Hi everyone, i am very excited to be joining the discussion and i hope to learn a great deal about new and more importantly old ways of living.
with that being said i am interested in staring a ecovillage / commune. i have 22 acres of rural farmland on the western slope of the rocky mountains, nestled next to the Grand Mesa.
The area is situated on the foothills of the mountains, and adjacent to a semi arid region comprised of mancos shale or adobe.
i am looking for any help in getting started.
a few notes:
*i have funding so this is fortunately not an issue
the land is payed for already
*the area i live in has no building codes
*the area has irrigation water, springs, a spring fed pond, water rights and borders a creek supplied by the neighboring mesa
so ideas? where should i go with this? legal concerns?
Hello River... Welcome to the tribe of Earth Lovers... I have a few questions that would make your situation there clearer for us all........ You said you needed help in creating this Ecovillage/Commune..... Are you asking for help in the form of advice from those who have done it....(I helped start from the ground up four (4) self-sufficient communities)...? Or are you asking for folks to drop by for short periods of helping hands on permaculture projects..? Or are you calling in those, (that may or may not have experience) that are ready to join you, (move there)... and help create the infrastructure that would support a group of people living there, growing most all the food they eat... with extra to sell or trade...? Or perhaps your calling all of the above.....
You said that your 'area' has Springs, irrigation water, spring fed ponds and water right..etc. Do you mean to say your 22 acres have these on them.. ? or the properties in your area Do..? Your elevation must be around 5,000 ft. .. Is that correct..? You said it is farm land... Does that mean that there are no trees or bushes or brushy areas on your land..? No buildings....? Neighbors living right next to you..? any privacy... or seclusion ..? It is great that there are no building codes or permits required to build...( I am a natural builder using Earth, clay, sand....water and straw... and trees from the mesa... to build simple 'Hobbit' homes)... But have you checked out the zoning laws.. to see if you can legally have/build.... multiple residences..? WE have gotten away with building small communities/villages.... by being quit secluded...from casual observers... out of sight, out of minds.
And River.... there is a big difference between an Ecovillage... and a commune... I have helped create and lived in Both.... The Ecovillage model usually has individual house holds....often sharing some meals and some work projects....(including shared gardens)... But having independent income streams and often individual homestead expressions..... where the commune model.... is often just about sharing every thing... one big extended family feeling..... After having done both for many years... we prefer the village/being good neighbor and friends..... model. It seems to leave more room for individual expression, and experimentation.... promoting less expectations of each other..... and more acceptance of each others way of living our lives... Of course it is important so start out with a group that has shared Values on how you want to live your lives... in relation to each other and the Earth..... enough said.... We are very interest in knowing more about what you want and need and are looking for... and we are looking to join others that want to live simply on the Earth and grow their own food, and build their own Home........ And Share Their Land .....with other like minded, like Hearted people..... If you or anyone else out there... wants to contact us... It is Sunny .... at; sunnybabaspirit@yahoo .com
A few questions, a few answers. As for the form of my inquire, i am looking to introduce a food forest to the exiting woodlands/ lowlands this i know will require a lot of labor. As an answer to the property's geography it is 11 acres of "arable land" and 11 acres of so called lowlands, consisting of large and small tress, numerous bushes and other flora. all of the water rights/ features are directly on the property, and the surrounding area has numerous watersheds.elevation IS around 5000ft.
as to the question of whether i would like to see an village or a commune, i am not quite sure yet. i would like to be in a position to help people who need it, and trade people work for a place to stay in the winter, since there is much less to do in the winter. as to the actual name of such a place, i think the people who would live here should decide it., when it gets to that point
I've lived in, visited, and WWOOFed at a number of intentional communities, permaculture and organic farms. If you're looking for short or long term people to come there, I'd elaborate more about yourself and your project. There are a lot of forming communities out there, some that will end up prospering and many that never get off the ground. what are some of the things that differentiate you and your project? I imagine since you posted this on permies that permaculture is important to you, but please elaborate more on your experience, your favorite permaculture authors etc. Being open to a lot of ideas in the early stage can be a good strategy too, but it's helpful for people who may be interested to have a bit more information about what you're looking for before making a trip and rearranging their lives in the hope that a new situation works out. It would be helpful for you to elaborate on your ideas, values and plans some more in writing just because there's a lot of self-selection that will happen when people read you're descriptions, you'll end up attracting more of the people you want and many of the ones that wouldn't work out anyway because of a mismatch in values won't even contact you in the first place because they'll sense the incompatibility when reading what you've wrote. If you're too vague, it's more likely people reading it who aren't really compatible with your values will misinterpret it in a way that's favorable to them, and end up being more of a source of conflict than a source of help. If someone's coming for a short-term experience, they don't need to be as good a match as someone looking to live in a commuinity long-term. I've been to a number of places where I had a good experience, worked a lot and learned stuff in a matter of months, but knew it wouldn't work out if I stayed longer because of conflicts of values, working styles and personality. Those can be more intense in a small group, some people that work fine together in a larger group end up having a lot of drama in a small group. I can attest to it being hard to know what to expect from reading about a place online alone, talking on the phone with them helps but there's always a lot of surprises when you actually get there. The same principle works in reverse too, when someone new comes to a farm/community, those already present never fully know what to expect until they arrive. However, the right questions asked and the right things mentioned can make a mismatch considerably less likely.
As for communies vs ecovillage, I have been in both and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Sharing more provides many benefits but also many more opportunities for conflict and drama. Some people that may get along fine in an ecovillage setting end up incompatible in a communal setting.
Besides general information about your vision and values, a few specific things you may want to address are, what is your vision regarding diet and animals. A lot of places end up with conflict over this issue, both in the kitchens and on the farms. Meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans can get along fine together in some places, but in others there's a big problem if some don't want meat in the kitchen or animals on the farm and others do, or simply want stipulations attached to meat/animals that others find unacceptable. Stating your personal position on that issue now would help avoid these situations. Another topic is whether the community has any spiritual or religious focus or not. Another topic in the norms you expect regarding alcohol, tobacco etc.
There's a chance I could possibly be interested in being involved in your project, but I'd just need to know some more about you and your project before being willing to commit the time, money and energy to travel from where I am now (Missouri) to western Colorado. If I were in your area already, I'd just try to see if i could arrange to visit and talk to you in person, but I think many interested people would probably be coming from a good distance away as well and wouldn't have that option.
For the legal concerns, I'd check out Diana Leafe Christian's book "Creating a Life Together. There is much useful information on forming a community and legal structures.