Sustainable Living Communities - What works and what doesn't : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Where can one learn about the successes and failures in recent communities whose goal has been to live gently upon the earth, act as a living laboratory, and education center?

-- Anonymous, April 02, 2001


That sounds like a good one to me also Chris. All sorts of ideas float through my mind but I sure wish there was one that had been around for a while that I could visit.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

There is a web site called "Intentional Communites" that lists the current communities and what they are all about, don't know about the success and failure of ones that have gone by the wayside. "The Farm" in Summertown, TN has been around for close to 30 years and have gone from commune to a shared but "own a piece of" type thing. I was there for a few weeks in the late 70's when it was still a commune. They have an eco type education center and they strive to live lightly on this blessed mother earth. Good luck on your quest.

Blessings, Judy

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

It is sad that most folks consider "The Farm" a hippie movement yet... and they are well beyond that...

that web site for Intentional Communities is [url] [/url]

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

I sure wish New Alchemy Institute was still around. I had always planned on going there but never got around to it. :-(

What about the Findhorn Community - are they still around?

Then there's Gaviotas... Anybody read the book: Gaviotas : A Village to Reinvent the World?

I did a little searching for Gaviotas on Google but didn't find a web site for them.

Anyone know if they're on the web?

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

Jim, if they are still around they would most likely be listed on the Intentional Community site.


-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

I think that Findhorn is still around, but that they are more of an educational organization than an intentional community. They did have a website last time I checked, but it's been a while. Speaking of Findhorn, perhaps another interesting topic of discussion would be working with "nature intelligences". I had an interesting experience last summer during a medicinal herbalism course.

I have one friend who was part of an intentional community, and a couple others who are in various stages of trying to start one. They all seem to agree that one of the critical make-or-break points is when the group decides to expand from it's initial core of founders and add new members. Unless you get the correct mix of people, the newbies just want to rest on the efforts of the elders, the elders get burned out because they're doing all the work (or else they have control issues that prevent them from letting anyone else do the work), and the whole thing just goes kerflooey.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

The intentional communities link was exactly the sort of info I was looking for. Thanks and I'm glad to have met all of you.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

Hey Yarrow, what wrong with being a hippie? I still consider it a compliment!

We have 330 acres and have often talked about how neat it would be to bring cool people onto our land. We'd love to build a spiritual/educational retreat with a connection to the farm, bring in teachers for all kinds of topics, hold seminars, camp-outs, drumming circles, and just give city folks an opportunity to spend some time in the country, and to have some contact with sustainable agriculture. Maybe someday.....

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2001

Earthmamma... nothing what so ever is wrong with hippies... my partner is such a person... I just wish I had as long of hair as he does... tee hee...

Yes, I heard the same of Findhorn.... it is sad that its' original intent is getting altered... but maybe that was its course...

I would be interested in communities of spiritual intent... earth healing and etc... been looking for land or communities for some time... no success ... or nothing makes us... yet... I'm hopeful??!!!

It would be fun to share what experiences folks have had with intentional communities...

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

Yarrow: I'm headed to a meeting this weekend meeting with a group of folks who are birthing a Quaker based intention community with the goals stated in the introductory post to this thread. I was born and raised on farm, moved away, got "educated," and am currently working in Corporate America. I would like to bring some of the good things of CA to the community and leave the bad things behind. Lots of stuff I could go into, but probably better left to another thread. I'll let you know how it goes.

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

I'm a long time communitarian wannabe. The communities magazine is like a christmas catalog for me. All these community fantasies dance in my head. I visited "the farm" in tennessee in the 70's and 2 years ago I lived not far from there and stopped in a few times. Then there was Sandhill in Missouri which is a member of the F E C. My first actual experience was with 2 of my best friends. We bought 11 acres on a lake in Wisconsin with the idea of sharing and mutual support.Like most things that had it's ups and downs. The thing I remember most is that things we had in common were shared as always, but in addition, the things which we didn't see eye to eye on were shared because of out close proximity to each other and there began the rub. One of us was a dealer in alternative energy products and I began as a very strong supporter of that but as it turned out when the sun didn't shine I was listening to a very noisy wind machine or a generator incessantly running. As it turned out, he spent more on fuel for the generator than my entire electric bill. I like living beyond the sidewalks and one of the primary reasons is quiet. If there is going to be noise ,let it be nature i'm listening to. After all that I guess my point is that common sense is very important to me. I also realize that common sense is a very individual perception, and that perception , like truth , changes in time. It's hard enough to coordinate our personal evolution with a partner yet alone a larger community I also lived in Ponderosa Village in Washington state. It was a community of independently owned homesites but some things such as the water system, roads, etc. were somewhat of a community affair. Here I learned that most everyone has an agenda and when others thwart that agenda, look out. I witnessed physical altercations and threats. Phwewww. Life's too short. The most succesful community which I have had any contact with was a Yoga ashram in northern Wisc. It seemed to me when the agenda was that of some higher power and people were willing to submit themselves to that, it seemed to elevate things over most personal squabbles. Good vibes there. Not my cup of tea but worked well for them. I don't mean to be totally negative about community. We made many good friendships in those situations, and would not trade those experiences. To me, community is a great laboratory to aid in our personal evolution, if only for a time. If there is a shortcoming, I believe it is mine in that i'm not really a group think type of person. I'm reminded 'don't be discouraged by your mistakes. Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement'. peace jz

-- Anonymous, April 04, 2001

Chris, please share about your visit when you return. If you don't want to share the spiritual details here, please e-mail me. My people have deep Quaker roots, but no one practicing in my family now.Hope you have a wonderful meeting.

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

oops, that was diane not goats!!! Had goats on my mind. jz, my only positive experience with community living was also a spiritual community. I was at a Buddhist community for three months. Works well if there is a higher purpose and those involved don't lose focus. I think our humaness seems to get in the way big time. One man's flower is another man's weed.

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

Diane, if you want to call yourself "goats" on this forum, we don't mind!

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

Joy, my kids all tease me about being more goat than human, perhaps it fits more than I think???

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2001

A friend of mine and her husband went to Findhorn two years ago and absolutely loved it. These friends are friends because of our spiritual beliefs and we get together every Tuesday with about twenty others who believe in treading lightly on the earth, accepting others as they are whatever their spritual beliefs and pursuing our spiritual paths whatever they may be. This couple said they absolutely loved Findhorn. It was a community that got along very well, had a love for the Earth and had a spiritual outlook akin to ours. Bess saw it as a very successful and loving community. As others have said, it appears that those that are spritually based seem to have the most success. Perhaps it is because they typically are focused on a higher purpose and don't let the mundane things of life get to them.

Anyway, my life's goal has been to start a spiritual community where people could live in their own individual houses and then have communal buildings where things are done together such as greenhouse, dining facility and kitchen, meeting area, meditation area, etc., etc. My idea is to have each person do the work that interests them and each month the work gets reviewed and jobs change as people wish to. The community would have its own childcare area and eldercare area and those that like to work with either can work in those jobs. Those that like to tend livestock or garden or whatever would do those jobs. Some people would continue to do the same things all of the time because they choose to and because they are best suited but others would rotate through various jobs either to learn or because they choose the variety.

In addition, there would be another facility on the property where a business would be run which would be the running of various seminars such as weekend or week-long on various topics to help people on their spiritual path. They would come on retreat and enjoy the interaction with the people that live there and engage in meditation and other spirtitual pursuits as well as participate in structured workshops as they chose.

I guess we can all dream and hopefully, someday, I will accomplish mine.

Good luck Chris on finding your community as well.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2001

came across your chat by chance and wanted to find out if it really is possible to find a place to live sustainably in a community -- we're a young family: my wife and I are ex-dancers and are now a recently graduated graphic designer and a freelance tv producer/director and writer respectively. since the birth of our son 16 months ago we've become more serious about turning our backs on the urban rat race -- we're interested in spirituality (in some form??) and living organically and sustainably but it's tricky to know where to start -- can it be done? in addition we'd like to move away from the UK -- it's too polluted, monocultural, cold and depressing here -- ideally we'd like somewhere clean, green and warm. any suggestions or advice would be greatly, greatly appre

-- Anonymous, May 14, 2001

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