The Sustainability & Resilience Fund
Yasodhara Ashram Society
Yasodhara Ashram is a model community for sustainable living. As a diverse intergenerational community ranging in age from young adults to seniors, we work together, learning from each other in a spirit of service. We value inclusivity, foresight and generosity.
Over the past 53 years Yasodhara Ashram has evolved from an abandoned farmstead to a 115-acre ecological community. Living in harmony with nature in a rural location of mountains, forests and glacial-fed lake, the Ashram leads by example. Our residents and board of directors make decisions focused on a healthy future.
“Sustainability, investing locally, re-using, recycling, conserving and evolving are not just words but choices that are being made in every single action…The truth is that so much of what we think we can do for our health, for our mental wellbeing, and for the planet is not just thought about, but practiced at the Ashram day after day.” Chef Giulio Piccioli
CONCERN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
The Ashram is at the leading edge of the worldwide movement to prevent and reduce environmental impacts. In response to our efforts, the Ashram was awarded the FortisBC PowerSense Conservation Excellence Award in 2008 for our commitment to reduce energy consumption by adapting innovative and efficient technologies and solutions. In 2009 we were awarded the Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award from Tourism BC that acknowledges outstanding leadership in environmental sustainability. In 2012, after an intensive awareness program, Yasodhara Ashram achieved carbon neutral status. Environmental action is an important part of our social responsibility, a practice of the basic yogic principle of ahimsa (non-injury). In these times of dramatic changes in the environment, we also take responsibility for our resources through planning and interconnection with like-minded individuals, groups and communities. As well as energy efficiency, we continue to develop resiliency in our food systems and community emergency planning and services.
Our garden produces approximately 25 percent of the food we eat – 11,000 meals out of the 55,000 we serve annually. Ashram menus are based on what is available seasonally from our garden. In an aim to reduce our carbon footprint and support the local economy, the Ashram purchases an additional 50 percent of what we consume from local farmers and orchardists. Recognizing resilience is built on relationships, we support many local growers and emerging farms through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and partnerships. This is all part of what we call “food flow,” the growing, procurement, processing, preserving and consuming of what we eat. Steadily built over the last seven years, today it is an ever-growing organic system that flexibly responds to opportunities and offers succession of experience through our Learning Residency Program. Strengthened through a network of relationships, the Ashram’s food flow is a model of a resilient, small-scale community-led food system.
STORIES ABOUT SUSTAINABLITY & RESILIENCY AT THE ASHRAM
- Spiraling Up – Rachelle Premack
- A Chef’s Perspecitve on the Ashram’s Food Production – Giulio Piccioli
- The Renewable Energy Hub: Resilience Readiness
- Guide to Eastshore Energy Sources
- Rural Alternative Energy & Resiliency Report
- Climate Change and The West Kootenays
- Yogic Decision Making at the Ashram