Re-Grow Roots

Learning to live harmoniously in Missouri.

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Living in Intentional Community

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In March of this year our little family made the move from small town to intentional community at last! We had dreams of living amongst a group of like-minded, radically sustainable, egalitarian kinfolk for the past few years and when the perfect space made itself clear to us, we moved on in. So here we are at Oran Mór going on our fourth month and we absolutely love it! Building a life and raising our sweet Kalani Rain here with these beautiful people is a wonderful experience and we grow more each day.

Our values are very in sync with our fellow community members and they are based around love and respect for each other, the plants, the animals, and the earth by being sustainable and thoughtful in everything that we do. We hold daily meetings to discuss anything that might be on our minds and so we can coordinate projects, plans, and goals together. This keeps an open stream of communication flowing, an incredibly important aspect of communal living.

In four months we have achieved many goals and added many more to the ever-growing long-term and short-term lists. In hopes of inspiring and educating, I’m going to share with you some aspects of life here at the homestead. Enjoy!

Housing

the Catbox

the Catbox

Currently we are living in the main communal house, nicknamed “the Catbox”… Before Bunny and Pearl (Oran Mór founders) moved to this land, the Catbox was a large garage. They converted the space into a home with mostly salvaged materials about a decade ago. The electricity comes from two solar panels outside which provide light, a radio, and a minimal amount of other luxuries. It stays cool during the Summer because it is downslope in a riparian zone with trees providing shade. In the Winter we heat with a cozy wood stove. Water is brought in from the hand-pump well for drinking and we also have a rain water catchment on the building that we use for plants, animals, and other tasks. This is a multi-family dwelling which currently houses two families.

I’m so excited about our new housing project! We ordered a tipi from a pretty big, reputable company called Nomadic Tipis which is on it’s way to us as I write. This coming week we will be cutting down Cedars to make the tipi poles so we can set up our new tipi home! Our dream is to build a straw bale cob house, so this tipi will be a temporary dwelling. It will allow us to move up to La Lomah where we will set up more gardens, raise more chickens, and set up the vision of radically sustainable permaculture community that we share.

Food

We have two kitchen spaces. One is a communal space that utilizes electricity coming from the grid so this is where I’m plugged in typing up this blog. This is also where we have a few stove burners and do some of our cooking and where we have a refrigerator and freezer. The electricity is purchased from a renewable source, but is not produced on-site. We also cook using a cob oven in our Summer Kitchen several times a week. We bake pizzas, bread, make soups, turnovers, etc. Our extended community will be coming together next month to build Bio-Char stoves so that will be an added addition to the Summer Kitchen.

the Cob Oven

the Cob Oven

Our gardening style is primarily no-till and many of our beliefs stem from the permaculture philosophy. We grow as much as we can and supplement with local and organic foods. We believe that our food should be full circle, as in we grow food, eat food, and poop food so we use composting toilets and pee on trees. Every year we plant hundreds of native trees on the property, many nut and fruit-bearing varieties that we or the resident wildlife forage.

Currently all the residents here are meat eaters, but we tend to eat only what we raise and sometimes we get meat from friends and neighbors who we know raise their animals with love, respect, and freedom to roam. We live amongst dairy goats, hens, guineas, ducks, and geese (also dogs and cats, but we don’t eat those). The goats have a special place in my heart. Most mornings I tend to feeding and milking those lovely gals and making sure all the boys and kids have what they need. It’s a beautiful, nurturing way to start each day. When we decide that it’s time to kill one of our own, it is a ritual practice that we put much thought into and it normally occurs around a solstice, equinox, or other seasonal celebration. We have the utmost respect for various eating practices so all are welcome. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, it’s all good!

Our Values

The word sustainable can be used in a variety of ways, so I’ll clue you into our philosophies on sustainability. We believe that it is best for the planet and our co-inhabitants of planet Earth to step lightly and be minimal in our lives. We don’t have air conditioning, we only use hand tools, firearms are not permitted, there are no tractors or tillers, and we don’t watch television. Most of our days are spent outdoors living life, doing and being. Don’t be fooled though, we have plenty of fun here! We play music, tell stories, work together as a group, spend time watching lightning bugs, garden in the nude if you feel like it, swim in the creek, eat together, and play together. We have parties, celebrate the seasons, and rejoice in life. We do believe in working hard for our livelihood and we balance that with a very laid back approach and lots of down time.

The Vision Statement from our website:

“We envision and work for a community which embraces the following values:

  • Living simply in harmony with our environment, producing a healthy human habitat while enhancing biodiversity and honoring the wild beings that share our land;
  • Living with a positive, loving focus, resolving our differences non-violently, valuing cooperation and sharing, and fostering respect, honesty and responsibility in all relationships;
  • Encouraging and supporting individual creative expression and spiritual development, enjoying each other and celebrating each person’s unique contribution to community.”

Living in an intentional community is a dream come true for us. There are ups and downs just like anything, but we are here for each other through thick and thin. Open communication in a respectful and loving manner is the foundation because it creates a safe space where everyone is equal. Our dream is to become egalitarian in the coming months so everything will be shared equally amongst all here at Oran Mor. We have many dreams and one by one, we are checking them off the list.

For more information, check out our website.

Other Intentional Communities

If you are at all interested in living in an intentional community or have thought about starting your own, my advice is that you check out some of the many communities and farms around the country. Before moving into this community, I traveled for 3-4 years living and working at several farms and communities. This allowed me to realize the aspects I love and the aspects I don’t are for and figure out a clear idea of what I’m looking for in community. To get started, here are some links to communities around the USA:

 

Have you though about living in an intentional community? Please share your experiences and questions!

 

 

 

Author: regrowroots

I am abundant love, joy, and healer.

14 thoughts on “Living in Intentional Community

  1. Dez, I enjoyed reading your blog this am. My husband, Jon and I also have the goal of living simply through simple living, connecting to the land and to our neighbors, and what I call “cycling” (recycling) all that we have, as much as is possible. We’ve lived in an intentional community in the past and now we are busy creating a community of neighbors who share and care for one another through exchanges of: good will, rides, equipment, information, food, etc. etc. Our exchange is called the Ozarks Neighborly Exchange (neighbors helping neighbors) and one of our goals is to set an example for others to follow. We hope that even if you don’t happen to live “in community”, you (all of you) can start a similar group to help care for one another. The rewards can be amazing. Jule

    • Thank you for reading and for your kind words, Jule! I am so happy and blessed to be part of this extended neighborhood community. Even if you are not living in an intentional community, you can build community anywhere you are. Reach out to your neighbors, friends, and family and develop communal resources. :) Thank you so much for pointing that out Jule.

  2. I’ve always been interested in a ‘community’ type lifestyle and found your article quite interesting. I’m not as big into the whole ‘no air-conditioning’ thing you guys have going on over there, but the idea of lightening everyone’s load by sharing space, and especially the sense of community is what appeals the most. Great post!

    ~A

    • I’m happy to say that there are a plethora of intentional communities in the United States and around the world. It is becoming much more mainstream for people to choose community. There are several which have more ammenities than we choose to live with, so if you are truly interested I’m sure you will find the perfect place for you!

      • Honestly, my parents actually have a great place for such a thing, but our lifestyles are too different to be able to live harmoniously, unfortunately. My fiancee would never be comfortable there.

        It’s something I’ve considered trying to start (on a small scale), but couldn’t ever get my head around the logistics of it all, lol.

        Thank you very much for answering my questions :)

        A.

      • There are so many intentional communities around. I advise anyone interested in starting one, to first check out those that already exist! I will update this blog post with some links because it’s truly so important! My partner and I spent years traveling to all sorts of farm and communities before settling here!

      • Well, I’m not sure if my fiancee will ever reach the point where he would consider living in a place like that, but I have begun to put feelers out to a few friends to see if anyone is interested in pooling our resources to buy food in bulk and simply split it up between households. It’s a start :)

      • That’s a great start! Work together with your local community and share what you can. I have been to some cities where they have Tool Shares, Free Boxes, Free Stores, shops on the square where you can barter instead of use money, Little Free Libraries, Free Skools… there are so many resources that you can plug into or create in your area.

      • I definitely think it’s something worth looking into… I just started a box in my house of things we don’t need/use, and will talk to my friends about doing the same, and try to put together an ‘exchange’ day or something, where everyone brings their stuff, and we hang out, cook out or whatever and give and take off of the ‘exchange table’ and whatever’s still up for grabs at the end of the day, drop it off at the Goodwill or something… unless we can think of a way to give the remainder for free to anyone who wants it.

  3. Out of curiosity… how do y’all pay for things? Obviously you grow much of what you actually consume, and you mentioned solar power, but you also use other things (like grid power for the other kitchen) and what about things you have to pay for, like property taxes, healthcare, etc.? I’ve always wondered how these things were taken care of.

    • That’s a great question! Might be a topic for another article sometime… We are working towards generating enough revenue from the farm and community to afford everything that we purchase, but we aren’t there yet. I do have two businesses that I operate here on the land. One of them is Roots Apothecary where I make herbal preparations, which you can check out here – http://www.rootsapothecary.com – and the other is Re-Grow Roots where I sell my crochet creations – regrowroots.etsy.com . I sell online and at the local farmers market. We are working on starting a local co-op as well. One of our members is a paramedic so the bulk of our income comes from his job outside of the community. We are egalitarian so all the money goes into one pot and is equally shared and we are transitioning towards being more self sustaining here on the land.

      • I’d seen the links for both of your businesses on the side of your blog, but wasn’t sure if they were yours or if they were advertisement you were getting revenue from through your blog.

        I assumed that one or some of the people who lived there had an ‘outside’ job, simply from a logical standpoint, but I wasn’t sure if that would be the case.

        I read on another site that one community (I think it was somewhere in England, actually) offers classes and workshops to the community to aid in revenue, things like gardening or butter-churning or something (actually, I’m making up the workshops, because I can’t remember exactly what examples they used, but it was something along those lines).

        Thanks for answering my question, and I think it would make a great post for your blog :)

  4. Pingback: Denver Post: Retiree embraces volunteering as a full-time occupation « WWOOF-USA

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