What is it? The South Osborne Permaculture Commons is a network of community garden spaces and food-related sustainability programs and events in Winnipeg’s Lord Roberts and Riverview neighbourhoods.
Why a Commons? A commons is something that is shared. We share the space, we share the bounty, and we share the knowledge and experience that we all bring to the gardens and events. We work on the principle that whatever you put into the commons, you should get out of the commons. If you want some of the produce, join a Garden Club and do your part to keep the sites pleasant and inviting spaces to spend time.
What's Permaculture? The gardens sites all follow the principles of 'Permaculture' - an approach to sustain living and a design philosophy that works with nature to increase yield, minimize work and heal the land. We run our gardens based on the three pillars of permaculture: Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share. All the gardens are pesticide and herbicide free, and we do not use any chemical fertilizers.
Sustainable South Osborne Community Cooperative is a volunteer run, grant funded organization that started in 2009. At its inception as South Osborne Urban Community Co-op, we placed emphasis on food related programs as a way to engage the community, build intergenerational interaction, and increase the food growing capacity of the neighbourhood. In May 2012, the organization renamed itself Sustainable South Osborne Community Cooperative (SSOCC) and expanded its mandate to include a wider array of programs initiated by the Province of Manitoba’s Community-Led Emissions Reduction (CLER) program, which ran in both Lord Roberts and Riverview to help the community become more sustainable. At that time, we decided to cultivate sustainable practices in the following areas: food, education, energy, transportation, biodiversity, and materials management. In 2016, the SSOCC Board reviewed our programs and projects and concluded that we should narrow our focus and once again concentrate our efforts on food and education. Accordingly, we revised our mission statement to reflect this refocused mission.
Sustainable South Osborne Community Co-operative strives to create a culture of sustainability and resilience in our neighborhood through education, urban permaculture and community-based projects. We seek to promote stronger community ties and to build social cohesion, cooperation, care, trust, and the capacity for mutual support through local self-governance as we promote local food production, food security, and care of the earth.
Our Board (as of March 21, 2018)
- Barb Ediger, President
- Rod Kueneman, Vice President
- Donnie Bowness, Secretary
- Tim Stuart, Treasurer
- Cathy Rayner, Member at Large
- Laura Reimer, Member at Large
- Pamela Rayner Moore, Member at Large
- Michelle Scott, Member at Large
- Caitlin Popoff, Member at Large
- Jennefer Larsen, Communications Coordinator
Become a member
We’re a community-service cooperative – that means that our members get a vote at each AGM to help shape the way we run our programs and events. Membership to Sustainable South Osborne Community Co-operative is open to everyone, costs only five dollars, is non-refundable and lasts a lifetime.
If you’d like your voice heard in helping foster a culture of sustainability in South Osborne, please click here to sign up and buy a membership securely online via Paypal by following this link (note is a small processing fee of 35 cents).
The South Osborne Permaculture Commons would not be possible without our supporters:
- Manitoba Community Services Council (2016)
- The Co-operative Promotion Board of Manitoba (2012/2016)
- Manitoba's Urban Green Team program (2011/2012/2013/2014/2015)
- City of Winnipeg (2013/2014/2015)
- Winnipeg Foundation (2015)
- Food Matters Manitoba (2015)
- Assiniboine Credit Union (2012/2014)
- Tree Canada (2012)
- Manitoba Hydro (2013)
- WRHA – Healthy Together Now! (2013, 2014, 2016)
- Families Forward (2014)
- Cooperators IMPACT! (2010/2011/2012)
- Assiniboine Credit Union (2012/2014)
- Health Canada (2010)
We also thank the ongoing support from community places in our neighbourhood:
- Riverview Health Centre
- Lord Roberts Community Centre
- Riverview Community Centre
- Collège Churchill Highschool
- Lord Roberts Community School
- The Riverview Garden Society
SSOCC welcomes everyone interested in community sustainability and resilience to join with us in building the capacity to achieve these goals. For practical purposes, however, the geographic scope of SSOCC activities are the City of Winnipeg neighbourhoods of Lord Roberts and Riverview, or the neighbourhoods along south Osborne Street bounded on the south, east and north by the Red River and on the west by the CN Fort Rouge railway tracks. (South portion of Postal Code R3L)
Statement of Key Activity Areas
- Education - Education activities include any project or program that strengthens community capacity to deal with the transition to a zero carbon energy future or that generally enhances the quality of life in the community and contributes to the emergence of a culture of sustainability. Examples include our Community Conversation Series, workshops on permaculture, gardening, composting, voluntary simplicity, and presentations on what other communities around the world are undertaking to build community social capital, the pooling of resources, and the sharing of knowledge, time, and goods in the promotion of community well-being
- Food - Food activities include projects and programs that increase capacity in South Osborne to produce, preserve, prepare, distribute, share, and celebrate food using organic permaculture principles. We use regenerative practices to grow increasing amounts of healthy, local food and to promote food justice, and food security literacy.
We promote these key activity areas through the following undertakings:
- Community Conversation Series
- South Osborne Intergenerational Gardens
- Courtyard Garden at Lord Roberts School
- People’s Garden at Riverview Community Centre
- South Osborne Community Orchard
- South Osborne Food Buying Club
- South Osborne Harvest Dinner
- Potlucks with a Purpose
Other Sustainable Objectives
While not actively seeking to develop or deliver projects and programs for other sustainability targets, all education and food related projects seek to achieve these objectives:
1) Conservation and Enhancement of Biological Diversity - The use of a permaculture approach to food production in South Osborne promotes biodiversity and soil conservation.
2) Materials Management – All our permaculture sites practice composting and use leaves and woodchips from the neighbourhood in our efforts to build soil health and retain organic materials in our community.
3) Energy – Our permaculture practices eliminate the need for fossil fuel inputs such as fertilizer and pesticides/insecticides/fungicides.
4) Transportation - The production of local food limits its food miles and reduces energy use
- Networking / Relationships. SSOCC embraces the general Cooperative Principles respecting “Co-operation among Cooperatives” and “Concern for Community.” We alsoactively seek out affiliations with other like-minded organizations such as Transition Winnipeg, Transition St. Boniface, Riverview Garden Society and the South Osborne Permaculture Workers’ Cooperative and seek to have cross Board appointments whenever possible. We actively promote the use and support of sustainability-oriented organizations such as the South Osborne Bike Hub and ‘Peg-City’ Car Coop. We have memoranda of agreements with both the Riverview Community Centre and Lord Roberts Community Centre and have a position on our Board for a member of each Centre.
- Social Enterprise. SSOCC endorses and encourages businesses and services with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the community, rather than being driven by profit maximization for shareholders and owners.
- Maintaining, preserving, enhancing biodiversity. SSOCC encourages desisting from activities or practices which might threaten local species or diminish biodiversity, and encourages activities that help increase biodiversity and ecological resilience in the neighborhood.
- Fostering sustainability and community resilience. In addition to the general Cooperative Principle pertaining to “Education, Training and Information”, SSOCC aims more specifically to raise awareness about threats to community well-being and sustainability, approaches to building community resilience, and to develop “re-skilling” training projects relevant to building resilience.
- Measurement and Reporting. Whenever practical, SSOCC endeavors to measure neighborhood progress toward sustainability and resilience and report these findings annually to the community. However, nothing in SSOCC’s commitment to measurement and reporting is intended to limit SSOCC’s activities only to those which can be easily and/or empirically measured.
Definition. A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.
Values. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, co-operative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
Principles. The co-operative principles are guidelines by which co-operatives put their values into practice.
Voluntary and Open Membership - Co-operatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination.
Democratic Member Control - Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions on the principle of one member one vote. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership.
Member Economic Participation - Members contribute to and democratically control the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. The co-operative's surplus is either distributed to its members in proportion to their transactions with the co-op, or directed toother activities approved by the membership.
Autonomy and Independence - Co-operatives are autonomous, self help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter into agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
Education, Training and Information - Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They also strive to inform the general public - particularly young people and opinion leaders - about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
Co-operation among Co-operatives - Co-operatives serve their members and strengthen the co-operative movement by working in solidarity with other co-ops and national, regional, and international cooperative organizations.
Concern for Community - Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.