The Ekobius International Cooperative membership program was created to maximize the cooperative structure for mutual social benefit sharing using the Rochdale Principles and other cooperative models. The development of Ekobius is based on the ongoing study and conformance of multiple cooperative ideals involving western and indigenous knowledge in order to create a single internationally accepted co-op model that can be operated transparently and do business anywhere in the world.
Our cooperative is a complete self-sustaining and independent co-op business; inasmuch it is responsible for creating "something from nothing" using nothing more than the sun, land, air, water, time, and the collective labor of members, residents and volunteers to bring naturally produced homemade and cottage industry products directly from our village to the public retail markets without government tax, tariffs or oversight under Venezuelan law as a cooperative association.
We produce our own food and use the barter system with neighbors to trade out surplus produce including manioc, pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, rare chili peppers, passion fruit, and mangoes or can sell our surplus in the farmers market in the capitol some 30 kilometers away. The small income pays for sustainable intermittent electricity from the Venezuela grid (95% hydroelectric) which is $60 per year and to buy basic staple grains at the river port like wheat, corn, and oats which do not grow well at all in the Amazon.
Cooperators (shareholders) can enter the co-op by making a simple investment based on their desired participation level. Generally there can be up to 6 classes of membership in cooperative societies, the general membership types are known as follows: 1) Original or Regular Member; 2) Co-Member or Associate Member; 3) Nominal Member; 4) Sympathizer Member; 5) Minor or Community Member; and 6) Institutional Corporate or Non-Person Member.
For all intents and purposes from the 6 membership types cooperatively speaking there are only (2) two that matter, voting and non-voting. The names of the types of membership we have decided to offer are diversified as follows including one time and annual fees which are necessary in order to operate successfully as well as get off to a good start (this ensures mutual benefit for every member):
Membership and cooperation involve working directly with the organization in an official recognized capacity that derives income from work performed. All active members are expected to labor working hours in a collective capacity with other cooperators in agreed and specific functions. Voting members who do not physically or professionally provide services are not eligible for daily sales or dividend payments unless otherwise agreed through a specific contract as a sponsoring member or honorary founding member. Voting members are not required to work in order to vote, nor are they required to live on the property, usual membership benefits are granted to all those who maintain their monthly dues. All fully qualified voting members may hold office, collect dividends, or qualify for other liberal group benefits such as becoming a participant in the ecovillage (camp).
Special Lifetime Active Participatory Membership
(Charter and Founding membership pay no co-op maintenance fees)
Participatory Active Memberships
(Active cooperators pay a maintenance fee of $30 per month or $300 per year if paid in advance)
These types of membership allow new people interested in becoming part of the cooperative to support the cooperative, our community efforts, charitable activities, special programs and even work on a seasonal basis as a cooperator or as a student. None of these types of membership involve recurring monthly or annual fees that voting residential members are obligated to pay as the providers of day to day operational expenses for themselves.
Sponsoring Member .... $1000-10,000 per year (reserved for companies, universities, groups and organizations under particular agreement)
Student Member .... $600 per semester plus food (seasonal includes internship counseling, reporting and campground accommodations for 3-9 weeks)
Working Student Member .... $450 per semester (seasonal includes internship counseling, reporting, meals and campground accommodations for 3-9 weeks)
Individual Working Member .... $720 (seasonal includes meals, national travel, and campground accommodations for up to 5 months annually)
Individual Volunteer Member .... $600 (seasonal membership with cooperative working pay benefits, meals and lodging up to 3 months)
Consumer Member .... $300 per year (entitles member to make unlimited wholesale purchases and visit our farm, center and campground in the Northern Amazon)
Production Member .... $100 per year (associated cooperatives and individual neighbors sharing our resources to benefit the community)
Supporting Member .... $150 per year (promotional cooperative products, special gift, annual report, official bulletins and newsletter)
Friendship Member .... $60 per year (indigenous friendship gift, official bulletins and newsletter)
Goodwill Membership .... $10 per year (includes community neighbors, social network contacts *newsletter only)
Our cooperative within the first 120 days of the close of our capital campaign in May of 2014 will be fully operational and fully prepared to publicly offer membership that includes tourism, outdoor recreational training, indigenous eco-education, paid and unpaid volunteer (intern) work opportunities, adventure activities, medicinal plant production, and cooperatively produced new products in the marketplace. Preliminarily "now" we are open to volunteers and anyone who can "rough-it" a little.
Those who support our capital campaign and initial effort to establish our initiatives will be invited and afforded the great opportunity to have active input into the formation and decisions in direction of the cooperative as well as the sense of being part of something in which they believe in and are real shareholders in.
To become a voting member of the international cooperative or arrange group participation then contact Sonia Ceballos directly in Caracas, Venezuela at her office (+58)(212)516-0361, by cell or you can email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your intentions and understanding clear.
You can make donations for Honorary and International Membership or pay regular membership dues anytime online using Facebook and PayPal. Just visit our Facebook Page and use the Donate application located on the tab under our page header.
If you are buying into the cooperative to invest or to go live at Ekobius send your payment directly to David Wright or you can use the Donate link on Facebook.
We prefer PayPal for all account payments and prefer that you pay in your local currency. Our PayPal email is email@example.com
If you wish to make a tax-deductible collaborative contribution, personal
donation, or are sending an open sponsorship contribution of over $2,500 please
send your check or money order directly to the project sponsor organization, who
will direct the fund to Ekobius.
Make your check payable to Ecology Crossroads using the regular postal mail service to the following address:
Ecology Crossroads Cooperative Foundation
c/o Nicholas Wright, Treasurer
302 General Smith Drive
Richmond, Kentucky 40475 USA