If you haven’t written clear agreements, yet,
Your chances for success aren’t what they could be!
There are many reasons to put off writing formal agreements for your project.
- You might think there are too few members to make it worth it.
- You might assume everyone is on the same page because of your shared interests.
- You might have an aversion to doing the time-consuming work required to think of all the things that could go wrong, along with all the things that are needed to make them go right.
Is leaving yourself so vulnerable really worth it?
- Whatever your reasons are for not having clear agreements written around how members & guests are expected to interact with each other, your project, and the land you need to get over it!
Too many regenerative projects have had to close their doors due to interpersonal drama or failure to document the needed elements of their plan. With clear agreements, everybody knows what they’re signing up for, what they have access to (or not,) and what’s expected of them.
To help you on your journey, I’ve begun compiling a list of documents from land-based projects in Costa Rica, who’ve shared them for your growth and prosperity. Most of these documents have been offered as open-source material for you to copy, modify, and use as you will for the strength and longevity of your organization.
A few of the owners may prefer to keep their material copywritten and prefer that you use them for inspiration but do not directly copy the content. (It will be noted where this is the case.)
As you embark on the important work of crafting the security and success of your project’s future, I encourage you to look through as many of these documents as you can. Some of these agreements pertain to aspects of daily life. Others pertain to the shareholding responsibilities of the members. Some are short and sweet, and some are dozens of pages long. Take your time.
These are living documents! They’re imperfect. It doesn’t matter! Having a draft available to communicate foundational information is invaluable. As you write yours, remember that it should be flexible to change with the circumstances and people involved.
If you get to a point where you’d like some feedback on your process, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to take a look.
Many thanks to the mavericks who’ve taken the time to assemble these gifts of guidance
* If you find a document that particularly inspires you, contact the owners and send them a little thank you note for sharing.
I’m sure they’d love to know that their hard work is being carried forward to help make someone else’s dreams come true.
** If your project has some documents like this, already created, that you’d be willing to share with the community, please pass it our way!
I’ll be happy to add you to the list of awesomeness!
Finca Fruición: Permaculture Land Cooperative, Pérez Zeledón
Finca Morpho, Puerto Jimenez, Puntarenas
Finca Morpho’s On-Site Reference Guide – link to all working documents
Finca Morpho’s Red Book – Welcome Book and info about the structure of the farm
Diamante Luz – San Salvador de Baru, Pérez Zeledón
- Mission – Vision
- Agreements and Good Standing
- Membership Investment and Divestment Schedule
- Community Living Agreements
Holos, San Salvador de Baru, Pérez Zeledón
Unity Community, San Jose
The Bodhi Bridge, Chimirol, Pérez Zeledón
Hierba Buena, San Ramón, Alajuela
MOZen Temple, Las Tumbas, Fuente Verde, Pérez Zeledón
Brave Earth (Tierra Valiente), La Fortuna, Alajuela
Sat Yoga, Pérez Zeledón
Punta Mona, Manzanilla, Limón
VerdeEnergia, Puriscal, San Jose
Algeria Village, San Mateo, Alajuela
Finca Bella Vista, Piedras Blancas, Puntarenas
Rancho Mastatal, Piedras Blancas, Puntarenas
- Educational Curriculum & Values
- Life as an Apprentice
- Living In Mastatal for a Year
- Apprentice Project Proposal
- Apprentice Expectations 2021
- Beach-Packing Lists-Tools-Time away policy
- Emergency Contact – Medical Info
- Mental Health
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Additional Docs
The Ark, Santa Teresa, Guanacaste
Ready to get your document started?
Would you like a little guidance?
In May 2023, I guided a group of project leaders step-by-step through a week-long process of evaluating what to put into their document and why. I recorded the program and have it available for you to watch at your own pace as an aid in your process.
In this 6-hour training, you’ll get a wide spectrum of ideas for what to include in your document to keep your members and guests on the same page, along with creative ways to share them.
Whether you live in a community, host retreats, or operate any other program that has people sharing communal space for more than a few days at a time, communicating the “house rules” is the compassionate thing to do.
Don’t leave harmonious living up to assumptions and chance. Begin creating this piece of your project’s invisible infrastructure today!
* Remember, friends, the future success of your efforts rides on your focus and creativity, not getting sidetracked by assumptions and the drama that comes with it!
Use these resources to invest in your future. Create your own version, put it on your website or a Google doc, and link people to it when they want to visit your place or even join as a member.