Written by Nébesna Fortin, interns coordinator and sustainable development officer of Cité Ecologique, born in Cité Ecologique.
In 1984, the founder of our ecovillage, Michael Deunov, and a group of parents started a project offering an alternative school for children who wanted to learn in nature and through concrete activities. The main idea was to built a school that would give priority to education and would empower each kid with their one own strength. The first two years, the project started as a summer camp. Due to the kids’ interests, it was soon transformed to accommodate families all year long. The ecovillage “La Cite Écologique” was then born. To meet the financial requirements, everyone pooled together their strength. Eco-businesses soon gravitated around the school. Furthermore, those working areas provided high school kids with the opportunity to do internships and educational activities directly linked with real economic challenges. The first business operated in the field of agriculture and food supply. Over time, economic activities diversified. Soon we ran an organic farm, a glass art workshop, a meaningful gift distributor and a sewing shop. At the beginning of 2000, youngsters who developed their leadership skills began to share their interest for managing their own projects. This way, new businesses started emerging. A new and inspiring project was created in 2008. I took the time to chat with this young entrepreneur to share with you what he had to say about starting a new business in an ecovillage.