|Did you ever have the dream of living in a real
community instead of in our modern suburban world where everyone is so busy that they
really don't have the time to stop and get to know you? If you did, you have lots of
Life in community is a vital part of being human whether it is the community of the family or a community of special friends. But when we dream about a community, we often mean a community that we freely choose to join because it shares some of our important values. We have had our own dreams of community, as expressed in the reading connected with this Discussion Area, but just how feasible is true community life today? There are a host of material problems that have to be faced. For a simple living community, they include finding and buying land, building houses, dealing with codes and zoning, and so forth, and with just where the money will come from. If it has to be borrowed through normal channels, how can simple living ideas be lived out when everyone is under the cloud of a conventional mortgage?
But the physical and economic issues, as important as they are, are small when compared to the human ones. How will such a community organize itself in order to bring into harmony people of different psychological types, economic visions, and goals for the future. What will be the vital glue that holds the community together? What will be the ultimate values that the members share?
Now it is your turn to contribute to this discussion. Send us your questions and comments: email@example.com
For a discussion of contemplative communities see Dreaming of a Spiritual Community?
Some of the following older responses are outdated with e-mails that no longer work. In your new response please include the date.
Older ResponsesDear Homesteading/Small Farming Colleague,
I am a 44 year old, unabashed organic gardener/social worker/divorced dad/CSA advocate/social activist/youth worker... and the profoundly gifted steward of a small but magical piece of fertile land in rural western Massachusetts. I'm searching for two kinds of collaborators at this point. First, I'm seeking partners/housemates to share my own small, diversified homestead. Secondly, I'm seeking an appropriate, green couple, family or individual to pursue the purchase of an adjacent property (five prime growing acres and a large, unusual, livable [albeit needing significant work] house, very reasonably priced...) with a specific eye toward long-term community building, cooperative land projects and agrarian development.
Regarding my search for house and landmates to share our homestead, here is a short blurb I've been using:
Comrade(s) Sought For Intentional Living - Many possibilities for project collaboration and community building
I'm seeking (a) unique and visionary person(s) to share and partner with us on a beautiful, diversified, hill-top homestead and micro-farm in Franklin County, Massachusetts. Join us in stewarding this amazing land and perhaps co-creating a green, service-oriented cottage industry. My passions are people, counseling, community building, hacky sack, kids, Spanish language, growing food, trees and goats. I'm also a social worker/teacher with an emphasis on men's issues, teens, families and divorce. I'm committed to conscious parenting, mentoring, peace education and service to the world. Are you skilled with people, herbs, alternative medicine and healing, bodywork, grant writing, drumming, web authoring, or...? Were interested only in peaceful, healthy, mature, green, child-friendly, happy, communicative and committed folks. That's all! (Sorry to be so picky, but you know how it is =)
While these days most of my nearby neighbors are uninterested in "intentional community" or "agrarian collaboration", my heartsong remains to build (extended) family here and to steward and preserve the land. So here I've been for half a decade, on my own four acres, with the help of seasonal apprentices and various housemates, tilling, planting, tending, culturing, crafting, honing -- faithfully holding the "small farm vision" and building the groundwork of various permaculture/micro-farming endeavors (we have stunning vegetable gardens, fruit/nut trees at various stages, berries, dairy/meat goats, a small, multi-use greenhouse, a summer mentoring program for kids, etc, etc...). I have also kept patiently, but steadily putting out feelers and inviting the participation, support and commitment of others.
I'm entirely clear that the purpose for these grape trellises, raised beds and goats is only partly because we love this rural, "self-sufficient" lifestyle and want to be comfortable as the years go by. It is also my clear objective to use this fertile homestead as a vehicle for mentoring, healing and teaching work, now and in the future. I also believe that, notwithstanding the small acreage, this place can, should and will ultimately be able to support itself, and even earn a profit one day - not simply remain my daughter's and my "hobby farm".
Aside from CSA, community/demonstration gardening, youth programs, etc, I also have various other schemes in mind for this, including several farm-based cottage industries and several exotic and value added "niche" crops. There also are certainly other permutations and creative uses for this hilltop which have yet to emerge. My experience searching for collaborators has taught me that personal chemistry and shared vision is as important, if not moreso, than the logistics of the farm, the acreage or the peculiar skills and inclinations of it's inhabitants. My deep desire for partnership and the seasonal coming and going of apprentices/housemates has taught me the importance of co-creating this vision, not simply being the "lord of the manor" or keeper of the flame. Hence my patient and determined search continues for the right comrade(s) to share this unique place and venture.
I've ramble enough to give you a sense of the scenario here. If you are interested or just interested in the concept, feel free to contact me. All inquiries and/or feedback are welcomed.
Blessings on your farm projects!
Daniel Botkin * 413-863-8696 * firstname.lastname@example.org
How to contribute to this discussion
Reading: A Dream for the Future