Anyone doing sustainable living or visited one?

DanaHealer(z7b AL)May 19, 2002

I know my path is to create a sustainable living community like an eco-village. I am gathering as much info as possible like how they started, what worked what didn't, and how people leaving the community took something away with them to create a win-win situation.

Have any of you visited a community like this or know of any. I would really like to get more info thanks.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ReuseRob(z6 SE OH)

I haven't visited it yet, but there is a community in Summertown Tennessee that has special weekends for folks to visit where they highlight all their workshops and practices. I have a friend who got certified in permaculture there. Check out the link below, it has all the information you would need.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Farm

    Bookmark   May 19, 2002 at 12:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
DanaHealer(z7b AL)

Yes, i am familiar with the farm and plan to attend one of there workshops in the fall. Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2002 at 9:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
seraphima(z4 AK)

My experience is that it takes a number of years to move off the grid, as there are so many elements to be considered. For example, I am currently looking for a push mower to replace the power mower, and cut down on use of gas. I bought one of those nifty hand pressure washers, and use it to supplement my electric wash. When not working, I can use it more. Using the grain grinder to make all our hot cereal meant installing it in the kitchen where it was handy. Heating with wood took putting in a whole new chimney, and developing wood storage, methods of lighting, carrying, making brushpiles for twigs, etc. etc.

The trick is to start someplace and keep going. I'm not off the grid, but we could be without too much hassle, for weeks at a time.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2002 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here in the NW, if you want to travel, the Aprovecho Research Institute in central Oregon grows most of their own food for the staff and 10-15 interns. The interns live in a large straw-bale house constructed from wood from their forest harvested with horses. A lot of research goes into energy-efficient wood stoves for the third world. They are pretty much self-sufficient in their solar energy use, giving extra energy they make to the grid and taking energy from the grid when needed. Their website is

Another cool place I've been to is River Farm in northwest Washington. They are more community-oriented, with several families living together on the farm property. A lot of their food is grown on-site, and they are mostly off the grid. Forest land is also stewarded there. Their website is at

    Bookmark   May 21, 2002 at 10:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mike_stubbs(8, Bastrop, TX)

I visited with Kirby Fry of Cross Timbers Permaculture Guild yesterday for about 2 and a half hours. He does not have an eco-village set up yet but is highly interested in people buying up the land around where he is and joining in.
His place is about 40 miles east of Austin,Texas off of US 290. He was very open to showing me what he had done and willing to listen to what I had done and want to do around my place.
Mike Stubbs

    Bookmark   June 13, 2002 at 6:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jillrob(NC 8)

You might want to take a look through the website of the CoHousing Network. Some (not all) cohousing communities are ecovillages. If you follow the link for "Community List" (top left), there's a listing of states, you can pick the state you're interested in and get a list of cohousing communties in that state. Many of them have websites.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Cohousing Network

    Bookmark   June 14, 2002 at 6:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've never visited such a community but find the idea fascinating. I have looked around on the web at various communities, many of which are included in the "intentional communities web ring" (see link below).


Here is a link that might be useful: intentional communities web ring

    Bookmark   June 14, 2002 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
locust(z9 CA)

I used to live in an eco-village in suburb of san francisco. We had fruit trees, an enormous labyrinth of raised beds, a gigantic worm bin and chickens. A wild herb garden in the front.
What got in the way of the way of the effeciency of the permaculture design is what I like to call the Cain paradigm. The garden being a place of work. A duty.
Something to be scheduled in and sweated over on garden work day rather than some place to just be in deep relationship with and enjoyed. I remember early on being shocked to find that lots of the wonderful foods and herbs that grew in the garden were being unharvested.

Its the paradigms and psychological deep seeded beliefs of the residents that made the thing superbly challenging.

In our eco village community we had a lot of very open people, which caused lots of social drama, (like you wouldn't believe.) Paradigms clash. Especially since you think you're on the same page when you sign up.

I still want to live in a eco-village though. I think it's a beautiful step towards a saying "yes" to life.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2003 at 2:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Willow_Summerland(NW AZ)

We are also still in the planning stages of our permaculture village. We have bought the 40 acres of land where we want to start it and plan to build sandbag dome houses for residents. We bought a book called "Building with Earth" by Paulina Wojciechowska. She was a student of Cal-Earth in California. Cal-Earth is a very interesting place to learn how to build homes from whatever materials you have. They teach people from third world countries how to create shelters for their people. You can find them through a Google search for Cal-Earth.
We are planning to start building this fall and hope to live on the land completely self-sustained by fall of 2004. We are putting in a closed water system, using composting toilets and wind energy, using hoop houses to grow fruits and veggies all year round and will raise our own goats for milk, sheep for wool, rabbits for meat and fur, and chickens for meat and eggs. We are planning to do a market gardening business to make enough money for those things we can't grow or make ourselves
We are open to the right people joining us. Though 40 acres isn't that much land so you need to make sure that everyone can get along with each other. We have been screening interested parties recently but have yet to find those on the same wave length that we are on. I'm happy to answer people's questions anytime. Once we are up and running we will offer workshops to those who want to learn how to do what we're doing also. I'll let everyone know when those start.
We have been researching for several years in order to accomplish this since it's definitely not something that happens over night. Good luck to all of you who are in the process of living this wonderful way of life.
We are calling our village "Summerland"


    Bookmark   July 17, 2003 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i am at this point interested in forming an intentional community. check i think that is the most comprehensive source. yahoo has an i. c. forum, but so far i don't like it, but you might. i wasn't sure if you were mainly interested in community, or sustainable living. as someone suggested, the farm is a community thar has been around for avery long time. stelle. il is another long standing intentional communiy, that is very interedted in permaculture.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joel_bc(z6 BC)

Hi. I've visited a number of experiments in this direction in the last 15 years in Canada. Some seemed to have little hope of making it.

This past Septemeber I visited Findhorn Foundation Community in Scotland. It developed near the 300-year-old coastal village called Findhorn. It started out on trailer-park land, but they've bought the land and some surrounding land. Out of the 100 or so residents (as opposed to workshop-takers and visitors) on the FoundationÂs land, some have been there only a short while and some have been there for as much as 40-something years.

Because of the houses that have been put up and are lived in, and the craft workshops, business offices, mediation center, natural-food store, playground, children bicycling around, etc, the place has the feeling of a functioning "real community. They have a system of community currency that seems to be used quite a bit.

I met people some of whom had been living in the community for fifteen years or more. Of course, they view the community as a process. ItÂs not without challenges, problems, and all the other things that go with living with other people anywhere. There was a big financial crisis (I believe it was 8 or 12 years ago, somewhere in that range). Things like the "Living Machine" (community waste processing, utilizing plants and small organisms in a large greenhouse) and the wind turbine electricity represented big up-front expenses. An emphasis on paid stays and workshops is one important source of income.

As my two and a half days did not coincide with any of the guided tours they offer (for a modest fee), I did a self-tour. I walked through the community, went to the visitor center, walked all around in the main gardens, went over to the Living Machine, and out to view the wind turbines prviding communityp power. I also ate in the community café, bought food at the natural food store, and visited the pottery studio, and the Trees for Life (central-Scottish reforestation project office). I talked with the people at Trees for Life on two successive days, the second time for about an hour.

The large production-garden area has outdoor (raised-bed, etc) patches, beds, and rows, as well as two large greenhouses. All is very productive. They use mulches and there are huge compost piles. YouÂd need it here with the basically sand soil! This market-garden space supplies the natural food store and café, and possibly other places/people as well. It is a pretty real place  the plants generally look healthy and strong.

There is a beautiful flower, shrub, and tree garden started about 40 years ago. There are lots of other trees, shrubs, and flowering plants strewn around and many people have nice food or decorative gardens in their home's yard.

There seem to be a diversity of philosophies among the residents, but a general 'new-age consensus' of some sort.

I don't know too much more than this.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was born in an intentional community 50 years ago, and have been involved in alternative sustainable living in one form or another ever since. In general, the failures vastly outnumber the success's. Idealism and a lack of rational acceptance of real circumstances tend to be the common thread in the failures. My conclusion is that evolutionary changes have a decent chance of success, and revolutionary changes almost always fail. Start from where you are, pick a direction, and head there one step at a time, adjusting course and technic as you go. Pragmatism and creative search for synergies are the most important values for success. I have given up on intentional communities. Work within your existing community and let intentions and spontaneous opportunism drive your results rather than preconceived values or plans. Was it Confucious who said that the journey of one thousand miles begins with but a single step ?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 2:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Volunteer Wanted at Off-Grid B&B in Missouri, USA
I'm in my 6th year of building a sustainable bed &...
Raised bed HugelKulture?
Hi all! I'm still reading, so this might have been...
I signed up for online permaculture course with Geoff Lawton
So, after coming to the conclusion that I probably...
Setting up water cistern for local school-need help!
Hi, My son is trying to set up a water cistern as his...
duck/chicken scratch yard in TX
Hi all, I'm currently raising chickens and will be...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™