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.
Bremerton, WA
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Recent posts by George Lafayette

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?
1 month ago

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.
10 months 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.
10 months ago
You might check at the North West Intentional Communities Association - NICA, as well as at which has a national database.
10 months 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.

2 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.
2 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.
3 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.
3 years ago

Deb Stephens wrote:Thanks for all this information George. I am curious about what happened when you tried packing people tighter as well as what the pros and cons of the adjacent and non-adjacent properties may be. Would you mind elaborating on those? Thanks!

Generally having people share rooms worked out fine. Over time some percentage of people couple up or decouple so for those people there is a certain amount of room changing that goes on over time. One thing that seems unique about our group is that a very high percentage of people's "ex" or "former" partners/spouses stay within the group and remain friends.

As for distance, the greater the distance, the more the groups become separate and the slower the communication. The Oakland Morehouse is about twelve miles from here and someone visits from one to the other almost every day, but even so it can sometimes feel like a different world.
3 years ago
Our community experienced huge growth from 1968 until sometime the early 1980s. It began initially by purchasing a three story multi-family house in downtown Oakland, CA on January 1, 1968, then purchased other houses in the same Oakland neighborhood.  About four years later the group purchased a house in a rural town about 20 miles away. The rural group was fortunate in that it was able to, over the next ten years or so, purchase four of the adjacent houses and some adjacent acreage.  Later the group purchased two adjacent houses in Hawaii.

The adjacent rural houses exist today as a single 23-acre community, The original urban multifamily house is another group, The Hawaii Morehouse doesn't have a website.  Legally these are separate entities, but in practice, the groups behave as a family.

Deb Stephens wrote: <snip> ... are there any successful intentional communities that have the problem of too many members for the size of their land and community goals? <snip> , but I never see these ICs telling people they're all filled up and not to apply. If it does happen, what do you do? Wait for someone to die? Ask your least favorite members to leave so you can get others you like better? Expand the land base? What is your strategy?

We've tried most of the above except telling people to go away.  We've packed more people in per room - fewer single rooms - we've bought new properties both adjacent and non-adjacent, and some people have gone on to start their own groups.

Deb Stephens wrote: <snip>  I am especially interested in the possibility of an IC expanding its property to accommodate new members. What do you do if there is no land nearby for sale? Have you considered splinter groups or more properly, a kind of annex or sister site that works with the original community but is separate from it physically?

As mentioned above, we've expanded both adjacent and non-adjacent.   There are pros & cons to each.
3 years ago