Paul Wheaton said that his podcast about community located here:
may be the most important podcast of all time. I agree.
The methods for using permaculture to care for the land are well known by a lot of people, but most intentional communities still don't work.
In this podcast, Paul mentioned what I will call the dishtowel problem where his long term house guests would keep
using dishtowels as rags and ruin them. This drove Paul nuts and I can understand why.
But the dishtowel problem and a thousand others like it are solved every day by fraternities and sororities across America.
No one hears about fraternities being dissolved because people couldn't get along. People living in fraternities usually do get along and they are usually very happy with fraternity life.
So what do fraternities and sororities know about community living that Paul doesn't? Primarily it's two things.
1. They know that to make artificial families (like communities) stick together you have to have a difficult and uncomfortable initiation. It won't work without it, sorry.
2. They also know how to deal with people who continue to break the rules after being reminded. They do this by having an enforcer whose job it is to deal with these people and he does it gently but firmly.
One time someone was not following the rules at his fraternity, so the enforcer disassembled the rule breakers heavy wooden bed and moved it to the attic. The interaction went something like this.
Rule Breaker: "Where's my bed?"
Enforcer: "I moved it to the attic."
Rule Breaker: "Why?"
Enforcer: "To remind you that we have a rule about using dish towels only to dry dishes, not as rags."
Rule Breaker: "Will you help me move my bed back to my room?"
Enforcer: "No, you can either sleep in the attic, or move it back to your room by yourself."
I think that Paul should invite 3 senior fraternity brothers and 3 senior sorority sisters for a week or two to Wheaton Labs to teach him how to run safe and effective initiations and how to have an enforcer who gently and effectively brings people back into line.
Naturally Paul should find people who are interested in Permaculture, but that should be easy.
I guarantee you that the senior fraternity brothers and sorority sisters will be good house guests, because they have had a lot of practice with effective community living and they know how to follow the house rules.