I have worked as an architect and planning consultant and as an activist for sustainability for over 20 years. My main input was in Feasta: Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (www.feasta.ie) but I also served on 10+ NGO, professional or government boards promoting community development or environmental sustainability. About four years ago, I gave up all that ineffective advocacy promising myself only to work on real projects that promise immediate benefits. The commons movement is a framework for projects that perfectly fit the prescription!
I now lead two communing projects;- the Irish Biochar Cooperative based in Tipperary and the Community Land Trust Initiative based in Dublin.
The more advanced is the Irish Biochar Cooperative Society Ltd trading as +Char www.pluschar.ie. Despite its benefits, biochar still remains a niche technology / product known only to few environmentalists. We think we can mainstream biochar using a business model that has proved very successful in Irish agriculture in the 1930-50s - the agricultural cooperative. For these times, we decided we needed a multi stakeholder /open cooperative to succeed. The Biochar Coop has 8 founder members representing workers, producers, users, service providers and community. We hope to expand with roll out of our habitat management services and new farm products this year.
The Community Land Trust Initiative (CLTI) is a forum for now while we discuss the best model to take forward. The CLTI comprises a 40+ group of building, planning and housing professionals, activists, politicians and builders who are determined to address Ireland's housing crisis and see common ownership of land as a fundamental part of the solution. We may form our own community land trust or we may partner with a local authority in an arms length trust. We will know in 6 months or so.