The 3e project has been donated access to a tract of forest 3 hours north of Montreal near the village of Sainte-Anne-du-Lac in the Upper Laurentians region of Quebec. The land serves as a platform for integrating into its activities explorations around the third ecology – the environmental. A concern for the interlacings between the three ecologies (social, conceptual, environmental) will remain pivotal, as will the connections and disjunctions between the city and the countryside. This distinguishes this new vector of 3e activity from a “back to the land” project. The problematic centers on transversal connections and transductive movements among the three ecologies, and between the urban and the rural. It takes an integrative approach to land and territory in their many shifting variegations. The land is not conceived as the site for community, but rather as an open milieu of relation for 3e’s “concern for the event” to extend to care for the land.
The land is off-grid and quite wild, bordering on vast tracts of protected public forest. There are three existing affordances for human visitors/custodians:
Maple sugar shack. High-quality organic maple syrup is produced from a centenary grove using traditional methods (without automation, using a wood furnace). The “sugaring off” season in March is an opportunity for 3e participants to connect to the local ecology and experience the change of season. 3e’s first sugaring off season in 2021 brought together 20 collaborators who embarked together on a very steep learning curve, aided by local residents with years of experience. The syrup produced is exchanged for donations to the project, as a fund-raising tool.
The “cabin.” This is a small 3-season house next to the sugar shack. It is open at all times for 3e collaborators to stay in for free. The principle is that visitors contribute in some way to the sustainability, lure, or useability of the place. Current conditions are primitive (there is no running water and only minimal electricity). Over time, the conditions will be improved with the addition of solar energy and a gravity-fed water system.
Solar house. A 3-bedroom solar house is available to accommodate collaborators who come to the land to participate in 3e, and serves in combination with the cabin as a venue for events. A contribution of $10 per night per person is asked of those who can afford it to cover the cost of supplies (wood for heating, etc.). When not being used for 3e activities, the house is rented short-term on the open market to help subsidize the land.
Future projects include the development of a fruit orchard, a cold-climate greenhouse, and potentially an activities space and energy self-sufficient tiny houses or earth-ships to expand the event-hosting capacity and amenities for residencies.
In the long-term, the land will be converted into a land trust, and/or placed under the custodianship of a charitable foundation associated with the 3e nonprofit.
This is a developing project whose emergent shape will be the outcome of participants’ appetites and imaginations. All are welcome to join in it.