San Mateo Ecovillage Community Charter

v. 3 August 2011


Mission Statement

San Mateo Ecovillage Community is a home for people committed to healthier more sustainable lives. We share organic gardening, eating, playing, inspiration and a value for social justice. We recognize the interconnectedness of all things and live consciously to honor and build those relationships: the land to our bodies, our bodies to our community, our community to the larger world, the larger world to the land.

Practical Overview

We are a community in two 4 unit apartment buildings. One building has been owned since 1989 by one family who founded the community and are current residents and members. The other units have historically been rented to others, but could be available to be shared by co-owners . A second building was purchased July 2005, two co-owners purchased shares in 2006, but one of those two shares was repurchased by the founders in 2011.

We have followed the basic Co-Housing model of individual households with some common spaces shared between all households. There is part of an apartment dedicated for that purpose (primarily for community dinners and occasional other events) by the founding family.

Outdoor space, including gardens and dock, remains as share common space. We have historically had dinners and meetings once a week and shared responsibility for specific chores, including the care of our organic gardens. It is hoped that these activities will continue in the future.


Community Membership

We define a "member of the community" as someone who accepts, in writing, all the responsibilities, benefits, and challenges of this charter, and who fulfills all related obligations to the satisfaction of the community.

Joining the Community

A person begins the process of "joining" the community when one of four things occur:

A. A unit is available and a "family" wishes to co-own in the ecovillage and meets all the legal and financial requirement of a Tenants in Common (TIC) Agreement and meets approval of current owners.

B. An entire rental unit becomes available and a party wishes to rent it; the landlords are satisfied that the individual can meet the commitments of their landlord-tenant agreement.

C. There is space available for that person in an existing rental unit; others in that unit wish to offer the space to the individual; the landlords are satisfied that the individual can meet the commitments of their landlord-tenant agreement.

D. Someone from the surrounding neighborhood, who already has a nearby place to live, wishes to become part of the community.

Community Requirements - "What We Are Accountable For"

Each member agrees to participate in the following ways to the best of their ability:

1. Shared Values

Commitment to the mission, values and procedures of the community as expressed in the Charter. See additional statement of shared values in Appendix 1.

2. Gardening

Contribute to our garden in some way each week in order to build a relationship with the land and our food.

3. Weekly Dinners & Meetings

Attend our community dinners and other events. (This attendance should be prioritized but it is noted that sometimes there are circumstances that prevent participation, like a work obligation or travel away from home.)

4. Shared Cooking

Cook dinner for the community once per rotation. Two people cook together (approximately) once every other month. Weekly dinners and other community meals are vegetarian with occasional seafood. (On some occassions, a potluck will be held in lieu of the above.)

5. Shared Work

Put our time and energy into the work necessary to make our community thrive ­ each of us manifesting a generous presence in our own way. We anticipate each adult community member spending approximately 12 hours a month on community work.

6. Decision-Making Process

Demonstrate some knowledge about the consensus process.

7. Shared Expenses

There will be some shared costs for the garden. They will be shared informally or as agreed upon. (Additional shared expenses for member-owners.)

8. Honest & Respectful Communication ­

Willingness to communicate responsibly and to earnestly seek a positive resolution to conflict

9 Drug Free Home

No on-premises use of tobacco or illegal drugs

10. Rental Agreement

If one rents to or from a member of the community, adherence to any landlord-tenant agreements laid out in one's lease




Appendix 1: Shared Values

Sustainability and Conscious consumerism

Organic Local Food

Conscious Consumerism

Social and Political Activism

Spirituality and/or Personal Growth

Health and Safety

Sharing time in the garden and at the dinner table with the people we live with and finding other opportunities for sharing which increases feeling of community and support


Background image and house/face graphic created by Patty Mara Gourley from Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano, CA