“Vision for folks I know”

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    • #638

      Here is a document that I wrote several years ago to codify my needs/vision/values in conversation with a group of friends I already knew and organized with. I’ve been working on revising it to be organized differently and to explain some of the language for people I know less well. I’ll post that when it’s done, maybe as a reply to this one.

      Warning: the second document is longer than this one. Why? because I think it’s important to be very specific before deciding to get married; everyone to the left of Mike Pence thinks “sustainability” and “resilience” are good but they may not agree on what those terms means.

      here it is.
      =========================

      Land-based life vision (in outline form)

      n = necessary (can’t live without it)
      w = want but can live without it
      k = ok if I can do it even if others don’t

      I’ve written this a million times in the last 20 years, slightly revised every time I look at it. Maybe my needs have changed. Maybe an ideal I was attached to seemed unattainable. Maybe I just thought of something that I had forgotten to mention. So rather than wait until it’s perfect I thought I’d just send this snapshot of where I am today.

      Projects on land

      n-grow food for ourselves (duh)
      k, w-grow herbs and mushrooms for ourselves and possible income
      n-educational programs on sustainable living skills, ecology
      w-programs for urban kids (especially low-income) to get on the land
      n-work with local kids/schools
      w-hosting events brings us vibrance, connection and some income
      w-healing/therapeutic work is great (I don’t have this training)

      Lifestyle anarchism 😉

      n-model sustainable living to the greatest extent that we can (yes, there are places that teach it but don’t live it; I want to live it)…this means:
      n-minimize and be conscious about any brand new stuff we buy: salvage, reduce, local sourcing, fair trade if it must come from far away
      k-minimize waste stream including “recycling”:
      k?-minimize fossil fuel consumption: bike/carpool/share errands/share vehicles etc; heat with wood/sun; dry clothes in the sun or by the fire; minimize electricity or generate our own….etc.
      k-close our loops: humanure, greywater; (educational programs may require some permits etc)
      w-rain catchment, (maybe city water is sustainable?)
      etc……at least as much as we are doing on our urban land in Portland….

      Internal/structural/community

      n-(long-term) egalitarian decision-making, for those who have gone through membership process
      n-(long-term) legal structure separates financial input from decision-making power (e.g. a land trust, or a partnership that members can buy into)
      n-warmth and family feeling
      n-clean/tidy/organized common spaces (with compassion and flexibility)
      w – structure that helps us to maintain cleanliness/order with work being shared equitably
      n- indoor common/visitor/public spaces (e.g. kitchen, dining room, main sitting room) mostly free of common respiratory allergens, e.g. chemical fragrances, chemical cleaning products, mold, furry pets (so that family, friends, workshop participants, etc. with allergies can visit)
      n-accountability (with compassion and flexibility)
      w-shared care for kids
      k/?-commitment to/support for social justice work and service to our larger community (as well as environmental activism)
      n-commitment to/support for each member’s personal growth and healing
      w-everyone take a class/do an activity together that will improve our communication and group process, give us a common language for it.
      n-enough autonomy that no one feels like they are in a cult..;-)
      w- possible for any member who desires to build a detached bedroom

      land/location

      n-away from noise and pollution of city/highway/similar noisy stinky things
      n-possible to go out the door and walk in the woods for a few hours, either on the property or on adjoining land (adjacent to national forest would be great!)
      n-some woods on the land (both for growing shade herbs and mushrooms, and also just to be in)
      n-surface water – for summer swimming and also so a well is not our only water
      n-access (e.g. driveway) not super steep (5% grade max)- possible to come and go by bike, at least to the neighbor’s house
      w/?-neighbors we want to hang out with within 1 mile
      n-no neighbors who will call the county on us for our un-permitted structures, humanure, classes, etc.
      n-no poison oak, or very little
      w/?-small town with school/community center/store within 5 miles.
      w – some ethnic diversity in area
      w- some established infrastructure – fruit trees, soil, water system, usable buildings

    • #649

      Thanks Rachel! I’ll add my code (n/w/k) to each of your items (leaving yours as well):

      Projects on land

      n- n(BG)-grow food for ourselves (duh)
      k, w- w(BG)-grow herbs and mushrooms for ourselves and possible income
      n- n(BG) -educational programs on sustainable living skills, ecology
      w- w(BG)- programs for urban kids (especially low-income) to get on the land
      n- w(BG)-work with local kids/schools
      w- n(BG)- hosting events brings us vibrance, connection and some income
      w- w(BG)-healing/therapeutic work is great (I don’t have this training)

      Lifestyle anarchism 😉

      n- n(BG)-model sustainable living to the greatest extent that we can (yes, there are places that teach it but don’t live it; I want to live it)…this means:
      n– n(BG)- minimize and be conscious about any brand new stuff we buy: salvage, reduce, local sourcing, fair trade if it must come from far away
      k- w(BG)-minimize waste stream including “recycling”:
      k?- w(BG)-minimize fossil fuel consumption: bike/carpool/share errands/share vehicles etc; heat with wood/sun; dry clothes in the sun or by the fire; minimize electricity or generate our own….etc.
      k- w(BG)-close our loops: humanure, greywater; (educational programs may require some permits etc)
      w- w(BG)-rain catchment, (maybe city water is sustainable?)
      etc……at least as much as we are doing on our urban land in Portland….

      Internal/structural/community

      n- n(BG)- (long-term) egalitarian decision-making, for those who have gone through membership process
      n- n(BG)-(long-term) legal structure separates financial input from decision-making power (e.g. a land trust, or a partnership that members can buy into)
      n- n(BG)-warmth and family feeling
      n- n(BG)-clean/tidy/organized common spaces (with compassion and flexibility)
      w – w(BG)– structure that helps us to maintain cleanliness/order with work being shared equitably
      n- w(BG)- indoor common/visitor/public spaces (e.g. kitchen, dining room, main sitting room) mostly free of common respiratory allergens, e.g. chemical fragrances, chemical cleaning products, mold, furry pets (so that family, friends, workshop participants, etc. with allergies can visit)
      n- n(BG)- accountability (with compassion and flexibility)
      w- w(BG)-shared care for kids
      k/?- k(BG)-commitment to/support for social justice work and service to our larger community (as well as environmental activism)
      n- n(BG)-commitment to/support for each member’s personal growth and healing
      w- w(BG)-everyone take a class/do an activity together that will improve our communication and group process, give us a common language for it.
      n– n(BG)- enough autonomy that no one feels like they are in a cult..;-)
      w- k(BG)- possible for any member who desires to build a detached bedroom

      land/location

      n– n(BG)- away from noise and pollution of city/highway/similar noisy stinky things
      n– n(BG)-possible to go out the door and walk in the woods for a few hours, either on the property or on adjoining land (adjacent to national forest would be great!)
      n– n(BG)-some woods on the land (both for growing shade herbs and mushrooms, and also just to be in)
      n– n(BG)-surface water – for summer swimming and also so a well is not our only water
      n- w(BG)-access (e.g. driveway) not super steep (5% grade max)- possible to come and go by bike, at least to the neighbor’s house
      w/?- k(BG)-neighbors we want to hang out with within 1 mile
      n- w(BG)-no neighbors who will call the county on us for our un-permitted structures, humanure, classes, etc.
      n- w(BG)-no poison oak, or very little
      w/?- w(BG)-small town with school/community center/store within 5 miles.
      w – w(BG)– some ethnic diversity in area
      w- – n(BG)- some established infrastructure – fruit trees, soil, water system, usable buildings

    • #885

      Here’s a (hopefully readable) recent edit of my vision for what an intentional community I am part of will do and be. It’s always evolving. It overlaps with my “non-negotiables” but not all parts are non-negotiable.
      =========================================

      Land-based life vision (in outline form)

      Vision = Core values, purposes, choices/needs

      I. Purpose

      A. Outward purpose: working rural demonstration/teaching model of how humans can live in right relationship with the earth and each other
      Includes, but not limited to:
      1. Ecological subsistence agriculture that regenerates the land
      2. Buildings that take as little as possible from the earth, and are beautiful and comfortable
      3. Equitable and just relations with all beings; centering social justice
      4. Support and model lifestyle practices that free us from capitalism
      B. Inward purpose: resilient and supportive home for humans working to live in this way, at whatever stage of transition they might be in.
      C. secondary/intermediate purpose: refuge for urban activists (those doing good work in urban setting and continuing to live in the city) when they need a break

      II. Outward work
      A. Educational work – not all members must participate, but community must support those who do: “Open hours” for tours, some parts of land available, some private/off limits
      On land: workshops, classes, summer camps, youth programs. EDI lens: access, affordability. If possible, provide transportation for low-income youth to get to land.
      Off land: programs and volunteer work in nearby schools, community centers
      B. Indigenous sovereignty: build relationship with the people on whose land we live, give access (or rematriate the land), pay rent, find other ways to give back
      C: Other activism: community culture supports members who engage in social change work off the land. Space is available for action camps/activist trainings and retreats. Off-farm groups pay for space commensurate with their ability to pay; scholarships/gift economy for individuals and groups who do not have access to money.
      D. Relationship with rural community we are part of has priority. Know neighbors; help with “barn-raisings”; some community members join volunteer fire dept, grange, town meeting.
      E. Other events: for music, arts, joy, some income

      III. Community dynamics and agreements

      A. In service of earth care and outward social justice impacts
      1. _Clear agreements_ about what practices are embraced/supported, what are allowed, what are excluded. Nearly everyone to the left of Mike Pence agrees that “sustainable” and resilient” are good things, but may not agree on what that means. Specifics of agreements will evolve as the world changes and/or more information becomes available.
      2. Support for sustainable choices: Both rules and community culture strongly support the _most_ ecologically sustainable choices for all members and visitors. No community member or visitor will be forced to change from a more sustainable choice to a less sustainable one. Choice of location will support most sustainable choices.
      i. sustainable transportation: Safe and easy for non-motorized access to small town with store, school, community center, transit stop. Up to 7% grade for a short distance ok.
      ii. Shared/community purchases made with mindfulness of cradle-to-grave impact: mining/logging/resource extraction; impact of production on poor communities; labor practices, distance shipped, packaging/waste, etc. Reduce/reuse: Salvage/buy used, and/or question whether the thing is needed. Community meals and food purchases that everyone is required to chip into will support sustainable food choices (local, minimally packaged). No one will be forced to put their money into something that is counter to their environmental or social justice ethic.
      iii. Allow and encourage regenerative water management in individual dwellings: greywater. rain catchment, composting toilet systems.
      iv: other simple solutions: line dry clothes, deconstruct rather than demolish, make our own fun, etc.
      3. Individual acceptance: Rules and community culture also support those who are not able to individually make the most radical choice. No one will be disparaged for driving to work, buying themselves a new computer, etc. No rules about what people eat. Enough autonomy that no one feels like they are in a cult..;-)
      4. Community infrastructure:
      i. shared buildings will use regenerative water systems like greywater. rain catchment, composting toilet systems. May also have a septic system if local laws require it.
      ii. shared buildings will be highly insulated, designed for passive solar heat in cold weather and passive cooling in summer. Heat sources chosen by study of most recent science. All buildings will have wood heat as an option to maximize long term resilience in the case of complete unavailability of electricity.
      5. Gardening/agriculture
      i. All gardening will follow OCIA regulations.
      ii. Care for soil as though our lives depend on it – they do. Some areas of no till.
      iii. Short term, grow all our own vegetables. Long term, work towards food self-sufficiency.

      B. Inward work:
      1. Organized trainings for all members, paid for by community (members contribute to payment according to their ability to pay)
      -antiracism, dismantling patriarchy, transformative justice, nonviolent communication, conflict resolution process, decision-making processes
      2. culture of open communication about interpersonal and justice issues
      3. community culture values and supports individuals’ personal growth and healing work
      4. Culture of -Kindness, consideration, generosity, tolerance
      5. Connection is more important than the to-do list – especially with kids!
      6. Make our own fun: music, dance, creative pursuits. For a joyful life and to reduce need for trips to town.
      7. Multigenerational: Some coparenting; young children welcome in most community spaces if safe; elders can age in place, be valued and cared for, and die on the land if they wish.

      C. Decision-making, Power and Money
      1. Legal structure separates financial input from decision-making power (e.g. a land trust holds land, and all capital inputs are loans or donations to land trust)
      2. Financial resilience
      i. (ideally) lenders are individuals invested in success of community; (pragmatically) loans are structured to prioritize survival of community over desires of lender.
      3. Affordability/economic justice
      i. Sweat equity and rent-to-own options available
      ii. buy-in fee and monthly payments are affordable to low-income people (or sliding scale)
      iii. limited equity/permanent affordability: members can hold equity in their personal dwelling, but can’t sell it at “fair market value” as that rises.
      4. Autonomy
      i. option for members to own their individual dwellings (whether a house or a bedroom) or at least have complete autonomous decision-making over their dwelling
      5. Support, encourage and facilitate income streams based on land
      6. Support, encourage and facilitate residents living with minimal need for money

      D. Logistical accountability
      1. Space: Clean/tidy/organized common spaces (with compassion and flexibility)
      Chore structure that helps us to maintain cleanliness/order with work being shared equitably
      Indoor common/visitor/public spaces (e.g. kitchen, dining room, main sitting room) mostly free of common respiratory allergens, e.g. chemical fragrances, chemical cleaning products, mold, furry pets (access issue for residents and visitors). Cleaning practices; educating residents and visitors about fragrances; limiting where furry pets can go.
      2. Time: Clear agreements on required time inputs by community members.
      3. accountability (with compassion and flexibility)

      Personal needs:

      Must have (things I have now that I’m not willing to give up):.
      1. Ethical practices: My residential community must support me, other prospective members, visitors and the larger community in continuing long standing ethical practices around ecological sustainability, social justice and activism. These are described in moderate but not complete detail in my vision document.
      2. Quiet and privacy in my personal space: detached bedroom or excellent sound insulation if in a shared structure. 150’ away from nearest driveway/parking lot.
      3. easy car-free access to
      -my livelihood
      -neighbors I like (social connections outside my residential community)
      -opportunities for community service and activism

      Strong desires (My current urban life limits these things; I won’t relocate to a place that doesn’t offer them):
      1. Quiet: main reason I want to live rurally. Very little noise from busy roads, machinery (except occasionally). I will not relocate to a noisy place.
      2. Easy walk to forest for walking and spiritual renewal, and to wild water for cooling off in hot weather. Ideally these are on the land.
      I should be able to walk there when I’m hot and tired.
      3. Very little poison oak in the woods (I’m super allergic)
      4. clean air year round (maybe not possible in the western US)

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