self-sustaining community/ecovillage - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 79 Old 10-05-2006, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone know of an eco-village or community in the north east that is completely self-sufficient? Like the members work around the community but don't have wage-earning jobs? everything is produced within the village? I love the idea of the amish lifestyle but don't have the same religous beliefs? Are there villages out there that are similar but non-religous? Are there any waldorf intentional communities on the east coast? how would I start a village like this? thanks
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#2 of 79 Old 10-05-2006, 01:21 PM
 
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I know of eco-village in Ithaca. They have a website, which you could probably find if you googled it. They are not as self-suficient as you describe; I think most people who live there have outside jobs. THey do have an organic garden, and they sell the produce at the local farmer's market.

There was also a group in Syracuse that was looking to start a community - about 10 years ago. I don't know if they were ever successful.

There is a whole network of eco-villages - don't know the generic term. I was looking them up on the web a few years ago.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#3 of 79 Old 10-05-2006, 07:05 PM
 
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Check out earthaven.org -it's an ecovillage near Asheville, NC..
Also http://www.twinoaks.org/ -it's an income-sharing ecovillage in Pennsylvania.

ooh.. I just noticed you said northeast....the only one I know of is the aforementioned Ithaca Ecovillage.. http://www.ecovillage.ithaca.ny.us/

~Stephanie )O(

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#4 of 79 Old 10-08-2006, 09:48 AM
 
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twin oaks is in virginia, near charlottesville.

cohousing is not income sharing. very few intentional communities are. earthhaven is not income sharing either.

acorn, which is near twin oaks is, but it's been a struggle to sustain it.

you need to check out the online intentional communities directory.

http://directory.ic.org/

all i can say is if i were looking to live again in a community, this time wth children, i would look for a place that has been stable (or as stable as ICs get) for some time. like 10 years or so. i would stay far away from a new community, as they so often fail after so many people put so much heart, soul, time and money into them.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#5 of 79 Old 10-09-2006, 05:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by honeybeedreams View Post
twin oaks is in virginia, near charlottesville.

ooops! Thanks for catching that.

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#6 of 79 Old 10-10-2006, 10:14 PM
 
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I don't think Agraria (near Yellow Springs, Ohio) is meant to be completely self-sufficient (nor am I sure it's beyond the planning stages yet), but it bills itself as, and I quote:
an innovative Low-energy Use, Small, Sustainable Community. The Low-energy Use designation comes from the knowledge that global oil production will peak soon, followed by natural gas, and ultimately by coal and uranium. Low-energy, in the context of this document, implies a goal of using one-fourth of the current average energy used per capita.1 Sustainable implies a community that can operate, to the extent possible, without inputs (particularly of fossil fuels) and outputs (such as trash and sewage), but also of other materials. Small is a designation based on the founding principles of our organization, Community Service, Inc., that states smallness itself is a value for positive social organization. And finally Community implies a way of living together and is also based on the principles of our organization which views a cooperative way of life to be preferable to current competitive ways of living.
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#7 of 79 Old 10-13-2006, 09:21 AM
 
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I'm looking for one too but in the southeast for me and my son. Why are the ones that are already set up so expensive?? It costs $400,000 plus to get a house in earthhaven! That's crazy... I would love somewhere where there is a very strong emphasis on community and self sustainability. I could probably make a living telecommuting and writing or could get a job part time just to save money for when my son is older and wants to leave. (if he wants to) This has become a dream of mine and I am asking my Higher Power to show me the best community for me and my child. I have grown so tired of living a lie trying to live the way society wants us to... what's the point of working when you hate your job? What's the point of making money just to see it go away everyday to stupid things? I want somewhere where my son and I can live in harmony with the earth, he won't be teased because his momma is a hippie and doesn't own a tv, and the simpler things in life are appreciated. Please, if anyone knows of such a place, let me know! Thanks!
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#8 of 79 Old 10-28-2006, 02:33 PM
 
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There is one in south Louisiana. Is that south east enough for you? It is in the planning phase. It is Living Journey Ecovillage and has a yahoo group. You can easily find it if you look for it.
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#9 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 05:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by solareyna View Post
It costs $400,000 plus to get a house in earthhaven!

What?? I'm sure it's possible that there is a house for sale there that is that expensive but I'm certain that you could get into that community for muuuch less than that.. It may involve some rustic living situations at first but it would be worth it to me if it meant a way into an intentional community that I wanted to be a part of. They also have rental opportunities for people who are in the process of getting their own place built or who want to try living in the community before making a commitment.
Here's a link to a break down of expenses- http://www.earthaven.org/what_it_costs.php

I've never been there myself but I have friends who have visited and investigated what would be required to move in there. If you did want to buy a house that's already built, there was one for sale as of a few months ago-not sure if it's still for sale- that was expensive as far as I'm concerned but still much cheaper than $400,000. Here's the ad for it..

Quote:
Details about A&A house for sale (from their for sale email)
The A&A House is a multi-family, 3-story dwelling with a total of 5600
square feet of living area. All interior walls can be eliminated or moved
to create a new floor plan on all three floors. At present, on the 1st
floor, there are 5 guest rooms, 1 large dormitory able to hold 6 bunk
beds, root cellar, dining room, 1 bathroom, and a large kitchen. On the
2nd floor, there are 3 bedrooms, office, tool room, living room, craft
room and 2 bathrooms. On the 3rd floor, the only divisions of rooms are
temporary plywood structures and can easily be eliminated. At present, the
Earthaven library is on this floor, but is slowly being moved to another
space. There are 60 linear feet of storage along the north wall with one
shelf above the floor, approximately 4 1/2 feet deep. A wall of doors was
planned for this space but at present the cabinets are all open. Above
this floor, there is a loft area good for storing large items.

House, 5600 sq. ft. X $40/sq. ft. $224,000.00
Site Lease Fee 16,000.00
Solar Panels 20,000.00
10,000 Gallon Cistern 12,000.00
Septic Tank, 40 ft. Cell Gray Water System 10,000.00
Tool Shed 3,000.00
Driveway and Parking Lot 2,000.00
Gardens, Fruit Trees & Berries, Rock Walls & Steps 4,000.00
6” Gutters w/Gutter Guards, and Roof Snow Guards 3,000.00
TOTAL VALUE $294,000.00

We are aware the inside of the house is not “aesthetically pleasing” and
allow a deduct of $30,000 to finish the walls, etc. leaving a TOTAL VALUE
OF $264,000.00
I know that Earthaven wants their community to grow and that they want to make it an available option to people of lower incomes so I'm sure they can be flexible when it comes to crafting a feasible way for such folks to join.

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#10 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 10:44 AM
 
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i agree, it's 10K to buy land at earth haven and then you can build whatever kind of house you want as long as it's green .

that house fr sale is 5600 sq. ft. that's like 5 times bigger than was a small family needs.

i'm guessing is was a communal home.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#11 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 11:52 AM
 
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hmmm, i'll have to go back and look. I think I have good prospects for community in Missouri so I might not need to keep searching, but I can't afford 10K for land either. Thanks though for replying...
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#12 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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you mean dancing rabbit and sandhill? those a great communities, but really COLD!! burrrrr...... and they are very different than earthhaven.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#13 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 07:48 PM
 
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I know a former Twin Oak resident... a really interesting idea, especially for a person with low/no financial assets. They are very well established and have lots of facillities for kids, as far as I know. I have only visited once, though, for the Women's festival.
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#14 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 08:17 PM
 
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i used to live there too sleeplessmommy!

how come you left? (sorry if this is too personal)

i found there were things i loved and things i hated about it.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#15 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 09:21 PM
 
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Unfortunately, Twin oaks isn't taking any new children at this point. I'm also not sure I like the "polyamorous" lifestyles of many of the members that I have heard about. Of course, that is all second hand information and I think I will visit just to get a better idea. Any views on any communities and advice about which are the best ones to raise children in would be greatly appreciated!
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#16 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 10:26 PM
 
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i think dancing rabbit and sandhill are great options if there are children there your children's ages. otherwise it's very isoalted.

there were plenty of things at TO that i thought were great and plenty that i didn't like, but i'm not sure it's where i would want my kids to grow up.

but really i don't know. i was a young single person when i was there.

have you looked into acorn? it's down the road from TO... i like it better, though it's resources are stretched much thinner and so i think it can be a tough place to live sometimes. but again, that was 10 years ago that i was there and so i might be clueless.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#17 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 10:35 PM
 
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Unfortunately, Twin oaks isn't taking any new children at this point.
Really? That's a major turn off for me. I saw on their website that they have 85 adults and 15 children..it doesn't seem like a lot of kids at all. I wonder why they are discriminating against families with children....:

And about the $10,000 to get into Earthaven..I don't think you would need to have it all at once. I think they can do financing.

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#18 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 10:46 PM
 
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it's not just the ratio of children to adults (which is in the bylaws, as to be able to support the children with a certain level of income), but also the ratio of adults to older adults. TO has an aging population, and the younger adults have to support them financially. TO has a very complicated organizational structure, becuase communes are hard to run fairly.... everyone has to work, everyone has to eat and all the community members need to be cared for, young or old.

if you are not feeling well, you just write on your time sheet "sick" and your hours are covered in full, in order to cover this in the community, there has to be a pool of adults who can work the 46 hours a week needed to do this.

technically, when you add and divide, each adult at TO has an annual income of less than $6000. so in order to be able to pay for private school (many of the kids attend private school), have extras for them at the community and care for them since they do not generate income, there is a ratio of adults to kids, and when i was there they were also trying to figure a ratio of under 60 to over 60.

it has nothing to do with descriminating, TO operates on feminist principles, it has to do with being able to afford things like school, food, clothes, books, good housing, extra medical care, etc for all the children that are there. (and the older adults too)

and don't you believe that website about 85 adults and 15 kids, it's said that for 10 years!! numbers change all the time there and no one updates the site... cause it would just be too big a PITA.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#19 of 79 Old 11-01-2006, 11:14 PM
 
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oooohhh...okay..I can see how that makes sense.. I guess I just had a knee jerk reaction.. Thanks for the explaination! Interesting stuff....

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#20 of 79 Old 11-02-2006, 10:48 AM
 
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Actually, I am looking at Dancing Rabbit and Sandhill. There are a couple kids there that are ds's ages, and they bus to public school so he can still get interaction though I might homeschool if the opportunity is there. Sandhill seems to me like a big friendly family farm and I can be a ranch-hand and that appeals to me. I grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska and I really enjoyed it. Dancing Rabbit really appeals to me for the great strides in ecological friendliness that they are making, and I am keeping an open mind about both of them for when I visit in the Spring. It seems so far away time wise and I am getting excited about going up there. I am tired of Florida, I miss the different types of scenery...
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#21 of 79 Old 11-02-2006, 04:09 PM
 
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That's exciting..I've been curious about both of those for awhile now. I hope you can report back to use how your visit goes in the spring.. I'd be very interested.

Has anyone seen Morgan Spurlock's cable t.v. show, 30 Days? There was one episode where some city folks went to live at Dancing Rabbit for 30 days and it was really interesting to me just because it gave me a glimpse of what they have going on there and a peek at some of the residents. (though you could tell that the majority of them preferred to remain off camera) The city people were kind of annoying but it was still fun to watch just because I was getting to see features of their community that I recognized from their website.. like the grain tower thingy (can you tell I'm not a farm girl ) that was turned into a guest house. It was neat.

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#22 of 79 Old 11-12-2006, 02:48 AM
 
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I guess the Rabbits are going into hiberation very soon. I sent a letter to them and hope to hear from them.

I too am (and have been) looking at Dancing Rabbit for along time. I would like to think that I could make that a reality. I worried about being able to make enough money in a remote place, and anyone who would be able to comment about this would be appreciated!!
I' m a doula and massage therapist, and I could make a pretty fine gardener or house builder! : )

I also have three kids, all 6 or over!

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#23 of 79 Old 11-12-2006, 01:46 PM
 
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joining in...

we are also looking for community, our heart home. We have been traveling around for several months now... visited Acorn this summer for about six weeks, went to Twin Oaks for the Communities Conference ... had our hearts set on visiting Sandhill, but they weren't interested in us because our kids are too young

It's been quite an adventure so far, we are temporarily holing up in Texas, need to make some money, work on the truck, etc. before hopefully heading out again come Summer time.

Feels so good to find others who are also looking for community!

We have been chatting with Tribe of Dirt regularly, and feel quite a connection, but oh my goodness, not sure if I could survive that far North (New Hampshire)
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#24 of 79 Old 11-12-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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I saw the 30 Days episode with Dancing Rabbit- my dh and were laughing at the two people who had to live there for a month- they did terribly!

Dh was totally impressed by the community and while I'm not sure we could live there- it is a HUGE inspiration to try and emulate the lifestyle.

I would sure life to see some examples of these communites full of chilldren...I alway think about Ina May's "Farm" and expect to find a tribe of midwives in these communities- but it doesnt sound like it.
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#25 of 79 Old 11-13-2006, 12:26 PM
 
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punkprincessmama - I think you have just crushed my dream. I too am set on Sandhill but it has been 2 weeks since I wrote and no reply. How old are your children? Mine is 3.5. I know they want a playmate for their daughter but surely they could still take on other kids??
And how was Acorn? That is the other one I am looking at, besides Dancing Rabbit with which I fear I will have no way to make a living either. Please...let me know if there are any other communities out there. I am getting frustrated and I just want a home and it seems like I have the same values as most everyone in these communities, so why is it so diffcult to find one??? Thank you for listening to me rant.
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#26 of 79 Old 11-13-2006, 12:49 PM
 
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I am getting frustrated and I just want a home and it seems like I have the same values as most everyone in these communities, so why is it so diffcult to find one??? Thank you for listening to me rant.
i gave up my dream of living in community some time ago. it's just too hard for people to live together. there are too many forces conspiring to tear people apart.

"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Olivercoolshine.gif

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#27 of 79 Old 11-13-2006, 03:49 PM
 
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Anyone here interested in disucussing a mamas (single or partnered) subcommunity? I think DR would def be open to this type of new members.

I have dreamed about this for a long time. For example, I would love to help other mamas who are in dangerous relationships, to get out and get stable on their own feet. (Imagine how our subscommunity could grow!!!).

But also gardening, food co-op for those with children, child care coop (for toddlers and up), homeschooling coop? So many family oriented things could be done, to grow such a community. I would love for my kids to grow in such a community, and would even consider adopting or having one more.

Anyone interested in dialoging about this subject?

Jytosna

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#28 of 79 Old 11-13-2006, 04:12 PM
 
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Hi Jyotsana, you know I am definitely interested. Here are the skills I bring to the table: gardening, canning and preserving, herbal healing and of course a helping hand around the little ones, I also write articles online but so far it hasn't brought alot of extra cash in. Since the main reason a subcommunity would be needed is to defray the costs of co-op fees, I do get a reasonable amount of money a month in child support but it is not always stable. If I moved to DR, however, I would be able to sell my car and stash some cash away for those times when my ex doesn't come through, as well as a little to help build a home. As far as a home goes, my dad is a carpenter and would be willing to come and help build - he's very proficient with alternative building and is excited to build a strawbale home. Would you want to be cohousing or a cluster of small homes, maybe adjoining? I have been researching with building using salvaged materials and I think that is a great way to go. Would you want the subcommunity to be income sharing or non income sharing? I also have a dream of a cottage industry of making herbal, organic soaps and shampoos, essential oils, cleaning products, etc. (I have 5 years of accounting experience too)

What is the process for a subcommunity joining DR? Is it the same as an individual? I know their goal is to have many subcommunities within the larger community but as far as I know they haven't had many already formed join, just one that joined after they all got started. The house would cost more because it would have to be bigger but with a couple contributors I think it could work and I think having extra room for mamas that are transitioning is a great idea! And of course, if we decided to have separate houses we would need to discuss if we are going to help each other with that as well...

Who knows, maybe together we can accomplish what would be so hard to do alone. Anyone else?? :
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#29 of 79 Old 11-14-2006, 12:05 PM
 
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Snugglebug- I live in the midwest and my farm is on the outskirts of a settled Amish community and I predict that within 5 years we will be IN an Amish community because people are moving to here from other states (a new settlement from Delaware is not only 4 miles away) and recently a farm ajacent to ours was bidded on by an Amish family.

Anyway- what I'm going to say is that if you aspects of the amish lifestyle appeal to you - you do that... no one can stop you... just DO IT- you don't need a community to go non-electric. You don't need permission to drive a horse, any lady in the world is free to buy her own yardgoods and make her family their clothes. You want to bake bread on mondays and do all your washing on thursday with a gas powered wringer washer- have at it!! You want to lug your washing to a creek and do it on the rocks- we are not going to stop you. You can collect your rain water off your roof and gravity will put it in a cistern for free!

I will say that it is a myth that Amish people are in any way sustainable- almost all families have incomes outside the home and very few are professional farmers. This settlement from Delaware is very urban and did not purchase farms any larger than required for a single buggy horse. All the men are employed as carpenters making furniture and cabinets. They rely heavily on purchased gasoline and kerosine as well as purchased food from the store. Even flour for home made bread is purchased. (Whole grain bread is simply not done!) What I see around here is mainly crops to maintain their own livestock, some tobaccao and small farm stands.

You want that- DO IT... don't go looking for some community who has BY LAWS about how many children are allowed to exist to give your your centering rhythm in this world. You just start living the life now- one bit at a time... put in a garden and can all summer.

If after doing all that you feel that something is missing- then look for the community. You can make that community yourself starting in your own home.

I 'm afraid this post is all over the place- what I am trying to say is
1. Amish life may not be what you think it is
2. Communes are in no way only or first the alternative to life on the grid. They can't do it for you- and they will probably have as many or more impositions on your belief system as the Christian one which makes you turn away from entertaining thoughts of Amish-style life.
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#30 of 79 Old 11-15-2006, 09:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by solareyna View Post
punkprincessmama - I think you have just crushed my dream. I too am set on Sandhill but it has been 2 weeks since I wrote and no reply. How old are your children? Mine is 3.5. I know they want a playmate for their daughter but surely they could still take on other kids??
And how was Acorn? That is the other one I am looking at, besides Dancing Rabbit with which I fear I will have no way to make a living either. Please...let me know if there are any other communities out there. I am getting frustrated and I just want a home and it seems like I have the same values as most everyone in these communities, so why is it so diffcult to find one??? Thank you for listening to me rant.
My children are 3.9 and 16 months currently. When they responded to our email they stated that they are primarily interested in a playmate for the child that is allready there and that the community, at this time, is not interested in adding such young children. Also, this is a very busy time of year for themso I'm not surprised that you haven't heard back yet.

Acorn was wonderful in so many ways, but not what we expected in so many ways as well... It was a huge step forward in so many ways, and we loved the land so much, but in the end we did not feel supported in our parenting, our vision of how we want to raise our children.

I understand your frustration, as I feel it too. It seems to be very difficult to find a community that holds the same values my family does, and that includes welcoming young children into the folds.
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