Intentional Communities: "Living Labs"

The old saying goes, starting an intentional community is like starting a business and getting married all rolled into one. Living in such close contact with others, 24/7, can really test your comfort levels and bring triggers out into the open you never knew you had. So how do you create a life together with a base stable enough to withstand "Big Brother" style meltdowns?

The most important factors to forming a successful community is to create intimacy/trust within a group through common goals/ideas/worldviews, and to always follow a productive path that is adaptable to change. All the small systems (the people) need to operate smoothly within the larger system (the community) or else everything falls apart. This is not the time for dictatorship, but for "empowered leadership" where each person is acknowledged, encouraged, and included in major decision making meetings.

It may sound like coddling, but after taking a step back and seeing what each persons' taproot (strength) is, specific responsibilities can then be doled out in areas that will make those talents shine, thereby making the entire system run better. Not to mention the load this "leading from behind" will take off your back when you've got a million other things to do by end of day!

So not only do we want involved, happy little campers within the walls of the Better Farmhouse, but forming solid relationships with the outer sphere of Redwood, NY, will also be key, as their full support will be imperative in the success of our ecological adventure. With this strong base of common goals and evenly distributed responsibilities, a long-term commitment to be a more "nature working" community as a whole should run like a well-oiled machine.

The above info is a brief recap from a Permaculture class with Ariane Burgess, an expert in regenerative culture, intentional communities and transition towns.

Image from Center for Community Alternatives.