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Forming a Collective/Group

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Greetings readers,

I'm looking for people interested in forming a collective. My ideas for this group span quite a few subjects. Although its initial formation (where I’m at now) is not directly related to forming an intentional community, one of the main goals is to build up to having a physical site developed by a group of people with an influential involvement of permaculture thinking.

This post is fairly long and, because of that, before I describe the specifics of my plan I'll try to give a description of what I think would need to be present in individuals who become part of this project. This way, those who are reading will have more information to base the assessment of their potential interest on before reading through all of it. Also, if you'd like to skip ahead to where I mention location, it'll be in the paragraph further down just after a row of underscores.

I'm looking for people who...
- are very interested in creative arts both for the sake of creation and experimentation and as methods of conveying meaning and information to those who are exposed to the products of that creation;
- have a passion for biological systems and understand that humans are one piece of such systems as they exist on Earth;
- very strongly desire to contribute to the progress of human interactions - with each other and the rest of the biology of the planet - and education;
- support the idea of intraspecies (between humans/anthrosocial) community established self-empowerment and want it to have a foundational role in their own lives;
- are interested in building structures with natural resources
- have at least some interest in semantics, taxonomy, the studies of communication and behavior, and ReWilding.

My plan has a few 'phases'. The first is essentially about building the collective of people itself. I don't have a solid idea of how many people I'd like to be part of this but, based on my previous experience, I think it will probably be a fairly small group at first.
The first portion of my plan is also about establishing and developing some collaborative process between these people. I've been putting together a website (at this point it's mostly just a way to solidify my ideas and try to find other people who would like to work with me on this) which attempts to demonstrate the basic shape that I'm currently envisioning the collective will take in its formation. This site is located at http://sussystems.wix.com/home

**The name of the collective is a working title and one that I'm certainly open to change based on collective discussion (I've been trying to think of something more along the lines of regeneration as opposed to sustainability. I’ve come up with the name Regeniversity which was supposed to be a combination of regeneration and diversity. I was thinking it may be useful later on in the “final” phase of the plan related to education because of the similarity to the word university.) I know names are not a pivotal part of the plan, of course, but I do think that the external expression of the collective is quite relevant to the overarching goal of contributing to social change and therefore a name will still have significant influence on the success of the group's endeavors.**

To go into the content of the website some, the first phase would be mostly focused around the design team - freelance illustration, concept art, and design - and trying to build a strong, stable, close-knit social structure. Through the design team, I hope to not only build a working relationship between the members of the collective, but also provide a collaborative environment for creative growth of the individuals involved and, hopefully, to begin accumulating funding for the following phases of the plan. My thinking is that having a collective of freelance artists would help boost the exposure of each artist involved and also allow for us to take on more diverse projects in collaboration as well as individually. Of course, the monetary profit that anyone in the collective makes through these endeavors would be their own and it would be up to them how much they're going to set aside for the funding of this overall project. I will be setting aside at least most of what I make, if not all, from now until the establishment of a physical site.

This would lead gradually into the next phase (which could still be considered part of the first phase depending on how someone is thinking about it I suppose). This would be about more specific focus on trying to accumulate funding through the design team but also I'd like to start trying to crowd-source some of the funding around this point. The main long-term goal of this whole project would be to contribute as much as possible to social development (the improvement of human socioeconomic systems through education and the interconnectivity of diversity) by providing an environment for anyone to visit for free and have access to as many educational resources as we can provide to them while simultaneously working to produce forms of hopefully engaging entertainment that expose people to new information related to this main goal. For this reason, I think it is quite reasonable to ask for help with funding from others who are not directly involved. In spite of this, I'd like to still try and have the project be as minimally involved in the exchange of currency as possible without sacrificing its own potential. I'll briefly touch more on some ways this could be done later in this post as part of the outline of the physical site I envision. At this point I hope to have some of the animated web series project I’m currently working on presentable as well as various works from the design team and a more solidified long-term plan. These things would then be compiled into a video or something to show what is trying to be accomplished. The approach is pretty straightforward, I think.

At this point, leading into the ‘third phase’, I hope to have found others who want to create the animation series I’m working on with me. I’d like to try and have more time spent on this so that a few of the ten episodes I have planned (approximately 10-minutes each) could be completed and released online for free viewing before beginning to establish a physical site (I’m thinking that the episodes could be broken into three sections with the first three being released before the property is established, the next three being released at some point while the physical site is in progress, and the final four being released after the main features of the property are established). The reason I think this animation is a notable piece of the collective’s work is because it is intended to epitomize the type of entertainment I’d like to create: an engaging story and world but with a great deal of involvement of ideas related to the improvement of human socioeconomic systems. It is my hope that if someone were to watch the series, even if they didn’t begin with an interest in socioeconomics (whether or not they associate that term with it), they will find ideas that are applicable to their own life while watching it. Ideas that can help with the overall movement towards environmental regeneration and, through both that in general and the strengthening of locally supported highly generative biological systems as a foundation for a decentralized economy, empowerment of the individual. In addition, it would certainly be important to continue accumulating funding, to begin looking at potential properties on which to further develop the project, and to research the specifics of accessing necessary resources in the area around each potential property.

The fourth phase would come into view as funding goals are reached and a location is settled on. To get started on this phase, the property would be purchased and development would begin. First with creating temporary shelters, shaping the land and planting trees, and finalizing the design of the community center. Following that, each subsequent layer of the food forest would gradually be established while a community center (described below the row of underscores) is being constructed.

There is no particular length I have in mind for each of these phases and some of them could likely be broken down into their own phases, I just want to get started building a team as soon as possible. This is intended to be quite a long term project but I think it is important to begin experimenting immediately with social interactions so that there can already be a strong network of group interaction by the time we get to the development of a piece of land.


The following will be an outline of the physical site I envision.

The locations I'm currently interested in are upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Southern Quebec or Ontario, Southeastern British Columbia, Northwestern Montana, Northern Idaho, and Northern Michigan. Possibly even Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Out of those listed, the locations I’m most interested in are the area around Lake Placid NY, basically all of central Vermont running from the border with Canada down through Green Mountain National Forest, the area around White Mountain National Forest and up through the northern part of New Hampshire to the border, the part of Northwestern Maine between State Route 27 and Route 2, the area just north of Quebec City, Montreal, and Ottawa as well as the Algonquin Provincial Park area, and the area from the Southeast border of British Columbia to Valhalla Provincial Park and up to Trans-Canada Highway 1.
I would be open to other locations as well of course. (for example, if it became more feasible to go outside of the U.S. - Scandinavia, the South Island of New Zealand, central Sichuan China, the area around Sao Paulo Brazil, somewhere around the Alps, or maybe even somewhere along the southern part of the border between Chile and Argentina)

One of the most notable characteristics of the physical site that I intend to implement is a food forest spanning as much of the site as possible. Of course this would be a diverse polyculture system with the over story being nut trees. Below that a variety of fruit trees. Then I'd like to plant tons of berry bushes and various shrubbery. Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn/sea berries) is a species that I'm particularly interested in spreading throughout the site. Then along the ground I'm thinking lots of different edible plants, lots of roots and tubers: radishes, potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots, etc.; then plenty of Alliums of course; greens - domesticated and wild varieties; squash; beans; peppers; the list goes on as far as possible. I'm also quite interested in experimenting with the forest of food being broken up by fields of flowers, particularly those that support native pollinators. I've made lists of many many more species for both the fields and forests that I'd like to include but the specifics of all of this would certainly be influenced by the specifics of the land being developed. Additionally, in a situation where slopes are present, I’d like to create on contour systems of swales and paddies to grow rice. I'm thinking also that it would be neat to bring in and aid in the propagation of quail, ducks, and native amphibians to inhabit the site. I personally would also be interested in raising other animals but I think that would come later on and would definitely be up to the group's determination.

The structural aspect of the site that I envision would center around a multipurpose community center, with any other structures on the site dispersed throughout the food forest with foot paths or a boardwalk connecting them. The community center would contain a gathering “hall”, a few studio/workshop rooms to be the location of in person creative arts collaboration, a kitchen, and a library containing books, seeds, and hopefully access to digital information and online educational resources. Ideally, the studio spaces would serve as the location for an animation studio to produce content that is engaging in terms of entertainment as well as informational. Shows/films/media which depict proposed solutions to current issues faced by humanity and which try to increase exposure to appealing presentation of peace, diversity (and its strength), interconnectivity, and egalitarian values. I've created some preliminary structural designs for such a community center but, again, this would be heavily influenced by the specifics of the site and resulting from the combined ideas of all who become involved.

I'm quite interested in making the site as offgrid (in terms of both energy as well as production of other resources) as possible. I'd like to try to power the center using photovoltaics, thermoelectric generators, and possibly small scale hydroelectric production. I also plan to do a great deal of research on passive temperature regulation in architecture moving forward to implement in conjunction with burning wood for heat in the winter.
The structures that I have made designs for so far have been intended to be built using as many onsite natural resources and local recycled resources as possible. Basically, concrete (possibly hempcrete?) foundation, stone exterior base, cob and plasters for higher up walls and the interior, wood supports, and such. The roof is the part I'm least set on. I feel like some type of metal roof would functionally be best for the climate I envision this in but that would likely deviate a lot from the natural and locally recycled sourcing both in the acquisition of the roofing material itself and insulation for it.
Anyway, more specifics to be determined collectively at a later date.

To supplement the production of the food forest and such, I'd like to have some greenhouses around the community center (which would reside in a clearing). I'm pretty interested in having [a] walipini(s) connected to the community center as well.

As mentioned previously, the funding for this would be from combined resources of the collective as well as crowdsourcing. If anyone who's interested has additional suggestions for funding we can talk about those of course too.

Thanks for reading!

Notable Sources of Inspiration:
The Forest
Ben Falk - Whole Systems Design
Jane Goodall
Daniel Vitalis
Robert Sapolsky
Paul Stamets
Wangari Maathai
Jacque Fresco
Peter Joseph
Will Allen - Growing Power
Toby Hemenway
William McDonough
Arthur Haines
Jude Hobbs
Marcin Jakubowski
Stephen Harrod Buhner
Elaine Ingham
Nelson Mandela
Ubuntu Philosophy
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
1491 by Charles C. Mann
Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Childrearing by Alexander Sutherland Neill
The Self-Sufficiency Bible by Simon Davidson
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
Frank Lloyd Wright
Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Carl Sagan
Gene Roddenberry
Hayao Miyazaki
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Princess Mononoke
Claude Monet
David Portner and Noah Lennox
Posts: 1508
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
hugelkultur dog forest garden fish hunting trees books food preservation solar
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Quite a project you've got planned! Best of luck!!!

Notable Sources of Inspiration:

Paul Wheaton?
Alex Michaud
Posts: 18
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I'm pretty curious to see what comes of it, thank you!

I'm not sure why I haven't already done much looking into his work (I'm certainly familiar with his name and I've seen some things about his involvement in this site but that's about it).. I've just found a few things of his that look interesting to start off on tomorrow!
I'm glad there are always more things to learn about.
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Huh...wow...This is interesting. There are many things I would like to say about this, but it's late and I feel like a phone discussion would be more suitable. Your plan is both nuanced and yet vaguely amorphous. I am not sure what you are trying to achieve exactly but i feel like we are very similar individuals. We have the same mentors, interests and plans for the future.
I think I will tell you who I am and you can connect all the dots that connected for me upon reading this...
My name is Andrew Rodriguez, I am a comic book artist, writer, permaculture designer, cook, fermenter, farmer, etc etc.
For many years I have been developing a graphic novel series called Green Shift. I am just wrapping up the first chapter now. Should conclude in April around 45 pages.

It is the story of how a homeless musician, a jaded bartender, an anarchistic artist/government agent, a mentally unstable chemist and a naive botanist leave their walled dystopian city of Asphodel and try to create a life of integrity in the mysterious, dangerous, post apocalyptic outside world.

The story will cover topics such as our dangerous social paradigms, consumerism, rewinding, mythology and science fiction. I hope to work on it for many years, evolving it into a fun, artistically enhanced, character driven dialouge about what we are experiencing today. I currently make no money on it, publishing it online for free.

When I am not doing this I am working on farms, homesteads and trying to obtain my own property. I have a few opportunities coming up this spring and I am excited for them. I have lots of experience/research in all of this, grown veggies, raised all sorts of animals, have a PDC, yadda yadda. I want to create a food as medicine business that focuses on herbalism, fermentation and old cultural recipies.
I feel like this is a bit of a kindred spirit thing, who knows. VERY rarely see illustration and permaculture combined.
Here are my links...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greenshiftcomic/?ref=hl
Website: www.greenshiftcomic.com
Email: Armax000@hotmail.com
Number: 5614205493
Posts: 46
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Wow, Andrew, I love your artistic style. Forming a collective/group in southern Virginia would be great, perhaps on my 200+ acres? I Have Land. Do YOU have the ability to put ideas into practice? Let me know. The biggest problem is the land. I have that. From there, ..... Calling on people who will actually take the initiative to bring forth an idea into actuality. Because we all need help, we should help one another.
Alex Michaud
Posts: 18
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Well, the ideas that I have are not something I can put into practice on my own. Regardless, I don't think that I'm at a point right now where I'm ready to just go and try to create a physical location for a community. At least the first half of what I described was supposed to be about finding people and developing relationships between those people, while working on creative projects that don't require all the individuals to be in the same location. There's plenty more that I intend to learn during that time which would be used in the process of creating a physical location for a community (and some health issues that I'm trying to deal with before starting such an intensive phase of this kind of project). But I do think that if I were involved in a group of people with whom I work well and have compatible goals, then I'd certainly have the ability to be part of putting such ideas into practice. That's not to say there aren't things that I'm already working on individually which relate to laying the foundation for application of such ideas though. I would have to say that it seems to me the biggest 'problem' is finding a group of people. That is the aspect of this that I'm most interested in at this point, the rest of the content of this post was intended to give other people some idea of what my ideas and goals are so that they may be able to gauge their interest in interacting with me. There are of course many other factors that cannot be presented in one thread posting on a forum, and I guess that's what this follow up interaction is trying to uncover. Anyway, I guess whether finding other people to be involved with or finding land to develop is more influential is largely a matter of how much the person in question relates to others. Which does definitely explain why the former is the more influential consideration for me, it seems...
Oh, sure, you could do that. Or you could eat some pie. While reading this tiny ad:
Greenhouse of the Future ebook - now free for a while
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