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Village instead of creating an Intentional Community  RSS feed

 
Lee Du
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The idea of moving to a village or town and building community with the existing residents as way of experiencing community instead of trying to co-found an intentional community is starting to appeal to me a whole lot. I may have began to question this very briefly on my own before reading about it elsewhere, but I have to give credit where it is due. John Michael Greer mentioned this as an alternative to trying to start communities from the ground up in his book The Long Descent. He brought up the issue of ic's being costly and having a high failure rate (or of non-completion).

He went on to recommend looking for a town that had a good water source and that thought should be given to transport routes. He mentioned joining fraternal orders to build community and potential safety nets. Also, in relation to this, someone on permies recently mentioned infiltrating local Grange chapters.

I've gone back and forth on my options. I've often feared having trouble building relationships with village locals because most of them appear to be mainstream cable TV watching people that want to keep driving to big box stores forever. It also seems that someone with a spiritual belief that is common in the village would have a much easier time making connections.

Still, I think there are many ways to meet people and cooperate in the community that already exists, and even enrich it a bit.

Now, I will still cheer on anyone making a good go at setting up an ic, and if I move to a village I will invite some homesteaders out to buy property in my neighborhood. It's an approach to "community" that I think is worth considering.

What do you think about this strategy as an alternative to building an intentional community?

 
Chadwick Holmes
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Location: Volant, PA
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It has been my experience that most people out in the standard population just don't care about a neighbor, if one were homeless they would walk right past without a care.

The love and care just have not been there in the many places I have lived, but you might find a sweet spot too.....if you do tell us where!!
 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Lee, sort of along the lines of my Free State thread .

http://www.permies.com/t/20307/intentional-community/Free-Permaculture-State

Only at a smaller scale. I think it would be great!
 
Tyler Ludens
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I live on a road where most neighbors know each other and we often share food, tools, vehicles, etc. So these sorts of places are out there. I don't know how you set about finding one, we were just lucky.

 
Lee Du
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Thanks for the replies. I haven't found a sweet village. I do realize many neighborhoods don't have social cohesion. I'm hoping that this could be slowly change.
 
Niele da Kine
Posts: 49
Location: Zone 11B Moku Nui Hawaii
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When we lived on a boat, a lot of the live aboards in the harbor had a pretty tight little community. Instead of being an intentional community, they were all boat folks, so there was a common theme for the community. Also, many boats need crews so the folks had reason to form groups.

More than likely, your village will not be as cohesive of a group as what you'd find in an intentional community, but it would be a lot easier to move there, one would think.

Although, there may be trouble finding a village with social cohesion which will also freely admit new members. There may be an acclimatization time.

We have several villages on our island (Hawaii Island) which might suit you.
 
Ron Helwig
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Location: New Hampshire
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I think most ICs fail because they can. Before we had cars and other decent transportation you had little choice but to stick around in your village and make it work, so villagers figured out how to make it work (or look like it worked). But since we can now move much easier as well as travel farther daily, we no longer have to rely on our neighbors. That is both good and bad. We have more choices but we have less local social cohesion.

But the place I'm staying at we have a great neighbor who, while he doesn't quite buy into everything we're into, is friendly and helpful and agrees with a lot of our practices.

A lot of it is just about being a good neighbor and being there permanently. If your neighbors know you are good folk that are sticking around, eventually they'll get to know you. I just met a neighbor the other day when they asked us about an egg cache they found that our free ranging chickens gave them That led to a quick but friendly discussion of the float test - small steps over time will hopefully get them moving more in the right directions.

I should say that I am a participant in the Free State Project as well as a member of a Grange. I don't like the word 'infiltrate' - that is used by those who are opposing us because they fear change. And any political or social changes I'm working towards I am very open about - secrecy is often harmful and sets up conditions that can breed fear. I'm also taking the long view in that I don't expect my neighbors to change their views to be like mine quickly because of my words, but to grow to see the wisdom of it over many years.

That being said, choosing a town in an area that is more inclined towards your views helps. I'm in New Hampshire where the population skews more libertarian. If I was more self-reliantly liberal/green party bent I'd move to Vermont. If I was anti-political and mostly cared about self-reliance I'd tend towards Montana or Wyoming. [This all assumes permaculture being the main goal and being a U.S. person.] I'm sure you can figure out what areas best fit your tendencies, but in any case you'll need to be patient, understanding, and a good helpful neighbor to get what you're looking for.
 
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