Imagine a community where fresh food is grown just outside your door. A community whereupon leaving your home, you are surrounded by supportive and enthusiastic individuals, all with the goals of living sustainably, in affordable houses. Where people of all backgrounds, age, and ability are living and supporting one another to facilitate both individual and communal growth, all while respecting the land and the residents that live upon it.
These are the visions of Glassworks Cooperative: an affordable, sustainable, intergenerational social enterprise in Owen Sound, Ontario. Social enterprise is an organization that balances making a profit with creating social change. In essence, it uses the funds it generates to make positive change within communities. With a focus on creating affordable housing, net-zero carbon footprint, sustainable living and an emphasis on intergenerational communities, Glassworks Cooperative is carrying forth these ideas of social change on a local community level.
Kelsey Carriere, member and seed planter of Glassworks, also elaborated on how the structure and functions of the community will work to benefit the land and residents. She visualizes less focus on individualistic living and more emphasis on shared and communal spaces and interdependence. Glassworks draws on indigenous perspectives and inputs to move towards a sharing model where amenities are available to all within the community and reliance on individual ownership is less important.
Glassworks Coop also has the benefit of advancing goals that are outlined by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). The goals serve as a call-to-action for nations and governments to work towards sustainable living to benefit the planet. While these goals are created with the broad worldview in mind, Glassworks brings those goals to the grassroots, local level.
Three of these goals are No Poverty, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Reduced Inequality. Glassworks mirrors those goals as they are designing their community to be affordable for all, removing barriers to housing, food, and services, thereby reducing poverty. Following the net-zero model, the community will have a reduced carbon footprint and focus on local agricultural development ensuring access to food and farms. Glassworks also aims to reduce inequality by creating a structure for the community that is intergenerational and interdependent. It will be a community of support and with less emphasis on relying solely on one’s self.
The current development process in the world is one that focuses on profit and it damages and separates the world. Glassworks looks to the future with hope – hope for a world that thrives with affordable housing for all, without damaging the land, and one that supports all residents in compassionate and caring communities. Glassworks has grand, achievable dreams, and dreams are a driving force for positive change and innovation.