We have created our six pillars as the root system of Biblioterre, from which all projects, policies, and practices blossom and are informed. We are guided by strong values that reflect a commitment and reverence to (re)creating just, nourishing, healing, educational, joyful spaces and practices.
While we have separated these pillars as a means to highlight and describe them, in reality they are interwoven and interconnected throughout the fabric of our community life. They are also ever shifting as we grow as a community. (Interconnection itself is an underpinning principle of who we are and what we do.)
To keep these pillars alive, Biblioterre members commit to ongoing learning, knowledge sharing and keeping ourselves accountable as we grow.
As inhabitants of the Land and Waters where Biblioterre is situated, and in doing our best to be in right relation with all living beings affected by human behaviour, we intend to actively develop sustainable, regenerative relationships with the Land.
Members of Biblioterre hope to grow their relationship with the Land by listening through open-minded, patient observation, developing rituals that will help us to better learn and practice how to live in right and reciprocal relationship with Nature and all our relations – past, present and future – giving back to those that give us so much. We wish to see the Land thrive and see ourselves engaging in ecosystem restoration, biodiversity protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and regenerative food production. We also hope to establish a Land Trust that will ensure that the Land is cared for in perpetuity.
We acknowledge that by living and engaging with the Land, we will sometimes have unintended impacts. We desire to centre the wellbeing of the Land and Waters in all of our decisions, and hope that our care and attention will support us to predict the impact of our decisions in advance. When we are unable to accurately predict the consequences of our actions, we intend to do our best to address any harm that we cause.
We also intend to provide a venue for other humans to learn, grow, and deepen their relationships with the Earth so that we may better learn how to collaborate and care for those with whom we share mutual interdependence.
In acknowledgement of unceded Algonquin traditional territory, and in gratitude for the Land on which we reside, Biblioterre wishes to share these Lands and Waters in a reciprocal way with the communities of the Algonquin Anishinaabek Nation.
From these communities, we seek advisors to guide initiatives by and for Algonquin people and to lead projects and ceremonies on the Land.
As we develop these relationships over time, Biblioterre will explore all possibilities of permanent Land sharing, Land divisions, and Land trusts in allyship with the Land Back movement, with the hopes of inspiring similar actions by communities like ours across neighbouring Indigenous territories.
We believe that Life is everywhere, and that all Life has meaning, no matter the species. We acknowledge that with colonization came a system of hierarchy, where the personhood of some species was not honoured and where there was a hierarchy of personhood within humanity. We are committed to the process of decolonizing the ways in which we think and behave; honouring death and grief as part of Life, and developing caring and respectful relationships with people of all species and all forms.
We acknowledge that this colonial mentality has taught dominant culture (of which many of us were socialized) to disregard relationship building with the water we drink, the food we eat, and the plant and Land-based materials that we build and make things with. Instead, many of us have been taught to commodify the world around us, which has led us to freely abuse and devalue these entities.
We intend to take accountability for and continually work to change the ways in which we dehumanize and devalue others around us. We commit to developing practices that respect and honour all our relations when engaging in Land-based projects. We intend to facilitate a safe space for animal people, where they can live their lives without exploitation and unnecessary pain.
We acknowledge the history and ongoing legacy of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, as well as the genocide of Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island.
We recognize that people who are racialized, and especially those that live in poverty, face historical, cultural, and socioeconomic racism, oppression, marginalization, and discrimination, which are both systemic and interpersonal.
We recognize that the impacts of racism and oppression are intersectional, and cannot be addressed in isolation.
As a Land-based cooperative, we acknowledge that there are many people without access to Land and who are oppressed by our current food system.
We acknowledge that racism and all other forms of oppression damage people’s health and wellbeing, threaten their access to healthy food and Lands, and cause violence and death.
We aim to centre Anti-Racism/ Anti-Oppression as a lens through which we make decisions and engage in relationship building. We understand that this is ongoing work and involves a commitment to continual learning, deepening our practice, and holding ourselves accountable, both individually and as a community.
We intend to do this by working towards breaking down systemic barriers to access, opportunity, voice and full participation at Biblioterre. We commit to continuously working towards dismantling power dynamics that impact equity in decision-making at Biblioterre. This includes members committing to the work of solidarity and affinity working groups.
We commit to prioritizing initiatives that are led by people that are historically marginalized, and engaging in solidarity work in the broader community.
We strive to continuously unravel and disentangle ourselves and our ways of being from the capitalist, colonial, and anthropocentric structures that surround us.
We will do this by developing our capacity to feel what our various privileges have encouraged us to numb out from, by engaging in ongoing self-reflection, dialogue and learning opportunities as a community, by engaging in community activism & solidarity work with the wider community, and by building a culture of accountability taking & a strong belief in the value of generative conflict.
Through sociocracy, we intend to use non-violent communication while working collaboratively to practice non-hierarchical and consent-based decision-making. We also commit to examining our relationship to punishment culture, the ways in which we have internalized these values, and how they play out within our community. Additionally, we commit to encouraging an environment of collective growth and reflection, as well as allowing for imperfection in ourselves and in others, and committing to self- accountability and apology when we have harmed others.
We believe that the interconnectedness among all Life, including relationships with ancestors, influences the health and wellbeing of our community members. We wish to live in connection to the Ecosystems around us and to create a community as part of those ecosystems. The community that we intend to build includes a culture of nurturance, reciprocity, co-regulation, consent, equitable distribution of labour, community sufficiency and interdependence, and community care. In this, we commit to working to develop relationships that are supportive and loving, and to incorporate play, boundaries, open communication, nourishment, rest, ritual, beauty, and creativity into each day.
We acknowledge that many healing practices of the dominant culture have been taken from BIPOC communities without acknowledgement. It is our intention to continually work to deconstruct colonial models that pathologize physical and mental health. We believe that health and wellbeing are deeply impacted by factors that influence a person’s sense of dignity such as access to whole foods, safe, affordable and stable housing, a liveable income, strong support systems and community engagement.
We are looking to focus on projects that are informed by models of holistic health, community wellbeing, social justice, and connection to the environment. We also commit to centreing projects that work to address how capitalism, intergenerational trauma, systemic violence and oppression impact the health and wellbeing of bodies, communities and ecosystems. In particular, we recognize the harm that the medical industrial complex has caused to Black, Indigenous, Disabled, Trans, Intersex, and Fat bodies, and seek projects that acknowledge this history.