Our Intentional Community
We are a diverse group of people united by the common purpose of creating a resilient and enjoyable community and way of life. Joining an eco-village is often likened to a cross between entering a marriage and going into business together.
We all share the general vision of lush vegetable gardens, sustainable houses, food forests, chooks, and community dinners. Yet we know this dream of community is not enough: we must actively create it. Every ecovillage has its own particular vision of how community works best for them. As we live and work here, and as new people join, ours will continue to develop in our own unique way.
What are we doing that’s particular to us?
We’re working on the basis that sharing land, resources and joint endeavours needs a community that functions together as people. Many community building skills have been forgotten in our modern globalised society. Together we’re re-learning these important skills.
Our first priority is our people. The heart of community is in feeling connected, having enriching relationships that bring our hearts to life. Learning to build relationships that sustain us is challenging, and deeply rewarding. It involves managing conflict and difficulty, and lots of personal growth. When we know our contribution is valued and appreciated, we put in our effort and creativity with enthusiasm. We treasure relationships that support our individual growth, and can sustain us through whatever climate change may bring.
Commonly-referred-to principles include ‘openness and honesty’ (being able to say and hear whatever is important), and ‘community first’ (the idea that if community works well, everything else will follow).
These living relationships operate in all areas, from child rearing to planting. Bringing up the next generation on this path is one of the important things community does.
We plan later to share the knowledge and experience of setting up and living in community, with others, through workshops. We also hope to establish community businesses, so we can earn a living on the land.
A well-functioning community, with good communication skills, is especially important because so much of our land, resources and work are shared. Strong relationships enable us to enjoy cooperating as part of a team, to work the land together.
We believe that the human race spent many tens of thousands of years, throughout much of its pre-history, evolving and developing the skills needed to live in community, and that they are now innate in us all. However, we also believe that during the historical era, both pre- and post-industrial, those skills have started to break down, and we are on the way to losing them.
We feel this would be a dreadful and dangerous loss, both because it means the loss of something precious and joyful in our lives, and because mankind is now confronted by unprecedented dangers, self-imposed, which we will only overcome if we can pull together. We believe that in the process of learning how to look after each other, we can also learn how to look after our planet (and vice versa), and so master the next stage in our evolution. This is the paradigm shift that is needed.
We are making thorough lifestyle changes, transitioning from the modern economic model of ‘progress’, profit and growth to a richer and more fulfilling way of life — one that is sustainable and in co-operation with nature. Currently we have one foot in the old ways and one striding into the new. How this comes about is a daily journey — a creative adventure.
To build community this way, we’re shifting our whole mindset to a different culture, based on values, attitudes and assumptions different from those of the surrounding society. We use the Partnership model as our guide, to give us clarity about how we’re moving to this new paradigm, so we can do it easily, thoroughly and deeply.
Our model is based on Riane Eisler’s “Partnership way”, Joanna Macy’s “Great Turning”, and Deep Ecology. In this paradigm, life, pleasure, diversity, cooperation and connectedness are valued, rather than profit, denial, uniformity, control and isolation. It derives from the interdependency and mutually supportive systems observed in nature, and has a bearing on all our relationships: relationships with self (mind, body and spirit), with other people, with community on all levels, and with life in general. You can read more about the new paradigm here.
This is an exciting experiment. We have the vision; however none of us in the world who are working towards this shift of culture know what it will look like in detail. In a community that lives together as we do, we have the opportunity to try out the vision on all levels, from food, children and housing to relationships and spirituality.