My basic vision is a piece of land about 100 to 200 acres, used for the development, research and example of sustainable lifestyles. I can see a cluster of alternatively built homes to maintain as much of the natural environment as possible. A cluster of structures will have a lot of privacy but will also means cluster of infrastructure which will help with energy and resource conservation while creating a sense of community. I believe that our structures need to be low profile as to maintain the natural beauty of our beautiful rolling Vermont landscape. I see farming enough land to provide most of our own food as well as contributing to the local food network. (Keep in mind, once the ball is rolling, the valuable posibility of teaching children farming/gardening/permaculture techniques and even taking in a few international interns. One of our more fringe members Hailey it working in PA is working to write grants for similar non-profit goals.) We will use a diversity of renewable resources for our energy (seeing as none of us really feel the need to reject technology all together) and hope to some day provide our nieghbors with it.
Potential population for our community will be up for decision or adaptation, as will everything in time.
(Our common vision should be something that guides us, it is something we should hold ourselves accountable to, a journey not a destination.) A beautiful mission statement can be found here on the Cobb Hill community website. They are the basic universal principals that my group holds dear. Reading mission statements from other communities will help to strengthen and inspire our own ever changing mission statement. Which should be one of the next steps for both of us no matter what our situation is.
We are meeting weekly as a community and more often as smaller groups, soon to be committees. We have around 10-15 members of our community. All are at different levels of involvement from those that are finishing their degree's (and are therefore focused on school first, yet some of them are completing degree programs in applicable fields,) to those that want to contribute to this community but may not be able to live their, to people that have various quantities of capital and want to be a part of the entire process (like myself,) to people who may not have large amounts of capital but are willing and enthusiastic about getting their hands dirty and putting the labor hours in. A goal is to develop a structure that integrates (rather then segregates) these various groups into a functional whole; one in which individuals have equity while the whole is greater then the sum of its parts.
As a community we discuss our ever evolving vision (principal) and mission statements both individually and as a group. We discuss "non-violent" communication techniques, non-authoritarian decision making techniques (consensus) and the meaning of "community" itself, as these things will be an evolving part of the process the entire time.
Through meetings and e-mails we share each-others research about:
- Eco-villages/communities around the globe in order not to reinvent the wheel.
- examples of communities that we have gathered info and statistics about. We need to compile by-laws and legal paperwork templates from them soon.
- Permaculture (which is fairly all-encompassing)
- straw bale
- earth bag
- alternative energy
- veggie oil and bio diesel
- rain water catchment
- bio-dynamics and farming
- alternative waste disposal/recycling
- grey water
- four season grey water techniques
- black water systems
- composting toilets
- natural synergy
- design techniques learned through observation of biotic and abiotic.
- consensus (us synergizing with one another)
- Ideas for non-profit
- kids farming opportunity
- tours and public outreach
- international internship/scholarship opportunities
- earth care
- sustainability research
- Financial and Legal structures
- Searching for the best way to giving proper equity to all members.
- likely scenario - two incorporated companies: non-profit farm/educational corporation (community owned and operated) and a equitable shares holding Owner/developer Corporation used to buy and develop land.
Just one idea.
- We feel that creating Permaculture on our current properties is a way to get the project rolling and to be a part of the Vermont community. So this summer, while the land development committee is in full swing we plan to use:
- 10 acres of land ready to be mapped, designed, worked and sown.
- A 6 bedroom house on the outskirts of Burlington, VT ready for:
- hub of an urban permaculture and outreach
- communal living/sharing
- arts and music
- alternative energy
- urban farming
- alternative waste disposal
- part of our community network, housing
- workers/ interns
- community members with jobs in town