so, that means everything's as best as possible and as perfect as possible. So, one of the things that Sole Food's always been about, it's always been about quality.
We will not put anything out that we wouldn't take ourselves or more likely better than we would eat ourselves. - Another bonus I get that some people don't get, I get to work the market. So, I see that finished product and then I see the people that are buying that product for a really good price and how happy they are with it. People are happy with our product and I love that.
- One thing that's so great about Sole Food Farms is I think that they know their community. They know their neighborhood. That's why it's important that they're nearby, that's why, another thing why we choose them is they get it. You know they understand the difficulties that we have.
We're very, very small first of all and every day the menu's different. It's what's ever in season, whatever's fresh, whatever they're proud of they send to us and then we use that as inspiration. - [Michael] It's embodied in how you feel when you've done this work. How you feel when you see somebody who's eaten the food and comes back and tells you how incredible it is.
Those are the things that are so intangible and so difficult to put a value on. You had those before? - My first time. - Oh man let me see what you've got here.
Oh yeah, that's gonna be good. (mellow music) These overpasses, they're gonna come down in four years and when they do, where we sit right now, where there's these wonderful crops growing, the carrots and the radicchio and the arugula and parsleys and whatever's here will be replaced with high rises and people will be living on this land where we sit right now 20 or 30 stories up as far from this as you can possibly get. - [David] So, what we're doing today is going up and down the corridor in the old east village which is where we wish to maintain our presence as a brewery looking at potential spaces. - [Realtor] Okay, so there's no light up here so, you have to be careful and watch your step. - Right now, we're in a lease situation so, if we could potentially purchase a building, if that makes more sense either sharing it with other businesses, et cetera, that's what we're interested in doing. So, we're kinda doing walk throughs.
Like there was work done. - At some point. - At some point here. - [Aaron] Not that long ago. - [David] At least it's easy to find where the roof is leaking. There's a lot of opportunities, a lot of options and we're trying to just determine, what options are in fact opportunities and what may be money pits if you were. - The second level's been renovated.
I put $75,000 in it, brand new. - I mean that, it would be the, it's the skateboard co-op main floor right? Skateboard co-op on the main floor? - [Owner] Yeah, yeah. - [Jeff] What, what is the next one down? - 658? - Yeah - Yeah, let's go you wanna see it? - 'Cause we like the skateboard co-op, they're good guys. We don't wanna mess around with their spot. - Oh no, they're cool, I already got a spot for them.
They actually might go there regardless if you buy it or not. - Yeah, yeah. - Yeah. 'Cause they wanna go over there. We've already talked about it. I spoke to them about it a couple weeks ago. - Oh, that building? - Yeah, yeah, yeah.
If you want it, they're taken care of, trust me. I love those guys. - Come on in everybody. We're here to stay as long as we can stay. - That's what we said.
We're like we don't even wanna look at it if you guys are staying. - Oh he's trying to get you guys to buy the building too? - Well yeah that's news. - Yeah well no, no. The whole thing is is this is the building we want. - Yeah that's awesome and we support that 100%. So, we'll stop looking right now. - Yeah we wanna stay here.
There's a chance that if it doesn't work out for us here that we'll try to get the Father and Sons building but this is 100% like-- - Where you wanna be. - Yeah man. - Oh, dude let's... Now we're just on a tour. Yeah that's what we were just told that out back. We're like what? He's like, sorry man we didn't know that.
Well yeah, but a certain level of honesty. It's a chance for us to start talking about this landlord nonsense. - Yeah.
- The owners of these buildings, come on. - So, interesting day. We did a bunch of stuff and we're planning on making a ramp tonight.
- Like Jim's like what are you guys doing here? No, we want this building. Like ah come on, these guys are friends, that's not good. So, we gotta clean that up. - You need small businesses that may not have a ton of capital in order to buy it to at least have a responsible expectation that the building won't be swept out from under them as soon as it becomes profitable to somebody else. - This neighborhood provides a real opportunity in that it can become, if we want it to be, it can become a place where all are accepted where we have a mixed neighborhood where people from all income brackets, all walks, all backgrounds have a capacity to interact, and build a good life.
That's what we're aiming for. There are some pretty big obstacles in our way and quite directly it's those who control the property are in our way. - [David] It's not money, I mean money is, it's a necessity in this world, but that's truly not the relationships we're trying to build.
- Collaboration is ultimately the more sustainable approach than competition, whereas of course our competitive capitalist system, in Wall Street no more than anywhere, is rooted in the idea that you know this, this false understanding of Darwin. What Darwin said is the fittest... In fact he didn't even coin the term survival of the fittest, but the way he used it is fittest as in the one that fits best within the whole system, not the, the strongest. (mellow music) - So, my name is Tiberius Brastaviceanu. People know me as Tibi.
When I first came to Canada I was 14 years old and I went to University of Montreal for a masters in Applied Physics. Laser applications to biology and (mumbles). I work here at the Sensorica Lab. Sensorica is this new type of organization where you're free to join, and to take initiative and start new projects.
It is a commercial venture, and you work collaboratively with people. You share the revenue according to everyone's contribution. It is a decentralized network and there is no boss. We focus on material production, meaning hardware, electronics, we put stuff together. So, we're trying to solve how material stuff could be produced in an open way. Sensorica started by focusing on open source hardware but on the high end side.
So, we said let's first prove that open source can produce scientific instruments. Five years ago open source hardware was just starting, now we see drones and 3D printers. These two industries are driven by open source.
(machine whirring) This is the main hub of the network where things happen, where hardware gets done, prototyped, and produced. There's other people working from their own little home labs around the world that do some prototyping and then we mirror it here. We're democratizing here access to the micron world. Traditionally these pieces can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Open source, maybe 20% of the cost, allow scientific labs in universities in the emerging world to do their science.
My background is in lasers, so everything you see with optics, optical fiber, that's my contribution to the projects, and the mechanical side and the electronics part these are other people that have contributed to it. It's a collaborative work, I think. There's many different sections here.
So, this is our micro 3D printer which will be used for micro 3D chips design. What we do, we add an optical fiber. It's just the size of a little hair.
So, this is like a pen of light that solidifies or polymerizes the resin that you put inside, and you're able to do tiny, tiny, tiny structures. It just needs a bit of integration, but the proof of concept is done so, that's something that will go on crowd funding pretty soon. The tiniest printer in the world. (laughs)
People here are motivated by what's the next big thing we can work on that can be so disruptive from micro 3D devices and democratizing testing of food and water quality, how to automate a garden, how to automate a greenhouse. Well, here's all the electronics that you need and the software to run it. We affectionately call this the iPot. (laughs) A completely autonomous flower pot.
We have an atmospheric temperature and humidity sensor so, the plant knows if the air is dry or if the air is very humid, and it knows the temperature. And here we have a light sensor so, the plant knows when to turn the LED off/on based on how much light it got during the day. You know the scientific instruments that reduce the cost of innovation allows people in Africa, and Asia, and South America to catch up with scientific development, so, I think we're highly motivated by these kind of projects. The real change happens when economic relationships changed, and so, then the idea was let's set up new economic organizations based on these new principles by respecting some fundamental principles that were behind what was already existing, so, let's build the enterprise of the future.
And that was the seed value for the Sensorica network. - First you have to release all the air you have so, you can jump into the water and then you can try to catch the stars by exhaling. Breathing Games is a project we started for children with cystic fibrosis.
Blow, blow, blow, blow, or you're gonna hit the banan. Ah, you hit him. It's really about making the therapy fun. Having the therapy is quite the challenge for chronic illnesses, and about one person over two doesn't do the therapy well. It's an exercise they have to do daily, so it's quite tedious and yeah boring. So, the games make the, the therapy fun but it also gives the feedback to them about you're breathing too low or too high.
We just connect this medical device to the computer so, that we can use the data for the game and for the research too. For hospitals, it's costing at least $1,500. So, it's not something you can have at home easily. If we include all the parts that we plan to add such as the memory card and the battery and so, it would be about $200.
In a later phase, we want to do a microchip and it would reduce the cost to maybe $60, $80. - The cost of innovation using open source is very low. These products can be 10% of the market price.
So, you're sinking the costs of innovation, and you're taking away some costs of production or assembly. Here's the file, print it at your local 3D printing shop and then put it together IKEA style. It really reduces the costs of a product.
- With like open licenses, someone could take this and improve it, and re-share it. - Once it's completed, the how to is gonna be put out to the world, and anyone that has the capacity to replicate the device can do it? - Yes. - No cost? But there's also, going to be potentially a commercial aspect to it.
How's that gonna work? - The question is open source hardware a viable you know business model? You have something at home to bake something, to bake bread? - [Man] Oh yes I do. - Everybody has right? Why don't you make your own bread? You find tons of recipes on the internet, why don't you make it? You know and then you make money on convenience, you say "I can source the parts for you, put 'em in a bag "and send them to you." Open source how their businesses also survive on services. People are asking, "Yeah but if you can't patent, "how can you protect? "People are gonna copy you." - You might gather your thing to protect your idea and develop it, okay but then you patent it and you protect it, what if tomorrow somebody thinks of something that you guys didn't think of and improves it and all of the sudden releases their new technology that is better than yours so, yours is obsolete. So, your patent is useless.
- This is a journey. We're on a journey to figure this out. I'm pretty confident that the regenerative frame is the right frame and a regenerative frame means that a system is self-organizing, self-refueling, self-learning and so, you know, we see it in lots of projects in the world. It is emergent. - [Patricia] Did we mention not to vibrate here or are we vibrating? - No vibrato? No vibrato okay.
Yeah okay let's, maybe let's try that. - You wanna try that? - Yeah let's try that. Let's try it from the top. (chamber music) - A good listener is somebody who can understand meaning beyond what people actually say.
Very few of us actually can find right away particularly the words that we want to use to explain what we mean. And a good listening skill is the ability to sense what's behind what people obviously say. - If you're playing a faster tempo, then we can't fit together, it's not working. - [Patricia] Yeah, and I think Yuel's in between us, so it's real hard for him too.
- Yeah well let's try it again, see if we can feel this a little bit more together as a group. (chamber music) - If you were describing Loomio to your brother, I think you would say something like Loomio is a simple technology that enables people to come together to talk an issue through, generate ideas, and come to a clear, shared understanding together, and a decision about what action to take together. The idea came out of our experience during the Occupy movement of the potential for collaborative decision making. When the process is well held, it can be totally amazing like transformative for people.
When diverse perspectives continually fade into a collaborative process, you know groups can end up making more intelligent decisions than any individual would by themselves. - At the Red Victorian we invite many people to be part of the decision making process and the way that we do that is we provide them a link to Loomio. I'd love to get people to chime in in the next day or two. Well yeah, in the next 24 hours on the Loomio thread and then at least I'll have some kind of direction to start a conversation with them.
Some things are decided fully on Loomio, some things involved the offline component as well. For larger issues, we tend to then take that Loomio conversation, meet in person, and kind of go over some of the nuances as a group. - Oh so, it's like do we wanna take that battle on as our own? - So, when a discussion gets to the point where someone in the group thinks hey, we can make a decision here. I've got an idea, this is what I think the group should do, they can put up a proposal. And so, you've got discussion on the left of the screen and decision making on the right and a proposal always has a time limit on it. So, it always comes to a clear conclusion.
So, you've got this sort of divergence in the discussion and then you converge on a shared outcome, an agreed outcome. People participate in a decision by clicking one of four buttons. So, you can either agree, or you can sort of opt out or abstain, or you can disagree, which is like saying I don't know that it's the best idea but I'm not gonna stand in the way of the group, or you can block or raise a red flag, which is saying like I think this is a really bad idea, I've got a serious concern that I would like to be addressed before we move forward with this. - [Jessy Kate] I think that Loomio is really interesting for the fact that it creates space for people to kind of take the time to deal with their emotions, and then process them often in more constructive ways by writing down what they're thinking. - There's all kinds of awful stuff that happens online, bullying, but Loomio's sort of designed with that, I guess with this idea in mind that if we design online environments in a way that makes certain types of behavior easier, so, really fosters a sense of respectful, constructive dialogue, I mean it's really about people coming together to achieve a shared purpose in a way that works for all of the people involved and it's kind of that simple.
Little kids get this stuff. You know, we have 12-year-old kids using Loomio effectively in their schools with parents and teachers making decisions together. - I think that Loomio really catalyzes those kinds of conversations because you pick up on those nuances, and you start to see them. And it's not just actually the technology, it's the types of collaborative structures that technology enables. - This idea that we expect democracy from our government and we're totally fine with like tyranny or dictatorship in our workplaces for some reason, even though that's where we spend eight hours a day for most of our lives. I have a lot of hope that that's changing.
It feels like there's a real movement building around changing it. It's just people coming together to achieve something around the creation of value, and the cooperative structure is, we've found it to be totally flexible enough to have you know real room to move, to be adaptive, to set things up in a resilient way that doesn't involve specialization, and you're most effectively served the social mission. - [Tibi] Sensorica, we found a system, which is the value accounting system, where we can log our time. And as soon as we have finances, we can use the log we created to redistribute the money.
- Pizza number one. Ladies and gentlemen, pizza number one. - Sensorica is a network where people can collaborate on different projects and the idea is that the system that we have put in place captures all these contributions from different individuals in the context of that particular project. And then we decide how to share the benefits. - According to the value equation. - According to a value equation which is a social contract that we make and we agree on before the project starts.
So, there's 5% that goes actually to sustain the infrastructure, to sustain the labs okay? So, let's take this little part here and nobody eats this one right? And now here's a guy that contributed let's say a quarter. Our system allows anybody in the world to contribute as much or as little as they want. So, somebody's gonna get just a little piece and that's fine. Because this guy is probably doing something else, he's working on other projects, and that's his little contribution. Here I'm gonna take this piece. I'm gonna be modest. - So conservative.
- How I got to the participatory economy is by having been shocked with my previous job. In 2006, I left Montreal to the Silicon Valley in San Francisco, and this is where I got my first job as an engineer in a company manufacturing lasers. I was very stimulated. I put a lot of heart into the work, and then 2008 financial crisis comes, and then you see how people are treated once they're not an asset anymore.
So, I just got laid off and kicked out essentially. That led me to use the internet to find solutions, and I realized how much power the internet can give to an individual and to groups. So, that frustration turned into something constructive. I got the pictures. - [Man] Yeah I'm trying to see if there's more.
Well you're, you're there are you there? - [Tibi] When I first came to Canada, I just knew a bit of English, not much, and I didn't speak French. Canada was pretty open to immigration from Romania back then. I think the second community that adopted us was the Italian community.
We spoke Italian, and they were more established than Romanians who were just arriving. - [Man] So you started here, what, bus boy first? - Yeah, for sure, for sure. I didn't speak French or English. I just started working here. And then slowly, slowly I started to pick up orders.
Tarly was here every week. - Those were the days my friend. Beautiful days. Now all of a sudden you got smart. Whatever you do, I hope it makes a change. - [Tibi] What do you think about change? - If it comes from you it's probably a good thing.
- What a beautiful day huh? (speaking foreign language) My father's place from in Romania, it's the capital of watermelon. So, this is something we eat every day. - [Interviewer] Do you need help? Do you need help eating it? - Yes, yes go ahead. It drives my mother crazy the way we eat it.
(everyone chatting) I knew the truth since I was young, because my father was very open about it. My father was imprisoned in Romania when he was young. He always stood up against the regime, so I grew up in an environment where, you know, idealism comes first. They're very, very supportive parents.
You know I'll be speaking about what people have done for society so it runs deep. How do you say father in-- (speaking foreign language) They just dropped everything to flee the country, and that was to give us a better future. (chamber music) - People actually come to this kind of notion of, and I call it building the next society, building the next system. They come to it from different reasons. Some come out of a lot of pain and poverty, and excruciating difficulties. Either try something new or we're in real trouble The other part of it I think is, it's cultural but it's also, people who really crave getting away from individualism somehow, but the hunger for what community can bring.
(chamber music) - Sometimes we can just play through the music, the first time's not so good, but then even without words, it evolves into something. I mean we're just all giving and taking at the same time. (mellow music) - The mother is in Thorncliffe Park. We wanted to make this place a better place for everyone. I'm originally from India, and one of my husband's friend, he gave a tour of Thorncliffe Park, and the first day itself we felt home here. The next day when we got up, and we wanted to walk in the neighborhood, we walked into the park, and then we were really not happy with the condition of the park and all.
But when we are here, we have to fix things. We came to know about a lot of women who live in this apartment buildings, mostly the immigrant, and they are doing businesses from home. They bring stuff from their home countries, and then sell it to their neighbor's friends at a very good price, and make a supplement income for themselves.
(speaking foreign language) - This is for your great grandchildren. - When we come together we talk about, oh this is our like backyard because all years in back home when we are living, house always have backyard or front yard. There in the building, you don't have any backyard any private. So we call this there is a backyard.
So, in backyard we have to have some activity too. - So, we thought that this is a really good idea to create a market. This market will serve as a platform for the vendors and these newcomer women where they will feel confidence and you know and it will also, empower them build their self-esteem, and build the clientele as well. - This is the magic of storage. What you think it will be inside? You will afraid to go farther.
- [Sabina] The park completely transformed. People gathered, they started looking from their apartment buildings, and we could see the change in the park. - I'm making roti. Roti in Persian we say this is naan, and the dough for roti is different because we add yeast for this one. - [Sabina] The park serve as a common space for them where they meet immigrants and new Canadians and spend some good time having tea, coffee. That was the main goal.
- We are waiting, waiting until Friday come. When we, Friday come, we come out just we enjoy. There is something, just because of market we come out. - As in the new immigrants, a lot of women go through stress and isolation on a regular basis. And we thought like this market would serve as a stress relieving agent or something like that where people feel really good when they come outdoors. - I mean it's good to empower empowerment in womens with support to get house, to get your lands, yeah.
So, yeah there's the main goals to empowering the women, ladies. - Did you buy any tray for yourself? Did you buy any canopy for yourself? Next year I'll be (speaking foreign language), you won't be coming to the market. There are challenges and there are achievements, right? We started with zero, nothing in our hands. But we had a strong vision. We had that commitment to give it to the community, to return back to the community.
The community comes up with their own ideas, and all because they feel comfortable. They feel, they see us as, the part of their own self which is really challenging for us to take everyone's suggestion to work on one thing, but we do acts of the suggestions, and we choose how best those things fit into what we are really trying to do. I mean looking at the bigger goal. Her husband passed away recently, and for her these are the opportunities which provide supplement income for her to run her house, and she has kids, and she has to look after them, and the more over is when she comes to the market, she comes with the friends, and they are supportive, and you know they are always there for her. It's like a building family kind of environment in the market, and they're all friends come to the market to eat what she is making and they love doing it.
- Thank you enjoy. - You know when I look at their faces, I can see in their eyes, you know. I can sense that happiness. That is, I think, that's the value this market is bringing. It's emotionally.
Though there is definitely a financial support for them, but still it is like more about building relationship, building trust. - She is very nice and she always support us and this she bring, thank you so, much. - Aw, my pleasure. (chamber music) - Maybe there is no reward when cooperation works well. Maybe you're just in the process, and the process is the reward.
There's something that's innately satisfying about that. (chamber music) - Sorry, sorry can we do it again? We didn't start together I don't know why. If we weren't able to work together, music itself would suffer, and it would be, probably, we wouldn't be able to communicate effectively as a group. The music might still sound like music, but it just wouldn't be convincing. We wouldn't have the organic quality that we are always striving for. (chamber music) Should we just do it one more time with Sungyong now? And then I'll join in the end 'cause my part's easy.
Yeah let's see how it works. Here's our motor right we have this engine, then we have the car driver. (chamber music) - The process itself is... You feel very satisfied, you know you go through stages and you come to a different result, but all the stages, you know, it's enjoyable. - I would just say, it's a lot more fun.
There's certain times when you have to play like a soloist from the virtuosic passage in every one of our parts. And there's no leader, but then we're all leaders, too. It's just a great experience.
(chamber music) - [Lyle] I don't know if I was a bad guy or not, but I definitely wasn't a good guy. You know you gotta leave that shit behind you if you wanna grow right? And so, that's what I've been trying to do. - The farms in themselves by nature of what we're doing here are kind of like the great equalizer.
If you're out there picking radishes or filling boxes or planting trees or... It doesn't matter what your history is, how much suffering you've been through, it really levels you off. - Yeah it was a good opportunity to get into the giving back department a bit.
Working for your community a bit, right, instead of taking from it all the time. - It wasn't a big idea that we were gonna go out and rescue people. Our idea was set the table here, and do it with soil and seeds and growing food, and allow that process to do what it does for all of us. People ask me why I farm. It's as much for my mental health as it is for anybody else who's working here.
I'm in no different. We're different in some ways, but we're all alike in other ways, we all have our stuff. - It is spiritual for me too. Like you put something in the, a seed in the ground, ya nurture it, ya care for it, and it gives you something back.
Yeah it is something actually that changes, changes ya. - We've survived a lot of crazy stuff, but I think it's important enough to the people who we work with that it has to continue. And it's important enough that it has to include more people who haven't been able to take part. Our goal is not, unlike most social service agencies, is not to graduate people and send them down the road. No, we feel like we want them to be for as long as they want to be able to come here.
- Yeah you guys are my family right? - The first time I met this guy, I was like who is this guy you know? And you had kind of a hard edge. - Well I wasn't very like socially integrated either. - Well you were new. - Yeah, I was. - [Michael] This guy's got the softest core. - You hear that guys? That better be on tape man. - He has a good heart. He's got a good heart.
- I might need that one day as character evidence. - [Michael] That's right. No I mean it, it blows my mind, somebody who's gone through the kind of shit that you've gone through and that you're-- - Yeah I appreciate that Michael, I do. - You guys don't have the monopoly on suffering by the way. - Oh yes I know this. - And so, I'm just saying, for me, I needed to do this for myself as much as for anybody else, and that's the honest truth. It's hard to admit but it's true.
I mean, I got my own stuff I gotta deal with. (chamber music) - [Nikita] Actually, the music is sort of like a reflection of life. This medium allows to have a conversation with a different people at different times, and if it's works well, it's really good. (laughs) (chamber music) - It's very clear to me that to have a healthy system, finance is a piece of the bigger whole, and needs to be in service of that whole. The basic premise of investment is to invest money in order to create more money at the end. We call that return on capital, but it's money in creating more money out.
So, we've grown a pile of money while we've destroyed the atmosphere. That's not sustainable. - There's a whole sense is that we've gotta go beyond just profit making, which takes no regard for what happens to the environment. And another piece of it is human and communitarian, trying to build a different sense of community.
But those themes I think the democracy, wealth, changing wealth and ownership, environment, community, participation, those are the themes that we're seeing develop in many parts of the country and in many parts of the world. (chamber music) - I think of the first time the beer was served at the Root Cellar. I mean that feeling is tremendous, and you realize that hey people are enjoying this, it's not just us. There's a great mix of younger folks, older folks, women, men, those who were coming in who might not feel that the beer culture is currently really speaking to them that might feel alienated. I think our approach helps to kind of even that playing field to where it's like it's a good beverage. - I love craft beer.
I just do. And really in London there's not a lot of options right now and as soon as I found it I'm like I'm just happy that I have a beer that I enjoy and the whole co-op idea is so cool. I've actually never experienced that in a beer-wise.
- The big breweries out there who are, they're sales and volume and that's their market. The more they can sell the better. - There's a lot of beers, you drink one and it tastes the same as the other and these ones... When you look down even the colors are different, the flavors are different, it's worth supporting, yeah. - When they name some of their beers, you recognize the name of it was the Spriggit Stout. These are farms that I grew up around the corner from.
They're bringing in local ingredients and making a fantastic beer with it. There's, there's morality to their business. Like these guys aren't gonna make it rich, that's not the point of their business. They're providing a good beer for the community, making jobs in the community. It's a fantastic way to kinda go about it. - We've known for decades that if you circulate money and materials in a local economy, you get these multiplier effects.
By circulating money and materials and information in a local economy, you're gonna be more in alignment with the regenerative process that actually run, you know, it's the way the world works. - What I really love about that kind of community engagement is our neighborhood tart. So, it was a wheat base with rhubarb, and that rhubarb came from old east village. So, we had somebody take up the cause, she went around and just chats on the street trying to find rhubarb in people's backyards. We got a ton of it, we threw it into the brew, it was really tasty, and I think for us it again just...
it's a lot of fun. I mean, beer can be a lot of fun. Right now we brew an incredibly inefficient beer.
It is not a turn key process. It is not pressing a few buttons and things work. It is a labor of love, but it is a lot of labor right now.
And so, we're hoping to streamline some of those processes by an expansion so, that we can focus on the kind of value that we feel our beer is bringing as well. - The hops for the next one are sitting over there with the Irish moss in the latest edition. - Brewing is, it's an economy to scale thing.
It takes largely the same amount of labor to produce one barrel of beer as it does to produce 10 times that amount. - The London Brewing Co-op at its current size, it fiscally doesn't work. So, we need to scale up. And in order to scale up we need more space, we need, well, resources, time, energy, to do that.
We're gonna need some investors, willing investors to believe in the co-op model, believe in our product, and believe in a local food movement. - I don't know that Josie's ever been down here. - Okay. - So, I think a lot-- - [David] Is demonstrating what works? - What's here. - We know what the expansion looks like, 225 to 250.
That's not including a purchase. Have I got an investment opportunity for you, and in the first year you'll double your money. - Nice to see you. - Yeah good to see you.
Thanks for joining us. - Thanks for having us in your business. - If you're up for it, love to chat about what we've done here, and maybe where we could go into the future. Financing in part may come from Londoners who support our vision and our dream. And we want it to be angel or patient investment where they believe in the purpose of what we're doing, not just the fiscal return that they will receive. - I think certainly those short-term goals that the expansion of the brewery system that would be in a lease situation.
- So, it's specific investors that we're looking for who understand our vision and believe in it. - And that'll include doing the renovations in the next building, moving the brewery there and having it up and going? Okay. - [David] Yeah we'll get that to you certainly. - [Josie] Yeah absolutely, and if you have any questions, anything putting into it just let me know.
Yeah absolutely. - Fantastic yeah. - It drives me nuts when I start talking this way and people ah you're a socialist or you're a communist. This has nothing to do with, this has nothing to do with socialism versus capitalism.
This is how real systems in the real world work, and that's physics and biology and energy. Everything is energy. This is the way it works from a tornado, to boiling water in a pot, to insects, to entire ecosystems, to human bodies, to human consciousness, to the entire universe itself is a learning, living system.
(mellow music) - We are in Whistler, BC at the Impact Economy Summit. We've been trying to cook a new economic model for the citizen media ecosystem. There's a lot of energy in the room with ups and downs, which is normal for this kind of interactions, discussions, and working together. So, this is building bridges, right. Building bridges between the open world and the classical world so, that you, we can establish these flows of resources in this process of metamorphosis.
We can't just start building from scratch from nothing. We are within the system, and by establishing these interfaces and the trust, we can allow these resources to flow. - This is not in any way a classical business right? This is not around a corporation that wants to maximize profit for its shareholders. - I see traditional corporations as boxes.
So, there are spaces of confinement that limits you in what you wanna do. Let's say you have a project and you go to a corporation, and the question is do we have the budget, or the budget, that number is a parameter that confines you. Do we have the skills? So, essentially you're looking in a box and you see what's in there? How much money we have, how much people we have. So, NASA is doing a lot of prizes and this is competitive crowd sourcing.
You see you have a prize, you have a project, and you say, alright who comes up with the best design, they get the prize. And there's a lot of redundancy, and everyone spends money for their own prototyping, and for delivering something, and then you have one winner and the rest are losers, and the only thing they take home is the experience, right? So, with the value accounting system, we say, well why don't you collaborate, and log your contributions, financial materials, time, everything you put in there, and then the prize you share it according to everyone's contribution. Okay, so you turn competiti