I’ve read a lot on intentional communities, and I really would love to be a part of one. Unfortunately, there isn’t one that I would fit into here in Michigan. Especially with my atheist background. Since we don’t really want to move out of state yet again, we’ve been tossing the idea around about starting our own little planned community. More importantly, we would like to shape it around the same ideals that many current evovillages hold. So, it’s time for some definitions.
An intentional community is a planned residential community designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and are often part of the alternative society. They typically also share responsibilities and resources. The purposes of intentional communities vary. They may include sharing resources, creating family-oriented neighborhoods, and living ecologically sustainable lifestyles.
Ecovillages are intended to be socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable intentional communities. Ecovillage members are united by shared ecological, social-economic and cultural-spiritual values. An ecovillage is often composed of people who have chosen an alternative to centralized electrical, water, and sewage systems. Many see the breakdown of traditional forms of community, wasteful consumerist lifestyles, the destruction of natural habitat, urban sprawl, factory farming, and over-reliance on fossil fuels, as trends that must be changed to avert ecological disaster. They see small-scale communities with minimal ecological impact as an alternative.
That is a lot to take in, but basically I’d like to be part of a small, select group of people who move onto either one large, shared tract of land or adjoining smaller plots of land. I’d like to know who my neighbors are, share resources, help one another out, help to create a safe and stimulating community for our children, and be part of a move to a more sustainable way of living. I have moved a lot in my short life. I know all the ups and downs of not being able to choose your neighbors. I have experienced the good and the bad, the awesome and the despicable. And I’m sick of it. It’s just such a crapshoot. Even the idea of getting to choose my neighbors makes me giddy. What if I could find other atheists/agnostics/naturalists, etc who wanted to live this same lifestyle? What if we all got together and were able to share our knowledge, time, strength, supplies, and goals?
It would be awesome, in my humble opinion. 🙂 And since I have thought of this for so long, I have a short list of things that I would love to have in a potential neighbor. If anyone of the handful of people who visit this blog meet the qualifications on this list, I beg you to give the idea some thought and contact me somehow. This has the potential to be something truly spectacular if the right people are involved.
- Person must be an atheist, agnostic, skeptic, humanitarian, naturalist, or some other form of non-believer.
- Person must be debt-free or nearly there, have an income, and able to contribute an equal share for purchase, development, and improvement of the land.
- Person must be interested in attaining a somewhat self-sufficient way of life. This would include an interest in at least one of these areas: gardening, raising livestock, running a business, marketing, permaculture, building/construction, ironworking, woodworking, masonry, and anything else relative to the homesteading lifestyle.
- Person must be friendly, honest, hard-working, and dedicated. This type of lifestyle is not for the faint at heart, and requires a lot of sacrifice and diligence.
Pretty short list, and I’m sure there are many people out there who qualify. It’s just really hard to locate that needle in the haystack. I’ve met lots of fine people who possess one or more of those attributes, but have yet to find someone who meets them all. Of course, my husband and I will still go on with our venture even if we don’t find anyone else who is interested in the same thing, but it would be so much fun if we could share this experience with other people. Not only that, but sharing goes a long way. How, you may ask? Well think of it this way. If four separate families tried homesteading all on their own with no outside help, all four would need to purchase the land for higher $/acre, buy their own equipment and supplies, hire out help to get the house built, till all of their own soil, work all of their own gardens, harvest the crops all on their own, etc. But if four families got together, one tractor would probably be enough. One set of implements. One truck for hauling. One woodworking shop. One forge. One of many different things would be all they would need, because duplicates would only waste money and time. The workload would be smaller, too. More hands makes for a much quicker day. Have you ever tried canning salsa all by yourself? Imagine how efficient it would be with four people canning the salsa: one to chop peppers and onions, one to peel and chop tomatoes, one to measure out ingredients and cook down, and one to process in the water bath. You’d have more salsa in less time because you could have an assembly line going that would speed everything up.
Ok, so it’s just a dream I dream a little here and there. But it could be a reality. If only we could find the right people…