Developing Goals for Choko Tree Farm

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We are setting up a hierarchy of documentation so we could have a framework within which we could work and develop the Choko Tree Farm in an orderly and comprehensive manner. To recap –

The first document in the hierarchy, the mission statement, is a succinct statement of where we see our project (in this case, the choko farm) going, it puts down on paper what we want to achieve, big picture.

The second document, vision statement is a much longer description of what we see the project looking like when our mission statement is fully implemented.

The next step - Goals

Goals are a series of statements covering the important aspects of what we are doing and act as benchmarks which we can use to measure whether the mission statement has been achieved and vision statement realised. They are concrete statements of what we wish to achieve, they fall out of the vision statement and should leave no major gaps in what we need to be achieved to make our vision statement come to life.

It is possible to have standalone goals but how would we know if they are comprehensive enough to get us where we need to go if we haven’t done the upfront mission and visioning? The results will also be improved if you involve your team (in this case your family) at each step, giving them opportunity to have input.

What we did was to break up our vision statement into parts, each one covering an important aspect of what we wanted to achieve. We listed them under the headings energy, food, water, waste, community and livelihood. With that done we could summarise what we wanted to achieve with each aspect in a single, concise statement which would encapsulate our intentions.

This process has been a little different for us because we are already into our journey rather than going through all of this at the start. I approached this exercise as if we had not done anything so that I could be holistic and cover all aspects rather than just codifying what we had already achieved. At some stage we would need to compare what we have done so far with where we wanted to go, so that it would become plain how much and what work was still to come.

What we came up with:

The vision statement talks about food in the following terms –

“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.”

With considerable thought and trimming down, our goal for food became -

“Our food will be produced organically in sufficient quantity to contribute to two meals a day for the two of us”

In a similar vein, where we are going with waste as recorded in the vision statement is –

“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.”

Which in our goals became –

“No waste shall leave the property”

As with the other documents developed during this process, the goals will be reviewed during our spring “Directors’ Meeting” each year. The documents are interdependent so a change to one would require others to be updated as well.

Goals for Choko tree farm

Energy: Our energy requirements will be captured, developed or generated on the property

Water: All rainwater falling on the property will be captured

Food: Our food will be produced organically sufficient to contribute to two meals a day for the two of us

Waste: No waste shall leave the property

Community: We will work within our community to help others live more sustainably

Livelihood: We will generate our income ethically

2017 Update

As a result of this years director's meeting and work on the strategies (which support implementation of the goals) and vision statement it has become clear that the goal around water was not complete. It addressed the supply side of the equation (rainwater capture) but not the reduction of demand for town water from the reticulated supply. To address this the follwoing wording has now been included in the goal for water -

"We will reduce our consumption of town water to as low a level as possible."

The updated Choko Tree goals is available for download 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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