Should We Form an Intentional Community or Join One?
We would love to have a community on our current property. Most of the land would be shared and owned by the collective members of the community in a trust (or however it’s usually done). But looking at the processes involved in starting one, and in maintaining the books, accounts, etc… it makes me a little nervous. I’m trying to get away from bureaucracy, not have more of it in my life. If we met the right couple of founding members who enjoy doing that sort of thing perhaps we could make it work. Otherwise…
We could offer a 99-year lease on some of the land, or sell off a piece of it to the right people to form more of an intentional neighborhood with perhaps some piece set aside for shared use.
Or we could try to join an existing intentional community that makes a good fit for us and vice versa. I might go check out EarthHaven again soon, and have been learning more about a local community called Abundant Dawn. They seem to have a pretty good balance between Autonomy and Community, which are both equally important to us.
Five years ago if you’d asked me if I would ever consider living in a “commune” I would have said “No Freaking Way!” I don’t like people getting into my personal business, like what color I can paint my house or what kind of food I can raise. And I don’t like income-sharing schemes. I don’t like drama either. So yea – no way.
But then again I hadn’t really been around intentional communities much, and I had only a very immature understanding of them as being like an HOA from hell. Fortunately, that isn’t the case at all with most communities that I have since come in contact with. They come in all shapes and sizes. You can read about some of them here.
I also have learned the hard way that this “simple life” is very – VERY – difficult to do on your own if you have a mortgage and a young child. I thought I knew how difficult it would be, but really I had no idea. What you need is a community to help share the labor and projects (and for “community” and friendship). It’s easier to raise a dozen chickens and get your pork from a neighbor in exchange for eggs than it is to raise six chickens and a pig. Likewise with dairy products and even various fruits, nuts and grains. Can you be an organic gardener; an orchardist; carpenter; veterinarian; farm hand; spouse; parent; employee; forester; hunter; farmer; domestic engineer; book-keeper… all at the same time? If not, think twice before moving to a big property and “going back to the land” unless you are doing it debt-free and/or with other people. I’m not saying it can’t be done. If everyone involved is gung-ho about it and you work really hard it can be done, as I’ve seen people do it. But we’ve decided that it would be better for us to have other people around – good people. People we can learn from and with whom we can get along for what could very well be the rest of our lives.
So that’s where we’re at. We can’t do it alone, but I am still very much passionate about this way of life and we will find a way to make it work. We “think” that way has to do with building or joining a community that fits our needs, preferences and personality types. The question is: Do we do it here or somewhere else?
With that in mind, I think I will be attending the Twin Oaks Communities Conference this Labor Day to see what it’s all about and to educate myself on options.
Here is a question for our readers: Would you consider joining or forming an intentional community? And, if so, what kind of community would you be looking for?