DR is probably one of the best places in the country for learning and seeing different examples of natural building. Lots of experimentation but also some very quality structures, especially if you include Red Earth Farms. http://www.redearthfarms.org/ There are some really great people who live there, and their non-profit outreach stuff is pretty exciting.
Harry: I can't believe we drove around all day and there's not a single job in this town. There is nothing, nada, zip!
Lloyd: Yeah, unless you wanna work 40 hours a week!
i visited both Dancing Rabbit and Red Earth farms long ago, maybe 2008? my partner (at the time) and I hosted a solar powered dance party at DR. it was quite amazing. DR seemed very organized, open to guests (at the time they were constructing a guest building for volunteers, interested members, visitors, etc). they owned a large peice of land but were decided to live centrally, as a village, and that they were. very compact living. some in homemade huts, some just in tents or even lean-to's! I imagine you could hear the whole town snoring at night. My biggest impression with DR was the youth presence. There were a lot of kids (at the time), maybe 10 or 15, which seems pretty impressive, and as a mother, important to attract young families interested in Intentional Community Living.
What i remember of REF was brief. We actually slept there in a guest cabin, as we visited both Communities (who are neighbors, within walking distance). At the time there were only two families (ie two houses) with a much different Community Structure than DR.
DR's values were based on communal living. Each person had their own sleep space, or small house, but used collective kitchens, living areas, shared bicycles, gardens, food, chores, even a community car (which i think is the neatest thing). Each member is obliged to do their fair share of the 'work,' which is distributed collectively.
REF, on the other hand, was more individual living. Each member gets their own peice of land for housing, gardening, whatevering. The community is there to help lend hands, advice, etc, but in the end you are responsible for your own life and can therefore choose your lifestyle accordingly without having to refer to community decisions.
I felt very privilaged to be able to spend time between these two alternative living structures, and although I didnt make the choice to live there, i still think of it fondly and consider this a great place for anyone to go if they want to learn about IC. Their community love and openness, and organization gives me a warm spot for our future.
Howdy y'all- Ben here at Dancing Rabbit. Exciting to see us on Permies! Ya might be interested in knowing that DR is hosting our first PDC this summer, through Midwest Permaculture. Though as a community we've been slow to start into agricultural projects, we do have a couple of food forest projects, a silvipasture in development, many gardens across the community, a vineyard, hoophouse, and rotational grazing in effect. As a member of an agriculturally based subcommunity, we are always interested in having folks come through who share our interest in permaculture design. Here's a link to the PDC: http://midwestpermaculture.com/pdc-dancing-rabbit-ecovillage/ and another for my subcommunity at DR: Clawing our way to sustainable There are many, many opportunities to learn natural building here as well. I'm pretty sure we're the folks that Joseph sold grain to...
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit