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Our Farms, Our Homesteads, Our Communities are all Hopefully Intentional

I have been reading Creating a Life: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities by Diana Leafe Christian. Published in 2003 is has timeless, relevant, and applicable guidance to building our living systems. Whether a farm or ecovillage, many of the principles and stories in the book have breadth and depth to help us plan and understand the intricacies of the human systems involved.

I have been researching and searching for intentional communities and ecovillages that might align with my

values. Having been nomadic now for over two years (loving it) traveling with the seasons and to project sites is limiting my ability to invest in long term systems in any one place. In Alabama we spent late spring building the geodesic dome garden for ourselves and the owners. Ultimately we moved North in July to escape the heat leaving the shade clothed dome in the hands of the clients.

Back to the book. 245 pages, 18 chapters. Its a good read and thought provoking. As I have worked on designs for a few intentional communities, none have actually come to fruition. 90% of communities fail (according to DLC) and an untold number never launch past group discussions. One thing I learned first off in my experience is that a small group should build what they agree is a good fit for them and then add like minded people as they appear. Designing by committee is never a plan. But that does not diminish the need for clear agreements, open discussion, honest and realistic assessments of finances, beliefs, expectations, and limitations. From the family homestead to the large ecovillage, clear agreements are needed on decision making process, roles, expected contributions, member investments, returns on investments, and an exit strategy if needed. Wishful thinking or the assumption that goodwill will carry the plan to success is naive. As a good friend tells me, "God will provide, but doesn't vacuum, do the laundry or dishes."

This book is a good primer for anyone designing living systems and working with the human occupants. Its also a great guide in planning and priming important conversation not matter the size of the community.



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