A Commune?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Obser, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    I started the “Independence as a group effort” thread with the idea of finding or developing a neighborhood of homesteaders who would be Independent (a key word) but would be inclined to cooperate (a key word) with one another for mutual benefit.

    As the idea has been gestating in forum discussions it seems to have moved toward becoming more of a religious commune. Owning land together, building community buildings or churches, restricting owners’ rights to sell their land, making rules, etc.

    The idea of purchasing a large tract of land to be divided (and separately deeded) has some appeal. It would reduce per acre cost and put people close together. Beyond that I see little advantage -- but I also see pitfalls. Already there is concern about what parcel to buy and how to divide the land and decide who gets what parcels.

    Being in close proximity to one another would be a real advantage in some ways. But, is there such a thing as being too close, too intimately associated? Are independence and individual freedom sacrificed? At what point Is conformity to groupthink required?

    Community spirit and good neighbor attitudes can exist without a “Homeowners Association” patterned after condominiums and gated communities; and without more rules piled on top of the already oppressive regulations and restrictions placed on private property ownership by existing government -- we don't need more.

    As the idea has developed it is tending toward becoming something far different than a neighborhood of homesteaders who are inclined to cooperate with one another. It is becoming something that is of no interest to me.

    I encourage those who want to develop a commune to do so. That system of “togetherness” appeals to some people.

    Likewise, those who want to develop a religion-based community are encouraged to go in those directions. My wife and I would not feel welcome or comfortable in a community of religious conformity.

    If anyone favors the concept of individual freedom and who would simply like to have good neighbors, please PM or email (obser1@gmail.com) and let’s share some thoughts along those lines.
     
  2. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Obser,

    I have friends in SW Wisconsin who think as you do. They bought a large tract of land and then sold off some of it to kindred souls. They help each other out, do some work cooperatively, but each has their own land, and their own freedom to do as they will. It can be done.
     

  3. ChiliPalmer

    ChiliPalmer Well-Known Member

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  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I am a Christian, but have no interest in joining any kind of 'commune' or 'religious community'. All I want is a group land purchase for the lower cost per acre, with each buyer owning their own parcel free and clear, and people cooperating freely with one another as they choose.

    However, I DO like the idea of some restrictions, Homeowner Association-type, within the community. I figure if Homeowners Associations can be used to keep homesteaders out of their communities, we could use the same idea to keep the urbanites out of a homesteading community. One covenant I thought of was to specify that anyone in the community could keep livestock, even if all they had was one acre of land -- but I definitely don't want to live near a factory farm.

    Another thing is the community planning idea. Some planning would, I think, make a community a better and more functional place to live, just like a house requires some planning in order to be an efficient, comfortable, and attractive place to live. So, I'm off to start my own thread!

    Kathleen
     
  5. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm with you Obser. On all points.

    I know plenty of like minded people that might want to go off grid so finding people isn't a problem for me. The reason I would ever move with other folks or buy one piece of land are for the same reasons you mention. I also wouldn't mind having a few friends around as well and having some "community". I like my privacy very very much but I also don't want to be so isolated that the only people I see in any given month are my husband and children. Having some girlfriends over for a glass of wine and baking would be nice on occasion.

    However I have absolutely no desire to live in a "commune" religeous or otherwise. Part of the reason I want to own my own place is that I can sell if I want. I can mortgage it if I want. I can sell off 5 acres if I want. I can have pigs, cows, goats, chickens, or none of the above if I want. I can dig a pond if I want. It's hard enough deciding what to do with just my husband and I trying to hammer things out.

    That's just me though!
     
  6. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

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    The new thing here is to add a covenant to prevent anyone from selling to developers. It follows some statute that protects conservation.

    The bylaws in my community allow 1 head of livestock for each acre owned. It does not specify type...since I bought swampland in Florida, I figured maybe I should go for water buffalo?
     
  7. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I think I am with you, I see plenty of flocks of chickens and cows/horses even down town being kept in Kosovo (the cow is usually just a milker kept thur the winter in the downtown and fed on Hay/grain.) They are getting along just fine well you know what I mean not the serbs and albainians of course. I just hope you are able to hear other peoples ideas your "planning" may not suit me, though I am open to the idea still depending on what rules/restrictions you come up with.
     
  8. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I should add that I also do like the idea of doing some chores (such as large scale canning, wood chopping, and butchering) with other people. Makes for a better day. My husaband my brother in law do wood together and my sister and I do canning together. It really goes much faster with someone else. These things do not require living in a commune at all. If someone doesn't show up it's no big deal and it's not like someone "owes" someone else anything.

    Just a thought.
     
  9. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    I would not live under such restrictions the land in florida grows grass all year what if I wanted to have 5 goats on my acre.
     
  10. gypsymama

    gypsymama Well-Known Member

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    I think I thanked you in another thread, Obser

    Again, thanks.

    What an interesting life you lead.

    I would like to keep abreast of how this whole community thing progresses.
     
  11. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I'm quite willing to hear other people's ideas! Most of what I've heard so far has been more what people DON'T want, though -- I'd like to hear some of what they DO want!

    I have a sister-in-law (ex) who lives in Wales, and have read a lot of stories set in England/Great Britain. It seems that up until quite recently (and maybe to this day in some places) it was very common for even town dwellers to keep poultry and even pigs in their back-yards. If nothing else, they usually had a few pigeons and maybe some meat rabbits. I don't think there's anything incongruous about combining a 'village' and some small-farm sized lots in this community idea. Not all homesteaders can manage a big plot of land, or afford one, but a lot of people do wonders with an acre or two. I wouldn't make the lots any less than one acre, because I hate to see houses all crammed in next to one another. I think people need some space around them. But it's good, especially as we get older, to have neighbors near enough to pop over and check on us once in a while, or at least able to see if we've been up and about at all that day.

    I'm not going to be at all offended if someone decides my vision isn't their vision. I think there are enough people out there who do share my vision to make it happen -- I just have to find them!

    Kathleen
     
  12. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have thought on this many, many times over the last 10 years. The one problem that we couldn't really see a way around was this one: What if everyone is of "like mind" (whatever that turns out to be.....), but retains the right to sell or divide their land as they deem fit. It could happen that in the not so distant future one of the founding members sells out (due to dire need or change of heart) to someone who has no intention of being a part of the community. In other words, the "planned community" would lose integrity, in the sense that it would become something other than was originally intended.
    I do think it makes sense to pool efforts and resources, but the question is how to do that in such a way that everyone involves finds the endeavor fulfilling. The idea of a governing council comes to mind, although I like the idea of no government at all. And here we go round again.
     
  13. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    That was the reason some of us were talking about having a clause in the deed.
    I don't know what it is called, but it's to protect something like this from happening. It can be done.
     
  14. Pigeon Lady

    Pigeon Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    First let me put on my flame proof undies...

    My husband and I are Christians. I must say during the last 2 years while we were looking for our retirement homestead, traveling and dealing with many many people in relation to our ultimate move I can honestly tell you that the one's who treated us with the most respect, honesty, and trustworthyness were NON christians! It was quite a revelation!

    Christian is as Christian does. I'd rather deal with an Atheist who follows the golden rule than a Baptist minister with "selective" morals any day!

    For me, to live in a community of nothing but 'christians' would be hell on earth!

    Bye the way, we chose an isolated little valley where most people are homesteaders and don't even know it. All very independant but there when you need them. Some are Christian and some aren't. They're all wonderful neighbors. We've been here a year and have been warmly welcomed.

    I hope you find a similar place because I think it's what you're ultimately looking for. They might watch you from a distance for a while but if you treat people right, word gets around and you can become part of an already established community quite quickly. Heck, I even gained a 'grandma'. She's 92 and I love her to bits.

    We couldn't be happier and I wish the same for you.

    Pauline
     
  15. Suburbanhmstedr

    Suburbanhmstedr Well-Known Member

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    I have visited a community that may be similar to what you seek. I believe it was originally a religious commune, but is now an "intentional community. Check out Stelle, Illinois: http://www.centerforsustainablecommunity.org

    I have found the people there to be very open and eager to discuss ideas with others. If you do not agree with them and prefer not to live there, but keep an open mind, they might provide you with some "been there, done that" examples to help you on your quest.
     
  16. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    Nice website, and I like that strawbale house. I was hoping they were in southern IL but they're near Chicago.
     
  17. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This post so warmed my heart that I'm considering printing it out and keeping it....maybe to pass on to friends in the future. You obviously have a healthy sense of humor, which probably has a lot to do with how you ended up fitting in in an already "established" community. Been here 2 1/2 years and feel much the same way as you do about where you chose to live. Instead of a 92 year old "grandma", we gained a 73 year old "uncle". I realized how much I love him when it crossed my mind once that someday he won't be around to help me with my farm chores... and I started crying!
     
  18. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Pigeon Lady, thank you for the reality check.

    Your little valley sounds wonderful. I'm sure you are just neighborly and accepting toward others as they are toward you. That is the kind of environment and attitude I envisioned when opening some of these threads.
     
  19. bare

    bare Head Muderator

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    There's been lots of "been there done that" information on this board. The problem is, those interested in a joint venture choose to ignore it or term the information offered "negative energy".

    Tons of folks want to form or join a community to save money, co-operate with neighbors, build a "." community. Problem is, most don't really have a clue, have no resources, and have no experience.

    It's so dang predictable... No one got into your recent thread. We just watched you go on and on with your pipe dreams, shaking our heads and sometimes wagering on how many pages it would go before it started breaking down.

    There is a tremendous amount of information here on this board, some of it is generations old, from folks that have genuinely been there and done that. Listen and learn, even if it does sound like something you don't want to hear.

    If you really want to join a community, there are tons of them out there, one that will closely fit your requirements, whether it is survivalist based, Christian based, land based, no rules based, or what-ever-based.

    Get your feet wet. Communicate with like minded folks, visit with them, see if that is what you really think you want. It'll save us all some grief.
     
  20. Lizza

    Lizza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's not like it hasn't been done before and it doesn't work. My parents were a part of a group when I was a baby that worked very well (they lived on mining claims, close together, but far apart). One of my best friends Dad bought 100 acres with five other people 30yrs ago. He still lives there today. A few have sold out and it hasn't been a problem.

    I share my land with my sister (our parents also but they don't live here). If I wouldn't have bought with them I wouldn't have the seclusion that I have now and would still be living in the burbs. I'm not saying it's perfect but it can be done.