I have a dream! To live, in a fun and nurturing eco-agro neighborhood! It’s a dream I have been pushing away for the past decade on the basis that it is not realistic…. but the vision just won’t go away. Throughout our travels over the past 2 years, I have not yet found a place like this. And so… and so the possibility I see emerging is that I am called to take the lead on such a project and use my creativity and enthusiasm to make this happen.
I wanted to share my vision with you. At the same time, I wanted to take this as an opportunity to demonstrate the O.P.A. framework I have discussed in past blog posts.
So here it goes!
Outcome: This is the ‘WHAT’ towards which I seek to focus my energy going forward.
- I live in a neighborhood of 8 houses arranged in a hexagon according to the cardinal directions, each house 100 feet from the next. 30 acres of farmland and 20 acres forest surrounds the living space with enough farmland for everyone to have individually or collectively farm should they wish;
- Each resident would hold tenure over their residential lot, presumably they would own the lot;
- The farmland would be placed in a land trust whose role is to issue long-term leases (20-100 yrs) to farmers seeking to farm the land organically;
- 10-15 minutes drive from the center of a small dynamic college town;
- 8 awesome households, at least 5 households with children and at least 2 older couples;
- Cohabitating and participating in the organic development of community through the interconnected nature of cohabitation
- In the center of the hexagon is the common area where children play in the mud, where we gather for potlucks and fires, where yoga, dance, and play occurs, where chickens live, and where we share a common space;
- A road circles the outside of the houses, connecting them to the common parking lot and at the same time providing access to the farms.
When we lived on the farm in Dunham, there were tons of cool friendly organic farming within a 15-20 minute drive of the farm… but we rarely saw them. The people we ended up developing the most profound connection to were our neighbors across the road; a couple of conventional sheep farmers in their 60’s who drank Pepsi and had a huge open heart and mind. These are not the types of people you would expect us to develop community with, but by the nature of our proximity, this is what happened. the sense of community developed organically thanks to the interconnectedness of mutual support, of trading equipment, of helping each other fix stuff, of slaughtering our chickens together led to a deep and meaningful friendship. This is why I propose to launch an ‘unintentional’ community rather than an ‘intentional’ community. We don’t have to all be the same and have the same values; all we need is an open heart and mind and the interconnectedness of cohabitation will cause community to arise organically.
I envision an initial eight household node, but this project could evolve to also include two and even three nodes of 8 households. I envision neighborhoods where at least 50% of the households have one or more member of the family operating a commercial farm.
Purpose: This is the ‘WHY’ that informs what I want to create.
- To innovate what it means to live on a farm;
- To live in the countryside and to have access to farmland, while at the same time benefiting from living in a neighborhood;
- To be able to spontaneously engage in social activity without having to drive somewhere;
- To provide a space where my children can grow up safely, be exposed to a diversity of people, where my kids can just run out and play with the neighboring children and I know they are safe and that everyone more or less has an eye on them;
- To be able to farm without being isolated. To be able to cooperate with neighboring farms as we see fit;
- To propose a new model of development in contrast to the current model of housing development that destroy and exclude nature and agriculture;
- To mimic the rural and semi-rural villages of Switzerland where agriculture and housing co-exist in the same space.
Action: This is the ‘HOW’ of what I seek to create.
A list of actions to bring this vision into reality`. Not necessarily in chronological order nor in order of priority:
- Form a core team of 3 people to take the lead on this project;
- Research and implement optimal legal structure;
- Secure funding to acquire land and implement the necessary infrastructure needs;
- Locate and buy a property for the project;
- Enroll residents in the vision and sell them residential sites;
- Sign long-term rent agreements with those desiring to farm;
- Have fun;
- Seek advice and support from people with pertinent knowledge.
- real estate lawyers
- housing developers
- successful co-housing and intentional community projects
- visit similar projects
Are you with me!? 🙂
Do you have any suggestions or insights into such a project?
What vision is calling YOU that you may have been putting off for quite some time?