January 4, 2015

Mission and Values

Mission Statement:

We are connecting communities of love and justice and empowering people to live lives of hope, joy and meaning.

Values

The Commons has four values: ethical, sustainable, creative, inclusive.

The Commons: what’s with the name?

The term ‘the Commons’ is a concept and a political movement. Commons can be knowledge, culture, seeds, land, bicycle repair cooperatives, community gardens, men’s sheds, urban farms, the air we breathe, our oceans, languages, music, our genetic heritage, community groups and collectives. Commons are sustained and kept alive by the people who care for them and the commons sustains people. There are both managed (such as community gardens) and unmanaged Commons (some vacant spaces in cities). Commons are privately owned, publicly owned and community owned. Ownership is as much a title of land as it is a sense of connection and belonging created through permission to use a space. Commons exist but can be difficult to see in a world preoccupied with private property ownership.

We named this organization The Commons to reflect our hope that small acts matter. We do so in the tradition of a political movement that recognizes the need for people to participate in more just and ethical economies and create community spaces. This is a movement of commons where people can come together to play, create, sustain, eat, drink, connect, explore, question, share, produce, work and live. The Commons is more than the physical location we occupy. Any space can become a ‘Commons’ if people common together by caring for a commons.

As an organisation, The Commons aims to “connect communities of care and justice and empower people to live lives of hope, joy and meaning”. It is guided by the values of being ethical, creative, inclusive and sustainable. In everything we do, we try and meet these values and aims. This is reflected in the collective democratic decisions we make about which tea and coffee we sell, what we do with the money we make and which groups use the space. We try to make The Commons a safe space that cares for diverse people and our world. This is always a dynamic process.

So whilst The Commons is a café, a goods store and a community hub, it is also more than this. It is ours and yours and no ones. The Commons is a common resource, a community space, an idea, a dream and a movement that is challenging the dominance of injustice in our world by being the change in the world we want to see now!