HEPAC Podcast Show notes- Jeff MacFarlane with the Ville
Jeff is the founder and executive director at the Ville Cooperative. He has a background in film and television but community development has been his passion ever since moving home to NB about 8 years ago.
The Ville started as a vision for Jeff that he talked to everyone about until it became reality when the Alexander Gibson Memorial School was purchased by Unity Venture in the heart of Marysville and Jeff shared his vision with the owners. In the winter of 2015, the vision became reality and the Ville Cooperative was born. The school was an active school until about 2012. They have a plan to share the model that’s being used to reform the building to others around the world where other schools may be closing or amalgamating but the buildings are still in good shape.
The learning lab was started this year! This features stuff like microbuilding, 3D printing, sewing, and lots of other opportunities.
They have a 60 spot after school program, day camps and summer camps. Their main programming is around youth, which is very successful. They’ve launched an impact market over the past month to with microfarms and business people/artisans. They are also home to King Pakal, a delicious Mexican restaurant, and Chesspiece’s new Ice Cream Truck Queen Street Creamery.
They have a community garden with 50 spots and run lots of programs on mentoring, caring for your garden, vermicomposing, seed saving.
They’re also partnering with UNB regarding food waste and showing how this can create jobs and different revenue streams but also diverting this waste.
Some of their other awesome programs: Food Fit started this year in partnership with Greener Village, which is running with adults and also youth.
They’re also doing work with Sunny Corner High with building a solar passive greenhouse, helping St Mary’s get their community gardens up and running, partnership with NBCC with front and backyard gardens and a potential partnership of students living with seniors and farming their front and back yards and sharing in the profits.
A building like this is so important for a community for accessibility. It gives a safe space that offers opportunities without some barriers, creating a circular style economy. It’s also a neat space that creates bumping points within the building that might lead to innovative and unusual partnerships. What do you want to see at the Ville? What assets can you bring? How can you help the community?
Jeff’s top 3:
Favourite place in NB: Cross creek station in Nashwaak Bridge to go swimming!
Favourite food: Local fruit and veg! Strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Favourite activity: Volleyball for sports but really anything outdoors, like hiking.
The Ville Cooperative: https://www.theville.ca/
King Pakal: https://www.facebook.com/KINGPAKALGROUP/
Queen Street Creamery: https://www.facebook.com/queenstreetcreamery/
The hypochondriacs: https://thehypochondriacs.com/
The Preston report: https://cles.org.uk/tag/the-preston-model/