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George Lafayette

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since Jun 05, 2011
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Working in and around high tech since the 1980s, I've found that group living offers the highest quality of life. Lived for twenty years in one of America's longest lived secular communities.
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Port Townsend, WA
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Recent posts by George Lafayette

Tyler Ludens wrote:

AlchemistGeorge wrote:
the group I live in has been using consensus for 42 years

An intentional community lasting 42 years should get more well-known, as some people don't believe there are any successful examples of intentional communities except maybe the Amish. 

This year [2022] they are 54 years old.

Dian Hong wrote:
Very cool!  Just looked up the one no vote:  Had never heard of it before.  Do you know if its use is widespread?  Just curious whether it relies on everyone being well-intentioned, or if the power it gives each person makes folks take their vote very seriously.

Is it widespread? Perhaps around the SF Bay area. The Lafayette Morehouse people have been teaching classes about communal living for over 50 years now.
The One No Vote is different from many other consensus systems in that it is not required for everyone to agree, it is that no one person strenuously, strongly, disagrees. Usually what happens when you have a proposal is that you walk it around the group - you talk to different people, figure out who the people are who have the strongest opinions about that topic, see what they think.  There is lots and lots of talking, and very little voting.
It took a long time for the group to learn how to do it gracefully, and people are encouraged to look to see if there is anything in a new proposal that they could say 'yes' to.
Depending on who you talk to, something like three 'no votes' have been cast in the group's 50+ year history. If you have a proposal, and people don't like it, what is the point of trying to force it through?
We are looking to create an earth based community for BIPOC folks on the Olympic peninsula of Washington state [Clallum county, Jefferson County, etc.] Are you still looking?

Katey Rissi wrote:

Also, as I'm new here, do let me know if this would be better in a different corner of the forum universe, or if there are other sites that would be good to post on (we already did FIC).


You might investigate the Northwest Intentional Communities Association - I think their focus is on the Cascadia Bioregion - Oregon, Washington, British Columbia.
2 years ago

Katey Rissi wrote:Hi folks - we have a space open again and are looking for a new person to join our community. Maybe it's you! If interested, reach out!

Hi Katey, can you say anything about the demographics and diversity of your group? Ethnicities, sexual orientations? Thanks.
2 years ago
You might check at the North West Intentional Communities Association - NICA, as well as at which has a national database.
2 years ago
I've lived in a couple of intentional communities, I've been living with the same group now for about 18 years. I think living communally can be by far the best way to live.   The good stuff runs the gamut from the kind of Halloween party you can throw with 25 people helping to having people who can drive you to doctor's appointments, walk your dog when you are out of town, help you with your relationships, teach you to cook or fix a car.

Starting a new community is very hard.  There are a few long lived secular groups around - I suggest you look at them carefully and see what it is about them that has allowed them to flourish.  Our community will celebrate its 51rst anniversary tomorrow.  

I'd heartily second the recommendation of Diana Leafe Christian's book because most new communities fail in the first five years. There are very real legal, organizational, and financial challenges, and Diana's book will guide you there. Another major cause of failure is that people can be hard to get along with. If you don't develop far better than average skills at interpersonal relationships, the group will likely fail. While there are clearly a few people who are the wrong people to have in your community, you can only live with the ones who are willing to live with you. If you know what you are doing, you can in fact do it with most people. We tell our students "if we can do it, anyone can."   You will read a lot about the search for 'the right people,' that works as well as it does.

Your requirements seem reasonable to me.  I don't understand about the acreage, but, if that's what you want, sure.  Why that is important to you? If you are planning to make a living off working five acres I hope you are very enthusiastic about a large quantity of hard work. As far as I know, very few communities (if any) support themselves completely by working the land.

4 years ago

al aric wrote:I live in Northern Cal.  I'm wondering if there are any groups, community events for us or...?  Just wondering. is definitely the place to start.

FWIW there is the Oakland Morehouse in Oakland and the Lafayette Morehouse in Lafayette, CA.
4 years ago

mark best wrote:I was wondering how people found/researched the community they are currently living in?

I was living in Boston, having some troubles in my marriage, and my sister-in-law told me to go to New York to take a class about having better relationships. Turned out the people giving the class were from an intentional community in California, and they were presenting the results of their on-going experiments in living together pleasurably.

I had no idea what an intentional community was, but the course material was good, and I took a some of their classes in New York and Boston over the next few years.

When I moved to California I went and visited them. They are on an edge of the San Francisco Bay area, about 15 miles from where I lived.  I kept in touch with the group, and five years later I moved in. I've lived with the group for about 15 years now, and have learned enough that I can teach some of the classes.
5 years ago
If you haven't already, I suggest you read Diane Leafe Christian's book Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities. It covers lots of the 'nuts & bolts' issues like liability, agreements, contracts, zoning.
5 years ago