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startup resources needed for CO ecoproject  RSS feed

 
Christian Huble
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bee fungi greening the desert
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Hello,

Some friends and I are starting a private-ish ecovillage in Colorado. The land has been acquired, 40 beautiful acres, and we intend to break ground next year in 2016.

I would LOVE as many resources as we can get our hands on for startup ecovillages/homesteading/farm operations.

We are already communuty/sustainably minded and have been living in a nomadic community for years. So check off the list for community relations and conflicts, we have plenty of that experience!

Right now, we are in the planning and funding phase. I am terrible at the financing part, (because i think monetary systems are pure, concentrated evil!!!) so that's a struggle for me. But we need to be smart and realistic about this startup.

I am looking for funding ideas, planning resources, time management.. whatever I can get! we're flexible and work seasonal jobs all across the country, and all have steady income.

But we have puppies and a baby on the way!! (just to complicate things haha)

The plan as of now is clearing the land, building some earth bag houses, and hemp cash crop to start us with some good capital. Looking into solar and wind, as well as rain catchment systems. I've done some work on earthships and we've all WOOFed and worked farms.

Any ideas or support would be awesome!! Cheers!!
 
alex wiz
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Mission Statement:
The mission is to provide refuge for those wishing to heal from the damage done by consumerism, imperialism, and industrialism. The village will be as ecologically mindful as possible while providing educational and spiritual development opportunities for the public.
Beacon of Hope mini ecovillage characteristics:
Open to part time and full time members
Grow 90% of own food
Use renewable energy
Straw-bale housing
Open to introverts and extroverts and people of alternative lifestyles
Peace and Sustainability are its primary goals
Constantly evolving and improving
Actively lives and adapts to the fact that the world is overpopulated and resources are dwindling
Highly detailed and methodical in terms of development strategy. Will use strategies from Dancing Rabbit, Earthaven, Pickard’s Mountain Institute, and others as guides as well as the book Building a Life Together.

Personality traits sought:
Kind
Patient
Considerate
Laid back
Hippy friendly
Open minded
Intelligent
Psychologically stable
Reliable
Honest
Hard working
Responsible
Tough
Hippy friendly
Aspects to Consider:
You may not be able to support yourself financially on surrounding area income
Estimated 8.5k max to live on for one year if you are healthy and
 
alex wiz
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That is just an excerpt from my own file that I created a while ago and I am on the phone so it's hard to post it all. Anyways I am very interested in being a part of this project. I have solid finances.
Email me if you are interested in discussing seriously at:

Aniceplantparadise@gmail.com
Please post in this thread if you do so I know to check my email
 
alex wiz
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may not be able to support yourself financially on surrounding area income
Estimated 8.5k max to live on for one year if you are healthy and do not spend money on gadgets, 5k minimum
May not have modern conveniences such as internet and close shopping
May be isolated
Will involve A LOT of manual labor to establish
It would be good to be able to pay off 40k in approximately 6 years, 8k a year

Living arrangements:
Either: 1. 3, 150 sq. foot houses….1, 150 common house -----$36,000 Total
1b. 256 sq. ft. houses---26,000*3=$39,000 to $78,000
2. One group house 600 sq. ft —$36,000 Total
20 acres $30,000
Home/ land startup: $66,000-$108,000
Solar-$7,000, Roads-$8,000, Water infrastructure- $8,000 Sewage-? - ($10,000) ---- ---------Infrastructure: $33,000
Total cost: $99,000 to $141,000
If a member leaves, improvements and additions are fully or partially refundable if approved before purchase
Annual Costs- Taxes, Repairs, Agricultural/Permaculture maintenance
Estimated annual costs- $1,000 to $2,000 per member
11k for infrastructure, 10k for land, ? for house, per member

FINANCES:
3 Founders/SLOTS------40k each----120k total

7k down payment

The community is not responsible for paying off someone’s mortgage if that person decides to leave

If a Founder decides to leave before 2 years----10 year reimbursement---80% of land and startup infrastructure costs
Money spent on constructing the house is 50% reimbursable (costs MUST be documented) ( house cost refundable up to $13,000)
Annual costs are non-reimbursable
Improvements and Additions are partially or fully refundable if approved before purchase and documented as such

If A Founder decides to leave after 2 years: 10 year reimbursement---90% of land and startup infrastructure costs
Money spent on constructing the house is 70% reimbursable (costs MUST be documented) (house cost refundable up to $18,200)
Annual costs are non-reimbursable
Improvements and Additions are partially or fully refundable if approved before purchase and documented as such

If a Founder/1st Tier Member is expelled from the Community: 10 year reimbursement---70% of land and startup infrastructure costs
Money spent on constructing the house is 50% reimbursable (costs MUST be documented) (house cost refundable up to $13,000)
Improvements and Additions are NOT REFUNDABLE

If A Founder Dies: The ecovillage keeps his or her contributions
If entire group disbands: split the resale evenly between founders

Total cost: $99,000 to $141,000

Extra members:
New 1st tier permanent members:
$25,000 entry fee paid over 5 years,80% refundable before 2 years, 75% refundable after 2 years
Required to build a straw bale home up to specifications 150- 400 sq. ft. within the FIRST YEAR
Gets no profit from property resale---receives refund if the entire property is sold
Gets access to 2 acres of arable land
Money spent on house Money spent on constructing the house is 50% reimbursable (costs MUST be documented) ( house cost refundable up to $13,000)
annual costs are non-reimbursable

2nd tier permanent members:
Don’t have any financial stake/claim in the Ecovillage
Are required to follow all the rules
Required to pay minimal fees and do minimal maintenance work
MUST live with a cofounder
Is still expected to contribute to the community
Is expected to be a positive influence
Partner/Lovers
A partner/lover (that lives at least 4 months on the property a year) of a founder can be a semi-permanent member for an extra $500 annual fee for the first 5 years. After 5 years, and the community accepts the member, the fee ends and the partner is a 2nd tier permanent member upon paying a $2,500 membership entrance fee. The $5,000 is nonrefundable.
Children
A child (that lives at least 3 months on the property a year) of a permanent member requires an extra $1,000 annual fee for the first 10 years. If the child is adopted, that fee is cut in half. For any second child, an extra $2,000 annual fee is required for the first 10 years. The fee doubles for a third child and continues t
 
alex wiz
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This is done to discourage one of the most unsustainable things that the common man and woman do, which is contributing to overpopulation. At present moment, the world is not regenerating fast enough due to 7 billion people consuming resources. The problem is only getting worse. Not having children is one of the most sustainable things the common man and woman can do.
Pets
2 pets per founder is allowed. Dogs are preferred over cats. Cats and dogs are NOT allowed to hunt wildlife. Pets that make excessive noise are prohibited. EG terriers, dogs that bark at everything, cats that whine all night, parrots that screech constantly. Pets must not be aggressive. The owner is financially responsible for all damage done by a pet including homes and agricultural plants. Pets are only allowed to roam freely in designated areas while supervised.

Income:
Summer rental spots- 4k for 6 months
Winter rental sports- 3k for 6 months
Tent camping- 1k a month
Festivals- 4k
Writing/editing- 1k a month


Social Stability:
Every effort must be made to maintain peace and harmony in the small community. The membership qualification process must be excruciatingly detailed in terms of all things related to community compatibility.
Unacceptable traits:
Asshole/mean
Condescending
Degrading
Dishonest
Consistently grumpy
Strongly anti-social
Unintelligent
Unreliable
Holds grudges
Starts drama
Vindictive b***
Extremely unmotivated/lazy
Emotionally unstable
Unacceptable actions:
Violence of any kind against a human
Animal abuse or disrespect
Actively attempting to break down the community
Not paying your share of the mortgage
Destroying property
Devaluing property
Making significant changes to the property without group approval
Allowing unpleasant/destructive people to live on the property
Being disrespectful or hurtful to other members
Use or possession of hard drugs (addictive drugs EG heroin, OxyContin, poppies)
Putting the ecovillage in legal or physical danger


Ecovillage Construction and Layout
All buildings will be sustainably built with materials such as salvaged lumber, straw-bales, earth bags, cob, and adobe. The homes will be built out of straw-bales due to their high R-value and speed in comparison to cob and adobe.
One of the main goals of the Ecovillage is to leave the property unspoiled and prevent over development. The property will have many natural areas that people can go to find peace and solitude.
There will be a large garden storage shed that will store all necessary tools for growing food. This building will ideally be 250 square feet. Purchase of an old tractor may or may not happen. A used ATV may suffice in terms of hauling heavy items, tilling the field, and performing tasks human power is not practical for.


Buildings/Infrastructure List:
3 -150 to 400 square foot homes
1 -150 square foot common house (possibly)
1 – garden shed
1 –greenhouse (underground?)
1—root cellar
1 -pond for water access and fish
2 – composting sites (one for human waste, one for plant waste)
Food growing practices:
All food will be grown organically with no exceptions. Permaculture will be the main point of reference for sustainable agricultural practices. Raised beds will be the powerhouse of our community. The square foot gardening book/
 
alex wiz
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buildings will be sustainably built with materials such as salvaged lumber, straw-bales, earth bags, cob, and adobe. The homes will be built out of straw-bales due to their high R-value and speed in comparison to cob and adobe.
One of the main goals of the Ecovillage is to leave the property unspoiled and prevent over development. The property will have many natural areas that people can go to find peace and solitude.
There will be a large garden storage shed that will store all necessary tools for growing food. This building will ideally be 250 square feet. Purchase of an old tractor may or may not happen. A used ATV may suffice in terms of hauling heavy items, tilling the field, and performing tasks human power is not practical for.


Buildings/Infrastructure List:
3 -150 to 400 square foot homes
1 -150 square foot common house (possibly)
1 – garden shed
1 –greenhouse (underground?)
1—root cellar
1 -pond for water access and fish
2 – composting sites (one for human waste, one for plant waste)
Food growing practices:
All food will be grown organically with no exceptions. Permaculture will be the main point of reference for sustainable agricultural practices. Raised beds will be the powerhouse of our community. The square foot gardening book/ techniques will be used to maximize the yield to land used ratio. Other books and videos (EG growing your greens- YouTube) will be consulted.
Absolutely no large livestock will be present on the property. Their consumption of resources is extremely inefficient. Chickens and other birds may be raised for food. Goats and sheep are not likely to be present on the property because of their high maintenance and supervision demands.
Due to the expense of well digging, a pond will be constructed to supply our water demands. Rain barrels, swales, and smart planning will be used to efficiently and responsibly utilize the water falling on the land.
A food forest may be constructed if funds are sufficient. An orchard may be planted if funds are sufficient. Ideally this would happen sooner than later. If wildlife is abundant, hunting on the property MAY be permissible.
Semi traditional organic food production may occur on the property if necessary. Obviously the details on food production need to be expanded heavily.

Option #1 Tiny Homes:

The homes will be built for comfort, efficiency, and style. If a member wishes to deviate from the suggested building style it will still have to be made out of straw-bales and built in a sustainable mindset. It will also have to be less than 650 square feet and the owner will not hold any extra value in their share of the property.
It is recommended to build a home between 150 sq. ft. and 400 sq. ft. ideally, the home will be built small with the ability to have an addition added if needed in the future. 350*60=21,000; 350*100=35,000
150*60=$9,000 150*100=$15,000
The cost of a home is not entirely in our control thanks to the bureaucratic and expensive requirements of building officials. Therefore, it is better to start your home from a very conservative financial perspective.
If you are to take out more than 40k TOTAL in a loan for the property and the house you must get group approval first.
Homes will be south facing and spaced 20 to 30 feet away from each other. This is done to allow for privacy while minimizing sprawl.
Option #2, Group House:

The above picture is just a concept of what a group house could look like. Of course a group house has pros and cons. This is unlikely to happen due to
 
alex wiz
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privacy and conflict concerns.
Pros:
Faster to build per square foot
Less plastering/straw-bales per square foot of floor space
Likely cheaper (one septic instillation, foundation, one permit, less plumbing per person)
Could be used as a rental for a higher price
Easier to maintain one home
Cons:
Less privacy
More complex to build
Have to agree more on style
Easier to disturb others (noise, smell, etc.)

Option #3 Community house that serves as a transition:
Build a transition house for the 3 founders to use during construction of their personal homes. The transition house would eventually become the community center which provides a living room, cooking area, food storage area, and personal item storage area. 300*100=$30,000
This is a practical idea. The main problem is the extra $15,000 to $30,000 it would cost. However, it would help enormously in terms of providing an area to sleep and live while building individual houses.
Three other options are using a yurt, tipi, or RV during the construction process.



Homes conclusion:
Currently, it appears it would be best for the founders to use a yurt or tipi to live in during the construction process.
With permits in hand, each founder should be reasonably able to build a 150-400 square foot house each if they start in the early spring and end in fall.
A member is allotted approximately $19,000 of the $40,000 budget to build a home.
150 square foot house (12.5x12) includes:
Bedroom (little storage)
Bathroom (small)
$7,500—$15,000
256 square foot house (16x16) includes:
Bedroom (two people)
Bathroom
Small Kitchen
$13,000—$26,000

400 square foot house (20x20) includes:
2 bedrooms
Bathroom
Medium Kitchen
$20,000—$40,000
Space maximizing ideas:
Have the bed on a loft and storage underneath
Have tall vertical closet in front of bed
Have a tall vertical closet behind the bed
Have a small attic storage area
Have open spaces and minimize walls

House Issues yet to be addressed:
Energy for stove (solar oven?)
Energy for refrigerator

 
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