Sustainable Communities

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by goatchops, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. goatchops

    goatchops Well-Known Member

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    Last summer I got this great idea to buy a nice house in Northern California which came with 1/3 acre and costed $150K. I'd be more comfortable on five or more acres but the price seemed right so we went for it. We looked forward to putting the kids in a small-town school and living off the fat of the land, drinking well water etc... but we have found that the social mentality is prohibitively conservative. My wife drives a yellow Toyota and is continually questioned about her choice i.e. why don't you drive a Chevy truck, my high school aged daughters are breezing through AP courses as they watch the sole muslim family (Iraqi no less) be run out of school and eventually town when it was discovered that they were fasting for Ramadan and the sheer volume of 'get 'er done' bumper stickers and t-shirts is unfortunate indeed.

    So although none of these events cause us physical harm it is ingrained and disturbing to watch these things happen in the good ole USA and we have decided to sell our house for $180K, enroll the girls in a private internet school and move to a different community which is more accepting of strangers and more tolerant of diversity, which brings me to my comments:

    As we research environmentally and socially tolerant communities we find that they are very expensive. Bare land is expensive, the zoning is crazy and green houses are out of our range. $200-$300K. The closer we look, the more elitist these communities become. Everyone touts the community aspect of sustainable lifestyles yet it appears that these communities are actually reserved for an elite few. Any ideas or suggestions?

    Jeff
     
  2. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jeff

    I don't think there's any place in the world that doesn't have some prejudices or some other little nitpickin problem.

    I use to think my home area was 'prohibitively conservative' as you say. Growing up in a dry county in the Baptist belt...it don't get anymore conservative than that. I decided that this Was the best place to be, after living in half a dozen dream places. Ironically, those dream places were exactly what you're looking for...liberal, tolerant, and all the other PC balogna... I could 'fit in' as long as I kept my mouth shut... but dislike having to withhold my opinions, and to boot, the land was outrageously priced, and unsustainable from a homesteading viewpoint.... So I moved back to the prohib conserv area.

    Funny thing, it's still rabidly conservative, to a point. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Middle Easterners are all livin together, side by side, and a whole lot of marriages amongtst the groups. Openly gay/lesbians, dogs and cats livin together, you name it! People make fun of Toyotas, but the Toy Boys outredneck the Ford/Chevy/Dodge crowd in the woods and mudholes... Everybody's always raggin on someone and the someone rags right back.

    My advice. Find land you like. Once there, join a church, a commune, or coven. Unless you're the only one in town, there will be someone there to make friends with. Thicken your skin. Someone makes fun of you, bust out with a big laugh, and laugh with them, and tell em you stopped doing what they wanted you to, because>>>>>>>> See bad behavior, try and change it.

    There's a lot of people I don't care for around here, and some that'll give you anything you need. And more if you're in trouble. Back when I was in those hallowed shangri la's, I knew if something bad happened, except for one or two other 'refugees' , I was 'on my own'....not a good feeling when you're 5000 miles from home, friend, and families....
     

  3. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Jeff said, "Everyone touts the community aspect of sustainable lifestyles..."

    Rose asks, "Who is everybody??"

    Yes, I know....I'm probably taking Troll bait. :dance:
     
  4. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    That's California for you.

    Lot's a people live other places & love it. I bought 5 acres, well, electricity for under $70,000 and am sitting on the largest aquifier in the southwest. Recently bought 17 acres nearby as investment, but now it's looking pretty nice to live on.

    Maybe your search priorities could change? I don't think most who look to be a homesteader, farmer - whatever you want to call yourself -think "communities" first. It appears to me that it's land, water, do I want solar or electricity. Will I have my privacy? Lot's of people find satisfaction in building their own house.
    You're already thinking about homeschooling, so you're already on your way...

    There was a thread on where most on this site live, map and all. Check it out... You may end up in Montana. ;)

    Greenhouses? How about building your own? I do believe creativity is where it's at.

    :cowboy:
     
  5. MississippiSlim

    MississippiSlim Well-Known Member

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    Texican--
    You and I think alike! I used to think my home was overly conservative, and I bought into the hype about Mississippi being ignorant, rascist, etc, etc when I was in college even though I grew up there and knew differently. I for some years tried my best to fix my southern accent and appear to be the picture of tolerance.....Now I am very ashamed of being ashamed of my home! I am bac there and happy as I can be! I notice that the folks who talk about tolerance never think f being tolerant to the folks they view as intolerant. Never look to see what reasons they have of being the way they are. The race issue for instance. I have heard it said tat it is impossible for a minority to be a rascist because they are the minority. Then where I live it would be impossible for a caucasian to be a rascist due to the fact that they are the minority. But of course if you are from Missisiippi you are labeled a rascist automatically I have found. I find this ridiculous due to the fact that in Mississippi blacks and whites grow up closely together in the same neighborhoods communities etc. All those "open minded" "liberal thinking" places I have been have strangely been upper class, and white. strange to me.....just my opinion
     
  6. goatchops

    goatchops Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments you're helping me understand things better!

    Texican: I guess we all have different ideas about what is little and nitpickin. Thanks for your comments

    Rose: touche! I seldom use the term 'everybody' for precisely the reason that you called me out on. Of course I don't mean "EVERYBODY" as in the whole world, country etc.. Everybody in this case indicates a vast majority of folks whom I regularly speak or write to in my own little world. Which is why I posed my concerns to this forum to gain aother perspective.


    Wolf Mom: I hear ya... we're looking at 5 acres of flat fertile land with a well and 300 days of sunshine for $25K. We've homeschooled before so we're familiar with that lifestyle and I've built two houses and have every intention of building my next one. BTW I meant Green-House as in environmentally. I'm in the military and have lived in 12 states including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico and my search priorities are pretty wide open i.e. West of the Mississippi.

    Mississippi Slim: I think you've come closest to answering my question. You've helped confirm that "All those "open minded" "liberal thinking" places I have been have strangely been upper class, and white"

    Which is not what I'm looking for.
     
  7. MississippiSlim

    MississippiSlim Well-Known Member

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    Yep! seems like that to me anyway. Plus alot of those folks don't know real practical enviromentalism and ecology from their rear end! But they corner the market on condescending attitudes. Once my wife and I went whitewater rafting in NC. The guides were all college kids form other places. I smoke and while we were stopped on a sand bar I smoked a cigarette and then "field stripped" it (shook the fire and a few grains of tobacco into the creek) and put the filter in my pocket. One guide commenced to lecture me for puting foreign matter into the river! I asked him if e understood that tobacco was a plant and that plants grew along the river and were washed into the river at times as well as leaves falling into the river and that a microgram of tobacco in no way could affect the river nearly as much as the dam that made the river such a great place to raft.....he shut up!

    I have found that small rural communities though at times closed minded in some ways, are the most caring helpful folks. And they tend to leave you alone to do your business on your own place as they expect the same of you.
     
  8. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Missouri is west of the Mississippi River. :) May be cooler than you wanted, however.

    I have an old home and some acreage in southern Missouri, and I've found the local folks to be very helpful, honest, supportive, and tolerant of this Texan. I know some old timers who live simply just because that's what their families have done, and I know some younger folks who have chosen the lifestyle.

    Land prices there have risen somewhat, but they are much more reasonable than California, for sure. You could probably find acreage for $1200 to $2000 an acre without much trouble.

    The community I live near is very family oriented. It's Bible Belt, of course, so family values are important.

    There is the occasional Meth lab, unfortunately. Shop carefully and look at the neighbors before you buy.

    You can certainly have a garden, critters, a water well, solar energy, etc., in the Ozarks. Add a dose of stunning beauty, and it sounds like home to me!
     
  9. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    perfectly said.

    why live in a place where you don't like the locals??

    otoh, i work on these issues in my own community- we are stting on one of the few edges of a national park that haven't been developed.

    how do we preserve the land and culture, let the peole that live here now benefit from it, instead of it being taken over by outsiders with a lot more money than us? if ya gotta better plan, please, please share. we're getting desperate.

    sustainable growth all too often mean get the locals to sell and move out, so the rich can have the pretty places all to themselves.

    if you are looking for a small town atmosphere, try middle america.

    take texicans advice and mingle with your neighbors. get to know them and let them get to know you.

    local joke from 30 years ago when a group of us back to the land hippies moved to this remote mountain community was- they all thought we were like easy rider, and we thought they were all like deliverance.

    thank goodness we got to know each other instead.



     
  10. pickapeppa

    pickapeppa Well-Known Member

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    Check out rural Illinois. I know it isn't west of the Mississippi, but it's pretty close. The population is diverse, in most places quite tolerant of diversity. In the right places you'll have some of the finest, most fertile soil in the world. It isn't a red state, but there are red pocket areas for sure, we live in one. What line of work are you in? If you're into home construction, jobs are plentiful. There's a TON of building going on where we are. This rich ground is being consumed like a wildfire spreading across. Such a shame too. Our ground grows giants in the vegie garden. It's also a very friendly state as far as homeschooling is concerned. One of the best in the country for people who like to homeschool.
     
  11. fernando

    fernando Well-Known Member

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    If you're searching for perfection, you'll probably be at it for a while.
     
  12. Westwood

    Westwood Well-Known Member

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    Well, the Ozarks seem to attract a lot of us like minded folks. Yes, you hear that it's redneck and narrow minded, and sometimes it's true. But those same people who are talking about you behind your back will be the first ones to come to your aid when you need it. I'm gay in the middle of redneck land. Moved here to start a goat dairy because there's a goat milk buying plant in Yellville. Cozahome, AR, mapquest it. But when a couple of local teenagers came barreling by drunk and shouting we don't want any queers here (that stopped after the 3rd pass with a 12 guage fired over their heads) their parents made them come by the next day and apologize. Community is what you make it. You have to get involved, respect local traditions and not try to indoctrinate the locals on how they don't fit into YOUR'RE interpreation of what the community should be. Live and let live, be a part of the community, and respect the community elders. You might not agree with them, but if you carry on a dialog remembering their families have been there for generations, you MIGHT just fit in. It's your responisibility to fit in to their community, not the other way around.
     
  13. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    HERE's a thought that might or might not help.

    Before you get too involved in a community, visit the stores. Is the staff of the various stores totally White?

    If so, there MIGHT be a problem with accepting others. IF not, check the town out farther.
     
  14. MississippiSlim

    MississippiSlim Well-Known Member

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    What if the staff is completely non white? then it would be better? I find that the kind of thinking that promotes all the race issue. I had a teache in high school who anytime kids were at the blackboard it had to be black/white/black/white. I asked her didn't that promote seeing skin color as a defining factor of some kind rather than promote color blindness. She had no answer
     
  15. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    No, no, no!

    If there are non-wnites working in the community, then there are probably non-whites living in the community, they haven't been forced out. Also, the customers and bosses accept the presence of non-caucasion members.

    The businesses do not ALL have to be integrated, just SOME of them, to show that non-whites have not been driven out.
     
  16. MississippiSlim

    MississippiSlim Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in the Deep south and have never seen a case of the non whites being "driven out". I have seen the reverse or "white flight" though. New Orleans LA is a prime example. I personally don't care if a community is part white, all white, mostly ethnic, whatever. I think you have to live somewhere for a while to find the true nature of the communtiy. And you have to look for the good rather than the bad. Example: Eastern MArion County MS is predominantly black, I grew up there and it is home for me. I love the place but there are rascist of both races and everything is not perfect. I worked in Weatherford TX are and the county there is 94% white. It also was a great place. I don't think there is any litmus test for a community other than just living there and finding out over time. If you are like me, you will find that you spend so much time working on your place that you don't interact that much with others anyway!
     
  17. angus

    angus Somewhere in Oklahoma

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    I agree with Texican ... I have lived in several places in my life. What I have discovered is that we humans are all very similar. We just exhibit our similarities in a different sort of way. We all have our different styles and ways of accomplishing things and we all have our prejudices ... Its just that all of these styles and prejudices are different. Therein lies the challenge ...

    My advice. Find some land that you love. Something that serves your needs. Make sure it is in a climate that you enjoy. Settle and make a life for yourself there. Don't worry about what other folks think or say. Live your own life.
     
  18. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    Reading this thread promted a memory of about 15 years ago. We were considering a move to a small town in the 'bootheel' of Missouri. We were camping with our 2 young children at an area campground while checking out the locale. There were two older couples across the lane from us and they were making homemade ice-cream and invited us to bring the kids over for some. As we visited and chatted, we mentioned that we were thinking about moving to XXXXXX. They perked up and commented several times about how nice that town was and how clean it was. Yes, it sure is a clean town.

    Now, being the naive, non-race focused person that I am (who just happened to be born white) - I'm thinking 'Cool! People take care of their yards, they care about their houses, they keep the streets cleaned up, the trash carted off... " :rolleyes:

    Well......as the conversation progressed I realized that they were NOT talking about a Fall Clean Up Day in the Neighborhood :grump: - they meant that XXXXXX was a very WHITE town and that was supposedly a good thing! :(

    Needless to say, we cut the conversation short, took our kids back to our camper and had a nice little discussion about how ALL people are people and not colors but SHEESH!

    Basically - I've found that you will have dumb people everywhere. Either try to love them where they're at and set a good example of something better or make some changes by getting involved in the area or move on. As my Pastor boss quite often says "Humans! :rolleyes: " LOL

    Hope you find a wonderful home.

    Nance
     
  19. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    You mean there are still places like that? Hmmm. I say, Hmmmm!!!! The last 30 years have changed a lot. The older folks, social security crowd, still holds onto a lot of the old beliefs...the younger crowd can't fathom what you're talking about.

    Forcing some group out? How does that happen? Guess if you've got thin skin maybe? If I didn't interact with other races, sexes, religions, crackpots, tinfoil hatters, rednecks, racists, coots, etc., I'd never get anything done. The good ol USA's just chockful of loons, good and bad. Work with em all, and only invite the good one's into your heart or your home.

    Goatchops...if I only dealt with like minded people, I'd deal with no one but myself and a literal handful of others. No offense if I said anything offensive, I was only trying to help.
     
  20. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Check out the history of Corbin, KY. Non-whites were driven out several times in the last century, and the hostility continues today. The town has such a whites-only reputation that they have trouble drawing any industry to their area--big businesses don't want to be associated with them. There was even a documentary done about it. My fiancee is from near there, so I know it's true. And I'm sure Corbin isn't the only place like that in the country.

    Checking the store employees for signs of diversity seems like a reasonable idea to me, if diversity is important to you.

    goatchops, I don't have any location ideas for you. I know that "Organic Style" magazine did a special on some "green communities" across the country maybe 5 or 6 months ago, but I'm sure those places are all really expensive. Why not just find land you like in a place you want to be, and go about building or retrofitting your own green house over time? The internet has demographic/cost of living/employment/etc. information on towns all over the country--maybe you could start your search that way. I like the idea of those communities, but they are expensive, and I haven't seen one that would "let" me do the things with my own land that I wanted. I think the communities are best for people who would otherwise be sub/urbanites--they don't want to use their land for anything other than kids playing and patio parties, and it's a good way for them to be more environmentally friendly. But for people who want to homestead, you're already living in a very green way, and you need the control over your own land to make it work for you.