by Dave Scandurra
We have a dream of creating an intentional community here on Cape Cod, or in southeastern Massachusetts. We are seeking community-minded folks who also share our vision of creating a community somewhere in southeastern MA sometime in the next 1-5 years. We will have 1-3 rooms opening up within the year.
The most important aspects of our community:
~Egalitarian.We are big fans of egalitarianism which is the belief that all people deserve equal rights and opportunities. All people will have an equal voice, equal access to community resources, and all labor in the community is valued the same (an hour of cooking is valued the same as an hour of carpentry, for example). Our goal is to affiliate with the Federation of Egalitarian communities (www.fec.org).
~Inter-generational. We want to create an inter-generational/multi-generational community where we take care of our elders while raising up the next generation of humans- truly a full circle. In a perfect world, we would be able to take care of elders till the end of their life, bypassing the need for nursing home. And when it comes to children, we would love a critical mass of parents and kids so we could create our own childcare set up and/or home school.
~Shared Businesses. We want to start and run community-owned, ecologically-based businesses. We currently own and operate a profitable Edible Landscaping company here on the Cape (www.ediblelandscapes.net), but we want to find people who are excited about the following businesses: specialty perennial edible plant nursery and seed business, online store (for plants, seeds, books, tools, etc.), herbal products, foraged and farmed floral arrangements and art, niche farming (micro-greens, high profitability market gardening, mushrooms), education/workshops (classes, field trips, etc), and we are open to others’ thoughts on what businesses could fit into this mosaic.
~Location. Our target location is southeastern Massachusetts. Currently, our core of three people is based here on Cape Cod, where we are running an organic landscaping company. The fact that the business is making money here makes it hard to leave any time soon. But in the long term, once we have solid community momentum and if our online store is doing good, we are open to moving anywhere in southeastern New England.
~Permaculture. We are big believers in the potential of permaculture, especially as it applies to community and ecologically-based business. Permaculture is a cohesive set of ethics, principles and practices that help guide the stewardship of an ecosystem to ensure resilience and abundance to all its inhabitants (human and non-human alike). Permaculture means meeting human needs while improving ecosystem health. Permaculture is more of a design science that can be employed when designing anything from a forest garden, to a house, or even a village. It’s a holistic approach to land design, human design, life design or any kind of design.
These are the five pillars of our vision.
We also have a three-phase timeline:
Phase 1: The next 1-3 years
We are currently renting a big beautiful home in Barnstable on 2 beautiful acres with great gardens. We plan to keep renting this home for the next 1-3 years, depending on who comes into the fold and how quickly we can move toward phase 2… We have a greenhouse, an irrigated veggie garden, a ton of edible perennials in the ground and lots of potential. We are renting this home from the mother of one of the core members. We expect 1-3 rooms to open up within the next year or so. When these rooms become vacant, we want to fill them with solid community-minded people. We want to get our core group solidified, so that we can figure out who is “in it for the long haul.” When we feel really good about our group and we have trust in each other, we can move on to phase 2.
Phase 2: Buying a home
Once we feel ready and that we are all on the same page, we plan to buy a property as a group. This would most likely be here on Cape Cod (or just over the bridge) and will ideally have at least 2 acres, a big home, good privacy, and enough space outside for our permaculture/farming projects. This could happen in any number of ways, but what this will likely look like will be creating a 501d entity. This 501d entity will technically be who buys/owns the property. Eventually any individual contributions made by core members will be paid back by the entity. Another way of funding this would be through so called “angel investors,” or even some kind of crowdfunding campaign. Also, the funding could be a hybrid of: individual contributions from core members, angel investors and a crowdfunding campaign. The whole point of phase 1 is for us to be living together so we’ll have plenty of time to figure this out. Once we get ourselves into our home, we can get to work on phase 2. Phase 2 will be very exploratory. We will try out some of the business ideas, see which ones work for our context. The goal of phase 2 is to tighten up our community, make it work, prove that it works, and figure out what can be scaled up for phase 3.
Phase 3: Scaling up
In the long term, we would love to create a larger intentional community / eco-village on a 50+ acre piece of land that could potentially support 50+ people, somewhere in southern New England. We would love it to be a demonstration site of what is possible when permaculture is applied in the community context. It could take 10, 20 or 30 years to get there, but we still want to keep this goal simmering on the back burner. To give some idea of things we’d love to see in the phase 3 community, we are thinking about creating large scale agro-ecology/agroforestry/silvopasture/permaculture/regenerative farming systems, as well as a storefront/market to sell our diverse products, infrastructure for agri-tourism/education, a hospice-esque building for elders who need extra end of life care, a nature-based school and daycare, ultra-ecological waste treatment (something like John Todd’s Living Machine), conference rooms and retreat center infrastructure, commercial kitchen and big dining hall, gym/sauna/fitness area, camping areas, a big meeting space/auditorium, tiny house sites, communal houses, etc. This is why it could take 30+ years to build. But we are big believers in having epic dreams.
A final point: We are firmly against oppression and violence. We want to foster nonviolent communication, empathy and compassion within our community. We want to create a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ folks and folks of all races, ethnicity, gender identity and spirituality.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. We have been having monthly potlucks called “community conversations.” We just get together to share food and brainstorm and talk about our future community dreams and visions. If you have any questions or would like to be in the loop, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about yourself. We are excited to hear from you!
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