Want to build a TREEhouse? Become a member!
You can join at two membership levels –Associate Member (AM) and Joint Venture (JV) Member. As you might guess, the difference is in level of commitment and cost. Of course, before considering either, you should first come to a meeting as a guest to check us out! We ask everyone considering membership to do that before deciding to join. We generally meet every third weekend at EcoVillage in one of the existing Common Houses. Check our calendar (on the right) for upcoming meeting dates.
Participating in TREE
You are joining an exciting adventure! Your help as a member is needed to make our “green” neighborhood a real eco-community, so we ask that you attend at least 75 percent of TREE meetings, either in person or by phone, and actively contribute to the meetings. We arrive at decisions through consensus—having an understanding of that process helps (see“helpful things to read” below).
Although many design decisions have already been made, both AMs and JVs have input into any remaining decisions related to the design features of our neighborhood and homes. JVs make the major decisions by virtue of their financial and other commitment to TREE. By joining at either level, you agree to abide by prior TREE decisions (see TREE Decisions Summary), and to serve on at least one committee (see Committee Descriptions). Membership on the Coordinating, Finance and Legal committees is limited to JVs, but AMs are welcome to participate in the Membership, Community Building and Design committees.
As TREE will be an integral part of EcoVillage at Ithaca, understanding how the Village works together will help you understand TREE’s origins and role in the Village as a whole. To that end, we ask that you attend at least one Village Association meeting, held once a month on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Our meetings are fun!! We laugh a lot together, and enjoy community-building activities and games, courtesy of the Community Building Committee, to help us get better acquainted. We usually have a potluck dinner on Saturday evening for those who want to participate, but sometimes go out to eat as a group, or take part in other activities in the larger Ithaca community. Those who can get up that early on Sunday morning enjoy a potluck breakfast at 8:00 a.m. before the regular meeting resumes. We look forward to our meetings so much that some of us are willing to travel five-to-six hours one way every three weeks to attend them. We’d love to have you join us in developing our neighborhood!
Everyone’s question: How much will it cost?
The fee for joining at the AM level is $250, payable to TREE Joint Venture. For the JV level, the fee increases over time because we are financing the neighborhood’s design ourselves, and we need to pay our architect, site engineers, lawyer, organizational manager, landscape architect, and energy engineer for their services. If you join the JV now, you will pay $25,000 which will be credited towards your future residence at closing. By joining the Joint Venture you become a co-developer with your future neighbors in TREE. Our architect and construction manager are working on new estimates. Estimates are likely to change through the design phase, but we will continue to work hard to keep the project affordable.
Why Joint Venture?
JV members also sign a legal document, a form of partnership agreement, called a Joint Venture. This document identifies those who are financially committed to the project, and limits their financial liability to a set amount, which can be amended as the project proceeds. Once our neighborhood is built, we will become another type of legal entity-- most likely a cooperative. EcoVillage’s first two neighborhoods are both cooperatives.
Get to know us, and let us get to know you!
If you are interested in becoming a member, we ask that you:
- Be sure to read all the information on the TREE website, as well as the EcoVillage at Ithaca website
- Attend your first meeting in person (contact
to let us know you’re coming). Subsequent meetings may be attended by phone with advance notice.
- Attend an orientation session (It takes about one hour, and may be arranged after your first meeting).
- Take a tour of the Village, either a tour offered before a TREE meeting. or one of the regular Village tours–tours are offered on the last Saturday of every month, or you can arrange for one at another time through the EVI
- Read Liz Walker’s account of life at EcoVillage in EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture.
- Complete an Associate Membership questionnaire—available for download here.
- Stay at EcoVillage for five days (not necessarily consecutive), and participate on at least one work team while you are there – the cook and meal cleanup teams are usually looking for help! See www.visitithaca.com for lodging and camping information for the area. Two B&B’s exist within EcoVillage itself: Frog's Way and The Wild Goose. Two EVI Common House guest rooms may be available on a limited basis for a fee—check with the
to make arrangements.
In a nutshell…
Reading about us ahead of time, attending a meeting in person, and getting familiar with EcoVillage are steps to becoming an active member, and one of our neighbors in a unique community. We hope you will consider joining us!
Helpful things to read
EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture by Liz Walker
The Cohousing Handbook: Building a Place for Community by Chris and Kelly ScottHanso.
Introduction to Consensus by Beatrice Briggs
Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities by Diana Leafe Christian