Developing a Vision Statement for the Choko Tree

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After putting together the Choko Tree Farm Mission Statement, I thought it would be useful have a go at developing a few other documents in the hierarchy and the next obvious one was the Vision Statement. While the mission statement should succinctly tell the reader what we are trying to achieve, the vision statement is an indication of what things would look like if the mission statement were to be fully implemented. It contains considerably more detail than the Mission Statement.

The way we developed ours was like this –

1. Initial Draft

I sat down with a copy of the vision statement in front of me, looking at the three parts – reduce environmental impact, improve resilience and teaching others – and then considered each part separately, thinking about what the choko farm would look like and how it would operate if we had gone as far as we could in all three directions. Certainly there was some overlap, particularly between environmental impact and resilience.

2. Reality Check

Once it was drafted I then thought about stuff which looked good on paper but were unlikely to come to fruition due to lack of land or money or whatever. I wanted the vision of where we were heading to be realistic and achievable and in a couple of areas this meant backing off or changing the language to bring the vision in line with what we could do.

3. Review

The vision statement was then looked at by the directors of choko tree farm (ie Linda and I) and we talked it through. This would normally be done with everybody involved in the project and if there were any of the kids still living here they would have been consulted but in this case the vision statement really only applies to the efforts of the two of us so it was an easy meeting.

4. Revision and Use

This means including any changes required by the review process and then getting it out there so others can get an idea of where we are heading. The vision statement will also be reviewed at our “Directors’ Meeting” each spring. The next job is to use the vision statement by comparing it to our existing reality and then using the differences to craft a set of goals.

This is what we came up with –

Choko Tree Vision Statement

Choko tree farm will be not only a productive but beautiful urban space where people can come to learn about how to live a more sustainable life. The majority of the energy for cooking, lighting, heating and cooling will captured, developed or generated on the property. The house will be improved with energy conserving design features. Likewise all rainwater falling on the property will be captured and stored, either in tanks and other containers or in the ground. Year round displays of flowers will not only add to the beauty of the property but also attract beneficial insects to help with pollination and protection of the growing plants.

Our vegetables will be produced organically all year round, sufficient to contribute to two meals a day for the two of us and some fruit will also be available all year round and we will preserve the excess. Sufficient herbs will be produced for our needs and to sell or give away to others as required. We will also provide all our own herb and vegetable seedlings, raised from our own seeds where practicable with an excess to sell. Where it is not practicable for us to grow enough of a specific vegetable we will source them from organic, local, small retailers or by swapping with friends and family. We will produce our own protein where possible from chickens, for both eggs and meat, quail for both eggs and meat and fish. Some animal feed will be produced on the farm.

We will also take advantage of any available land away from the choko farm to grow crops such as grains which are to extensive to be grown on the farm proper.

No greywater will leave the property being treated where required then re-used to irrigate food and other crops. Blackwater will be minimised by the use of a composting toilet and other techniques. When purchasing materials or things we cannot make or repair we shall do so using methods which produce the least possible waste. We shall use our tools and space to repair or make what we need wherever possible. Organic waste will be fed to animals, worms or composted.

We will open for sustainable house day and permaculture day as well as maintaining a website about our activities. There will be a teaching space to allow us to run sustainability related workshops at the choko farm, to use we are doing as examples. We shall develop a series of activities along with the workshops which will allow us to make living from the property in a sustainable way.

We will not neglect the need to relax and areas of the farm will be developed where we can unwind and read a book or catch up with family and friends. The capacity for communal eating will also be supported in the amenity areas.

Update 2017

After our directors meeting and during the process of developing goals and strategies, we realised that a couple of points needed correction, bits had been missed and a couple of new bits had cropped up that needed inclusion. As a result the following changes have been made (from the top!) -

  • The bit about producing meat from chickens has come out (not gonna happen) but the meat from quail has been left in to see if that will work once it is in place.
  • A clause on the investigation of non-traditional (to us) protein sources has been inlcuded (specifically snails and insects).
  • A clause (missed in previous work) about continuing to reduce our consumption of town water has been included, and will follow through into goals and strategies etc.
  • A clause has been added in to cover recent activites about writing e-books for sale and starting our own YouTube channel.
As a result the new and improved Choko Tree Vision Statement (2017) may be downloaded here

Be one of the first to get your hands on davids latest work. Pre-order your copy before the launch on February 10 at SLF Melb.

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