a resource center for small ecological cooperative communities
A Little History. The nonprofit public benefit organization CRSP
(pronounced crisp, also known as Cooperative Resources & Services Project), was founded by Lois Arkin in 1980 as a resource center for cooperatives. Over the years, CRSP ‘s focus narrowed to cooperative and ecological neighborhoods. ecovillages and intentional communities. By the mid 1990s, the organization’s primary focus was developing the Los Angeles Eco-Village* (LAEV) demonstration. CRSP continues to provide a variety of resources to the now well established LAEV as well as to other small cooperative ecological communities both locally and nationally. In addition, CRSP sponsors a variety of public events about more ecological and cooperative living patterns in partnership with Urban Soil/Tierra-Urbana Limited Equity Housing Cooperative and the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust, along with other like minded organizations.
The CRSP office and resource library have been located in the Bimini and White House Place neighborhood since 1980 (now also the LAEV neighborhood since 1993). The transit-rich area is just a few blocks from the Vermont/Beverly Metro station and three miles west of downtown Los Angeles. The two-block LA Eco-Village neighborhood is in the Wilshire Center/Koreatown/East Hollywood and is home to a multi-ethnic working class population of about five hundred. It is also within the boundaries of the Rampart Village Neighborhood Council.
After the Civil Unrest of April, 1992, CRSP decided to put its resources to work in its own problematical neighborhood in a way that could benefit the city at large. Thus, LAEV was born in 1993 as a self-selected place-name for Bimini and White House Place. Little by little, we envisioned retrofitting the old built-out neighborhood for sustainability. Prior to this, CRSP had been focusing its ecovillage* energy on an 11 acre vacant site in northeast LA where it intended to develop a new construction state of the art sustainable neighborhood.
CRSP in collaboration with the LAEV Intentional Community members created two additional development organizations: the Beverly-Vermont Community Land Trust (BVCLT) and Urban Soil-Tierra Urbana (USTU), a limited equity housing cooperative. The nonprofit Cultivating Sustainable Communities was also a partner in developing the Land Trust. In July 2012, CRSP transferred ownership of two of its buildings to the resident co-op, USTU, and donated the land underneath those buildings to the BVCLTt. The intent of these organizations, in combination with one another, is to secure permanently affordable environmentally sensitive cooperatively structured housing for future generations of low to moderate income households. All of CRSP’s transactions thus far have been accomplished without the use of banks, but rather with the help of loans from its constituents via its Ecological Revolving Loan Fund (CRSP-ELF)
Whole Systems Approach. CRSP applies a whole-systems or permaculture approach to community development, integrating the social, economic and ecological or physical aspects of neighborhood life with the goal of raising the quality of life while radically reducing environmental impacts. CRSP intends for its efforts to reduce the burden of government, while increasing local self-reliance in the areas of housing, livelihood, food production, health, energy, water, transportation, recreation, waste processing and education.
CRSP proudly incubated or provided support to the following organizations and projects that started at L.A. Eco-Village:
- L.A. Permaculture Guild
- L.A. County Bicycle Coalition
- Bicycle Kitchen
- Cafecito Organico
- Food Lobby
- California Federation of Time Banks/Echo Park Time Bank
- Native Gardens
- Al Trochi Mochi
CRSP provides the following services:
- Use of our resource rich library, by appointment (213/738-1254 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Resource hotline: answers and referrals to your questions about ecovillages and intentional communities.
- Public tours of the Los Angeles Eco-Village in association with Urban Soil/Tierra Urbana Limited Equity Housing Cooperative.
- Monthly electronic events and news notice (get on our mailing list by writing email@example.com)
- Consulting on how to help make your multi-family building or neighborhood become more sustainable and regenerative.
- Public events on a variety of sustainable urban living strategies: socially, economically and ecologically.
- Sponsorship and/or participation in workshops, trainings, conferences, permaculture events, and faires to expand public awareness about more cooperative and ecologically living.
- Networking and events that strengthen the local eco-neighborhood and intentional community movements.
- Ecological Community Revolving Loan Fund (ELF) currently focused on continuing development of LAEV.
Volunteer and Internship Opportunities with CRSP:
If you would like to be a volunteer/intern with CRSP’ and its Institute for Urban Ecovillages, please see contact info below.
There are opportunities for people interested in the following areas:
- Librarian to maintain our resource rich video and publications materials
- Neighborhood Outreach (Korean and/or Spanish speaking) for surveys, events, and other activities
- Grants development, working in collaboration with USTU, BVCLT and/or other local organizations
- Membership Development and Services
- Tour guides to accommodate drop-in tours approximately eight hours per month. Must be available on short notice.
- Coordinate gatherings and Directory for Los Angeles Area Intentional Communities and Gatherings
- Office support
- Volunteer coordinator
- Liaison between local schools and LAEV
- CRSP Board Members.
You could also volunteer at L.A. Eco-Village for various types of work parties, let us know and we will put you on a special notification list. For information, call or email:
- 117 Bimini Place #221 L.A., CA 90004
- Telephone: 213/738-1254
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lois Arkin
Membership in CRSP
Membership in CRSP and its Institute for Urban Ecovillages is $35 per year for individuals and $50 per year for organizations. Rates are on a sliding scale basis for both individuals and organizations. No one is turned away for lack of funds. CRSP is a 501.c.3 nonprofit corporation and invites tax-deductible charitable contributions.
*Note about the word “ecovillage.” When used in lower case and without a hyphen or space, this is a generic term that refers to ecovillages in general. Many ecovillages across the globe have personalized the term, e.g., Los Angeles Eco-Village, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, EcoVillage at Ithaca.