Thursday, January 29, 2009

Revisiting an Old Post

One of my first posts touched on some areas about which I have been talking lately, here and on other sites. I had begun to talk about my idea for a specific type of intentional community. I cannot claim that it is an entirely new idea, but I think my particular vision is a combination of and extrapolation from some currently operating entities. I would really like some feedback or to speak to people who might be interested in helping to develop the idea, so I ask that those of you lovely people who pop by fairly regularly have a read and let it roll around your head for awhile.

Reading it again, I realize that I got off the originally intended topic a bit and didn't really get into the meat of what I envision. I will try to get into that a bit more in subsequent writing.

However, reading it again I see that several issues that I (and many others) saw coming, are now...just months later...manifesting themselves. I believe this makes the intentional community an ever more viable ideal.

Also, I should note that it will likely form, if at all, on a different plot of land than I intended when originally writing the post. This other plot of land is smaller, but prettier and presenting some different opportunities that I will try to get into.


MoonRaven said...

I'm sorry I haven't responded to this sooner. My life is on overdrive with good and bad things.

A few thoughts. First of all, I'm a city slicker. I've lived in somewhat rural areas at several points in my life (most recently in Vermont a little over a year ago) but somehow I always return to the city. I can see your points about the importance of agrarian living--but I also see the need for some work in the metropolitan 'belly of the beast'. Yes, "an agrarian lifestyle instills a deeper connection with nature than urban living" but there are also advantages to urban living, in terms of a greater variety of people to connect with, more people to educate, and much better public transportation.

That said, I think you have lots of nice ideas. I checked out the Hockerton Housing Project site and did the 'guided tour'--it has a well-designed layout and something set up like that would be good indeed. I also think your ideas about an income project, such as hemp manufacturing, would also be useful. I suggest that you check out the history of the Twin Oaks community in Virginia (if you can get a hold of the book "Is It Utopia Yet" by Kat Kinkade, it has all sorts of useful detail about what has worked and hasn't for the TO community) which has done everything from tofu making to hammock weaving.

Unfortunately, having put together one community and failed at another, and now beginning yet another slow interweaving that may or may not lead to community, I can tell you that all the best ideas in the world (and even lots of great land) will not make community. The magic ingredient in community is... people. I've built some amazingly successful communities in my head, but I would trade them all for one messy, highly imperfect flesh-and-blood community with people. I will hope that you find some people who want to do it with you. Unfortunately, I am on the other side of the continental divide (not to mention the 49th parallel) and committed to building community here--and, as I mentioned, urban community at that--some of your ideas don't seem that far from mine.

Still, I wish you the best with this. The ideas seem good. I'd be interested in learning what your new ideas and opportunities are.

SoapBoxTech said...

Thanks for the thoughtful response, Moonraven.

I agree with you completely. People are the most important part of the equation. I also feel that these communities can be rural or urban. I believe strongly that one can live an agrarian lifestyle (part or full time) even in a large city. I should have been more careful in wording.

Personally, I have lived in both settings as well and I am increasingly uncomfortable in urban centres for longer than a visit. Having said that, the location here is somewhat of a mix of urban and rural. My parents farm is 2 miles from a hamlet which is connected to a city of nearly 50,000 which is the centre of this part of the province (around 250,000).

My biggest concern about cities is that in the very near future, I truly believe most cities are going to be death traps. Even being near a city may be very dangerous when the mobs get hungry enough.

I appreciate the suggestion to look into Twin Oaks. I have not read Kats books but I have read several interviews with her and spent a lot of time at their website. I think I even sent them an email (it may have been a different but similar community that) some time back, suggesting that they look into the Jean Pain compost method of producing biogas and hot water, but I never heard back.

Thanks again!

Amber said...

Not sure if I've mentioned this one before, but The Citizen's Handbook is a great resource.
I love the idea of an intentional community, although where I'm at in the world and my life right now doesn't really lend itself to community living at this time.
But I'm excited to hear that you're thinking along these lines.
I'm not sure how helpful I can be from Ontario a.k.a 'the centre of the universe' ;), but I'd be happy to share more ideas and resources!