Intentional Communities: Are They Just for the Entitled?

in homesteading •  5 months ago

Do you remember the community feeling of summertime as a kid?

I can still remember the smell of pine trees, gardening with my mom, and eating popsicles in the woods with my neighbors, while we climbed on boulders and looked for turtles by the stream. We had BBQ's, flashlight tag, and pool days with my cousins. I went to a summer camp with the rustic cabins, communal meals, campfires, and the glimmering lake in the distance.

The one underlying factor was the community. Especially as a single parent, I want that--every day, for the rest of my life.

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I have a dream, as do many other moms in my sphere of influence. I have a vision of an intentional community that satisfies my need for support, sisterhood, and extended family for my child. That would allow me to continue to stay home, but cut my cost of living down so that I could focus on my child, without the added stress of the rising cost of living. This dream is so vivid, so planned out, that sometimes I get choked up thinking about it and what it would do for my family.

But the problem lies in the execution.

The majority of co-housing and intentional communities do not have financial affordability as one of the main characteristics. In fact, most expect you to buy a property, which is just not feasible for the majority of people who long for a community that is supportive emotionally and financially.

Where do we go from here? Where do we go when it’s becoming increasingly clear that many of us strive for an affordable environment that fulfills our need for community?
What are our options? Are intentional communities just for the entitled and/or wealthy?

I long for a property that has land and plenty of woods for children to roam, run, and just be children.

-The property would have an old farmhouse where the first floor was devoted to community spaces, homeschooling rooms, lounging, crafts, workshop/yoga spaces, and communal dining.
-The upstairs living spaces would be for guests or families in need of a supportive living environment while they transition to single parenting or handle temporary financial crisis.
-The property would also have a workshop and barn for social gatherings with the larger community.
-Each family would live in their own tiny house, RV, or camper.
-An intentional community could provide a place where we could live, work, and learn together.

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Here are some options to make this dream a reality:

  1. Start by renting/buying a property where we could live communally, without private living quarters. (This option could either be a dream come true or complete hell.)
  2. Find a property that already has a main house and is legally allowed to also have tiny homes or campers on the property.
  3. Buy an old campground, summer camp, or trailer park community.
  4. Start a new community from the ground up.

The possibilities are endless, but most involve financial backing. The majority of families that need it the most are focused on raising kids, finding ways to support their families while staying home, and/or homeschooling their children.
Undoubtedly, there is a need for communities like this all over the country, especially for single parents.

Are you a single parent or a one income family? What would your ideal living situation look like?

Do you think an intentional community could add value to your life?

Written by Elizabeth Klebart

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This is my dream as well! I have been fortunate enough to meet a group of families in my area, Northeast Texas, who also share this dream for themselves and their families. We have been more seriously discussing how to make this a reality. I agree the execution is the hardest part. We own a property that could be suitable to start, 10 acres, heavily wooded, unrestricted but we struggle to figure out the details. Would we income share, what would the others do with their properties, how would we divide responsibilities, etc. We have found a couple successful intentional communities in the Ozarks and Virginia that we want to visit to get ideas.

I am finding there is a growing number of people interested in this concept. Especially homeschooling parents who value nature, sustainability and quality time with their kids.

I have been wanting this so bad for several years and feel like we are moving in the right direction but I am growing impatient and want it to happen now. I just don't know how?!?

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Awesome post thank you for the great read I have upvoted and resteemd your post

I think is a good idea, and also intentional communities would help families who don't have a good economic status to get help from others and reduce their monthly expenses.

Your idea is very good and unique . Go ahead

when discouraging your story @homestead-guru ,i am sad,remembered the memories when there was a mother 😭

This is the kind of thing I want too, some form of it anyway. I like having both individual and shared spaces.

To be honest I think it's probably contrary to entitlement. Entitlement looks more like hermetically sealed "family" houses in a sprawling suburbs, relying on a massive infrastructure for your ever need but giving very little back except tithes in the form of begrudgingly paid taxes and service fees. It's not that it's such a nice life to be in that tangled web, but more that the isolated lives allow people to not have to reckon with the environment, each other and the systems of which they are a part and depend on.

From a land use perspective I'm not sure if it's efficient though. There are a lot of factors and I'm not an expert. Probably depends a lot on what area of the world you are in and what the specific local challenges are. I know there are places around me barely used that a good sized homestead could be built on, if only the government would allow it.

I'm researching some of this stuff at the moment, leaning towards a rent-to-buy model perhaps. Followed you and looking forward to reading about your journey.

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just live in VR until you have the support to be confident enough to become a workaholic and raise yourself the money to buy the property in the community you know you actually do need. We cant act like that whole buying a house thing isnt an option, theres a ton of options for cheap land and tiny homes that let you star out with something perfect for a year or two until you can save up for something bigger if you even care to at that point, you may wanna just build more tiny homes or extend it, i love the idea of just modular tiny homes that you can just stack up next to each other, with a big giant courtyard in the middle, OR a big space in the middle u can turn into your giant living room :) I imagine a nice indoor outdoor arrangement where you have soil in your living space with just towel like carpets over them or GRASS yeah grass, and towels over the dirt where grass isnt there , and plants, so grass if you can, carpets or no rugs if you cant get grass growing and then have lights on a timer on a cycle like indoor growing, and sprinklers, and have your indoor space have plants growing and just make everything a space for growing food indoor, imagine a child growing up in a house thats completely natural , all the creature comforts but grass on the ground instead of carpet and plants and trees growing indoor, fruit trees and other food plants groiwing indoor would just be so funny :D just pick tomatoes off the ground and eat :)

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My biggest issue is getting into hundreds of thousands of Euro in debt. It's only a matter of time until the next financial crash and property prices in Ireland are already going up a lot, people are selling now because of it and I've read that people are already talking about the economy "overheating".

My preference would be to build something very small on a little land but in Ireland we have a lot of regulation about building, restrictions on where you can build to where you have a "housing need". You need to prove you need to live there, it helps if it was the area you grew up. Strange I know, I think the idea is to keep communities together and stop outsiders coming in and building lots of houses in cool areas, i.e. gentrification and other things like that.

So maybe buying a small rural house I think with some land or some land around it I could buy some day after I've established the strange "housing need"!

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Also yea that would be crazy, a grass floor, I would love to do that for some part of a semi indoor semi outdoor part of a self build house. I have a kid and she'd love it I'm sure.

active participation & creating goodwill are the opposite of being a modern citizen: a selfish consumer, creating trash.

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Having actually lived in a "community" I can tell that many more things come into play. Experience is the ultimate wisdom. Communal living was a disaster and we had all of the same hopes and expectations as listed in this article.

After having left, I began researching communities. I researched the religious ones, the pagan ones, even the Israeli Kibbutz. One thing they ALL have in common. HIGH TURNOVER.

More research led me to find why these issues exist. I found all kinds of issues. I made two videos on my findings.

Just my experience...do your own research.

I really enjoy your perspective and practical approach as well. It would also be great if like-minded people wanting to raise their family in this fashion could network and communicate with each other (like other decentralized chains;-) ). That would help home-schooling communities to evolve, broaden traveling and other opportunities for parents and children. Of course the internet and other resources can make learning easier in smaller social circles too. I have thought about places for a while that would be great for this purpose- access to large cheap land, good growing season, water access, etc. and have my own visions =D There are ways permaculture and agroforestry techniques could bring plenty of abundance and even wealth for those who plan these communities properly <3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts on #homesteading and #intentionalcommunities :-) .