Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Have a Dream


Lately I have been ruminating on a new way of living. A lifestyle I have not even considered for the last forty years, since the 1960's, but has been a recurring thought that bubbles up with some frequency. I don't know if it's the state of the world, the economy, my age, or some intuitive thought processes that lives deep in my psyche. But I have the feeling that I should put together a "shared resources" community of like-minded people. I have gone so far as to find property. I have designed the perimeters in my mind. I have thought of the book that I would write as it progressed, giving others a template for their own community. They could learn from the mistakes we made.

In this community the land would be owned by all, like a condo project, and small, "green", homes would be built into the landscape. There would be open spaces for wildlife, marshes for migration, large organic gardens, and shared items, such as cars, trucks, tractors, etc. A common exercise room and maybe even a pool. Another possibility could be a child-care facility for working parents, a large common kitchen for canning and baking, etc.

Is this a waste of time?

It may be, but I'm not alone. It seems others have been imagining, and designing, a world based on Cooperatism. Phantsythat did a blog post on an economic system, already in place, that utilizes a system of sharing, as opposed to capitalism or communism. It was very interesting, and I plan on reading the book she recommended.

In the meantime, I continue to dream, look at property, and see a world that moves beyond greed, to one of sharing and cooperation.

48 comments:

Brian Miller said...

that would be pretty cool...there are several that i have studied, usually in larger cities...intriguing, really.

Meeko Fabulous said...

That would be awesome. It would eventually be like a big family. I think that would be nice.

Sophia said...

I heard about this movement a year or so ago and never (honestly) gave it any thought. I'm hearing about it again. In some ways, it is intriguing, but in other ways...it scares me. I want to read more about this.

luksky said...

Sounds very intriguing AND a stroke of genius. :-)

lakeviewer said...

Both cool and awesome, Brian's and Meeko's words, and they are not in any way remembering the 60's. You are on to something BIG here. Tell us more.

Star said...

It's a good dream. One thing for sure is that things need to change drastically or we will all perish in years to come.
Last night I was watching a cookery competition programme over here. The judges were being very 'picky' about the ingredients and the way they were cooked. In the next news item there was talk about another famine in Ethiopia. How does that equate with the fussy judges in the previous programme. I don't think the Ethiopians would be fussy if they had a plate of food to eat even if it wasn't perfectly cooked or attractively presented.
Likewise later on there was an item about a 70 stone man, yes 70 stone, he was!!! He needed surgery and couldn't get out of bed at all. There weren't any fat people in Auschwitz, were there. Glands, phooey, greed, yes. Eat less, get thin, it's that simple. Etc. etc.
Blessings, Star
Blessings, Star

Chris Wolf said...

love it! Dreams can't come true if you don't have any!

Joanne said...

There's so much good that stemmed from the youth of the 60s, and it's actually refreshing to read this post. It's sad to think that this type of thinking, these ideals, died with Altamont and the Viet Nam turbulence, etc, that ended an era. I'll be fascinated with following along with your idea here!

ellen abbott said...

I think it's a great idea. I've thought the same over the years. The problems you get with this kind of set up are the people who take out more than they put in. Hard to balance it all I think so that bad feelings don't arise. But it makes so much sense. I would love to live in a community like that.

Whitney Lee said...

It's a fantastic idea. I've thought about something similar myself, even going so far as to mentally select the people who I would like to live on the land with my husband and me.
If you actually do get the opportunity to pursue this dream, keep us posted. It's definitely a book I would read with interest.
It wouldn't surprise me if this is the new wave of the future. We are already embracing the 'less is more' philosophy and there is a great movement towards locally grown and organic items. This is quite similar but on a larger scale.

Natalie said...

We will have to do something to help ourselves.

TheChicGeek said...

What a wonderful post, Nancy, and such a beautiful picture.
I think your dream is a beautiful one. Why not go for it? If it keeps coming to your mind I believe you should continue to follow the call.
Cooperative living can work and work very, very well. I have always loved the idea of living in a natural environment, living off the land...it is a romantic idea. I do believe there are difficulties with it too. I'd imagine finding the right group of people would be the hard part.

In Western times people lived in small communities, had farms, had a philosophy to work together and help one another. In today's modern society I think people are much more selfish and spoiled. Most seem to want it all...they want it their way or they tell you to hit the highway. It takes open-minded, caring people to make this work.

I love the idea of it and I would love to read about your adventures making this dream come true. I see you doing it....and doing it well and being very happy!

Wishing for all your best and biggest, brightest dreams to come true!
Love and Hugs to You!
Kelly

susan said...

Phantsy my surprise finding a link to a Crow post. He's always been a bit of a dreamer you know but he reminded me of when we had our city commune in Vancouver BC and a group of people we met back then - part of the Rainbow Family. You might find some interesting information through them with the added benefit of knowing they've been active in N. America for more than 35 years. Your dream has a strong foundation, my friend.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

I think this would be especially enticing to many retired people, as it could become a self-sustaining community. A place where everyone looked out for everyone else in a myriad of ways. Very intriguing Nancy. Of course, the right people with the right attitude would have to be selected. Maybe a personality test??? Would that be going too far?

Nancy said...

Brian - Do share! A blog post?

Meeko - Exactly.

Sophia - I'm going to study this concept this winter. It will be my winter project. Maybe something interactive with all of you.

luksy - There are people that are very successful at this lifestyle - they can teach us much, I think.

lakeviewer - Maybe a reading list on my sidbar for books I'll be exploring - have any suggestions?

Star - We need to change in a big way, very soon. Think globally, act locally.

Chris - My thoughts exactly!

Joanne - I agree. Maybe we need to revive them, and look at things differently.

ellen - I think it would only work with like-minded people. I haven't figured out the perimeters to that just yet. :-)

Whitney - You and I are on the same wavelength!

Natalie - That's what I'm thinking.

Chic - Thanks! Will share all info that I come up with. Suggestions for reading material is appreciated.

susan - I will check them out. You are an inspiration!

Elizabeth - I've thought of that. Myers-Briggs? But I haven't gotten that far yet. I do think retired people who wish to be active in a community would be great. They bring a lifetime of experience. I envision a mixed generation environment. It actually is the most healthy, both for children and retirees. You also need young adults and everything in between. The most important trait will be a shared vision.

otin said...

I hate to be a pessimist, but I don't think it would work. People are too self centered to live like that.

Emom said...

Consider interviewing former commune members, I am quite sure you will get some interesting feedback....across the spectrum...smiles.

Gaia said...

Yes dream big and make it happen. This is a dream with a heart. Bless you.

Nancy said...

Otin - It would take the right people, that's for sure, and even then it would be a challenge.

Emom - I will do that!

Gaia - I think it will be a thing of the future. I really do. We will eventually be forced to live in a sustainable manner, one way or the other.

Lydia said...

Nancy, ever since your first tantalizing post introducing your dream it has popped into my mind more times than you could imagine. It's great that you are really considering it.
I do not know if anyone has bought Otis, Oregon. The town may still be for sale. Information here and here and here.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Guess I will have to take a trip to Otin's blog, since I tend to agree with him......

Julie said...

Sounds like a place I would like live. Peaceful, slow, happy, clean and quiet.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Great philosophy and dream. It would require high level group dynamic skills, problem-solving skills, with a huge accent not just on the tasks that need to be performed but on how to maintain respectful relationships. When no one works on the maintaining of relationships, work groups often collapse.

Bogey said...

The Mennonites live in communities such as what you describe. Although they live in their own homes, the way they share of themselves within their congregations would be a great place to look for an ideal template. Simple and basic.

linda said...

what a beautiful photograph and an even more beautiful post....if only this were to become possible, it would be like a dream...I remember those communes, even visited one or two at one time but remember them as not quite so idyllic however that was not today and I think the aesthetic of people today is different, more demanding and diverse, which COULD lead to something incredibly wonderful....however the terms, obligations, expectations and possibilities for failure seem to be immense as well...it remains to be seen if it will actually come to fruition but I do hope it does...

in our immediate family, we have already discussed much about this very subject as living with four children on not a very high wage and wanting natural food, a garden and all the best living in the country has to offer is not possible for them UNLESS they move home and we make a go of it...a dream perhaps but then again, perhaps not!

Cloudia said...

These thoughts are definitely coming back around. Many of us have the same dreams....as if we had practiced before for this time when we are the wise old heads...


Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Nancy said...

Lydia - The little town would be perfect - it even has a cafe!

Kathy - It's a challenge!

Julie - That's the idea.

Bonnie - I've been thinking about these things. I think having something small to begin with, and then see where it goes. You're right, it would take people willing to put the effort into getting along and getting things done. A shared vision.

Bogey - I think people would have their own homes, with a multiple condo-type building for rentals. I will definitely check out this group. I remember studying them in Anthropology.

linda - I have discussed this with our family as well. They are all for it. I think it has become so hard for families to get by, that this living arrangement is becoming something to consider. The trick is to have the property near urban areas where there is work.

Cloudia - You may have a point!

Lori ann said...

We've dreamt about doing this very thing in our family for some time now. My husbands parents have talked of looking for land, for them, my husband and i, my five children, their significant others, my husbands sister and my parents too, we would be a community ourselves with this many people. It's my favourite dream. I can just see all those little houses, filled with everyone I love.

Paula said...

Havnt heard of something similar here in Germany but that is very much up my alley. Yes, we have to take care of ourselves and this would be a healthy way to do so. You go girl. BTW, nothing wrong in day dreaming, creating air castles, the way I observe you, you are just going to roll up your sleeves and build the foundation under the air castles.

Gaston Studio said...

Sounds cool to me... and one should never give up on their dreams. Go girl!

Hilary said...

I think that if anyone could make something like this work, it would be you. Shades of the 60's ideals with a few decades of experience and maturity behind it.

The Good Cook said...

Nancy - you are not alone in this dream. When TBHITW and I were in Massachusetts we looked at a 120 acre plot of land... I imagine raising chickens, goats, beef cattle. Making my own cheese, raising organic vegetables.. My sister and her husband want to buy in too. We are tired, so tired of living in a crowded, dirty, dog eat dog world.. there just has to be something better.. right?

Rather than a community living space my thought was to run a B&B - where my guests could experience raising food the way it is supposed to be raised, then doing workshops on the preparation and storing (canning, freezing) of that food...

Anyway, that's my dream. I am going back in November to look at the land again. TBHITW wants to build a house that's completely off the grid, using wind and solar power as our sole source of energy.. dreams CAN come true...

Nancy said...

Lori ann - It sounds terrific. We have considered just our family, and that may be as far as I can take it, but I really like the idea of a broader community. You're right - you have enough people for a community within itself. I hope it happens!

Paula - It is quite a project. I hope it comes to fruition, but you will never know, unless you try.

Gaston - Thanks!

Hilary - I think that is the only reason I'm taking this seriously. Even with the ideals, education, and experience this will be a challenge. But my feeling is that we have to become more self reliant, sustainable, and interdependent. What better way than to have a community with the same ideals?

Good Cook - Oh, you and I need to talk! This sounds fabulous. One of my dreams in the past was a B&B! You have a great idea. I do believe we are heading in this direction, for all the reasons you stated, and the sustainability factor. Love to hear more about "off the grid", as that is something I am exploring, also. Please feel free to add to the reading list I'm going to post on my side bar for winter reading.

Marguerite said...

Although I lived in several communes in the early seventies, I'm not sure that I would want to live this way, now. The privacy factor would have to be considered, as well. It's a great concept, though, and would probably work very well for some people.

Pat said...

The way the economy is going - this would be the way to go. I could see these little "communities" springing up all over. It's a great concept.

Kay said...

I think it is quite simply a common dream, one of which mankind can't seem to master, the idea, the concept a great one! Keep dreaming :) p.s. i mean that genuinely.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

as you know, nancy, i certainly more than agree with the concept - and love that you are pursuing it - aside from all the communes of yesteryear, my kids [all adult] and i have often talked of doing the same thing - a family commune - buying a large property - maybe separate homes on it rather than one large communal residence, but a communal garden, work space, etc. - perhaps that's more of a compound - but our concept was that of communal living - and as recently as two years ago, we searched for property here in delaware to do that very thing -

great post, as usual -

Nancy said...

Marguerite - My thinking is more along the lines of a "shared resources" community. Each would own their own home and the lands would be communal. I'm too old and set in my ways to share my living space. My youngest has the "commune" idea because she and her friends are not tired of that lifestyle - yet.

Pat - I agree.

Kay - We'll see what happens...

Gypsy - That is where we are. The family for sure, but then I started thinking - why not expand on that a bit? I believe there are many people who share this vision. This concept that I am mulling over would be about 20 homes on 200 acres. The majority of the land would be open space. Each house would have an acre to do as they please, a common garden, pasture, barn, etc. Keep me updated if you do it.

Cubil said...

Here in Texas, we UUs have a retreat center that was given to us by a group of Quakers. Nearly 150 acres close to Kerrville. I've thought a bit of how it might be a place to do something along the lines of what you mentioned. So did the Q's. They didn't move quite fast enough and got old before it got off the ground.

Alaine said...

Hi Nancy, I thought of you tonight when I watched our ABC gardening show. A woman in Castlemaine, NE Central Victoria, Australia had a similar vision and was successful in it's implementation. Here is the link about Munro Court in Castlemaine and I think you can download the entire program.

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2720000.htm

What she's achieved is a small community surrounded by beautiful gardens, no fences, a communal garden/produce area (vegetables, chickens) and everyone working together, helping each other.

Hope this helps. xa

Ruth said...

Not a waste of time. I think about this kind of thing too.

I just heard a story on NPR about a guy who started a commune back in the day, and now he has a thriving local grocery chain in Portland. These things have wonderful ripple effects.

You'll know each step of the way if it is meant to be.

Inty swetha said...

its a cool dream.. i think you will achieve that pretty soon:)

Nancy said...

Cubil - I think its time has come - or should I say - will come?

Alaine - Thank you! Yes, it definitely helps!

Ruth - I wonder if it's "Zuppan's"?

Inty - It would be nice if the whole world realized that we need to live a sustained lifestyle, for sure.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We live on a parcel of land where my brother, my nephew, and my neice are all neighbors. We all watch out for each other, we share Garden Produce, and a helping hand when needed. We are the olders..the youngest is a year old. There are two Dogs, our Chance and a Beagle named Bailey. The entire piece of land is 60 acres. We have room for walking trails, and space to spread out..we have talked of sharing things like a lawn mower, tiller.. etc. I can tell you it is a good feeling to know that your neighbors are there for you! :)

PeacefulWmn9 said...

Never could such a dream be a waste of time. I imagine that many, myself included, would love to live the reality of that dream with you.

Don't let it go...ever!

Karen

~JarieLyn~ said...

No dream is ever a waste of time. My best friend has this same dream. She's been designing a coummunity in her head for years. I think it's a great idea for a lot of people.

Personally, I need my privacy and my space so It wouldn't be ideal for me, but it's a great idea. Keep on dreaming and visualizing.

California Girl said...

I have a book recommendation, "The Perfect $100,000 House" by Karrie Jacobs. Former editor of Dwell magazine travels throughout U.S. to find innovative & sustainable architecture by firms committed to buiilding the best for less. It fits your theme and it's a great read.

Phoebe Miriah Kirby said...

If only...