Do I have to contribute to the cost of land to build a small house?
If you would like to help us purchase more land, we will all benefit. However, this is not a requirement—we only ask you contribute to the increase in property taxes from your structure as well as help our nonprofit acquire donations for land purchase. Currently, our yearly total property taxes are around $4,500. With each additional structure we estimate an increase of $500.
What do I have to pay for?
Aside from food costs, we all must pay for the propane in the communal house. This costs roughly $3,000/year and we divide the cost amongst the number of community members (keep in mind, with less propane use our bill will decrease). For example, if there are three adult community members and the propane was $3,000 for 2018, we would each pay $1,000 for the year of propane. We also pay for plowing the driveway in the winter, which is up to $1,000/winter depending on the snowfall and again, this bill is split amongst the number of community members. Internet is $150/month and we contribute based on our usage (some need the internet every day for work and others rarely use it). We purchase firewood for our communal house, which is $500/year. Lastly, we have a solar-powered communal house and we each contribute monthly to the upkeep of this system (battery maintenance).
How many people will live in this community?
This is a difficult question to answer. The number of people on the land depends on the needs of each household. There are a limited number of locations that will be suitable for solar-powered homes. So if every family needs electricity, the community will likely be limited to 5 or 6 structures. If a family arrives who does not need electricity, the community could increase in size. With that said, we do not want to stress the earth that we live on. There is only so much water and so much food within our valley. Additionally, we want to create some sense of privacy between the structures so we do not feel crowded as we transition into communal living. We also would like to account for future generations and leave room for the families here to expand. Keep in mind, as we purchase more land, the community could increase in size. And, all of this will be discussed amongst the community members as the community grows and develops new ideas.
What kind of people are you looking for to join the community?
Anyone who is committed to living a rewilding lifestyle focused on harvesting wild food and ancestral skills. We recognize adjusting to community life will not be without challenges. Because of this, we hope to find people excited to communicate from a heart-centered place so we can resolve problems we may face in the future. We will all bring unique gifts to the community and we look forward to hearing from those of you who are excited to share your own gifts. We would love future community members to have a passion for primitive living skills. Wishfully thinking, we would also love some people who are more musically inclined than we are.
What will be the source of water and power for my structure?
We utilize the sun’s energy for our power. Two structures are equipped with solar panels. Not every structure needs to have solar electricity because the communal house has electricity. However, this electricity costs money to upkeep and the community will be expected to contribute to the big house' electrical system (batteries, solar panels, etc.). This way, we will have enough refrigeration for all without requiring each family to spend money establishing solar homes. As for water, our main house is equipped with running water from a well and is available for all community members to use to shower and do laundry. Sara’s cabin does not have running water; she harvests drinkable water from Child's Brook, which runs through the land here.
Will I have legal rights to the land?
As much as anyone else living on the land. We are creating a 501(c)(3) and placing the land in a land trust so we hold the land in common. Projects that create substantive change (e.g., harvesting of canopy trees) will require community consensus prior to activity.
Can I bring pets?
We are currently not accepting any new pets. There is an old American pitbull that currently resides in the communal house. He is 14 and we are waiting for him to pass into the spirit world.
How will children be educated?
We hope to home-school the children living within the community and this responsibility will be shared amongst the adults. What our "schooling" will look like in the future will be shaped by the children and their caretakers who live on this land. We also envision care of young children to be shared amongst the community members with adults alternating the days (or times of day) they are available to the children.
What hunting and foraging gifts/resources/food are available on the land?
This land is the home to white-tailed deer, red squirrel, wild turkey, Canada goose, ruffed grouse, northern red oak acorns, various edible and medicinal mushrooms, blackberries, Indian cucumber roots, bracken ferns, fox grapes, and many other edible plants. These lives, which sustain our community, are there to be conscientiously harvested and shared. With that said, we are unable to fully sustain our community from this land alone, more than often we are driving to other foraging and hunting areas.
Is there Wi-Fi at the community?
There is no Wi-Fi here and no plans to establish Wi-Fi. The main house has Internet access through a dish and you may connect to the internet through an ethernet cable.
Can I practice agriculture on the land?
We would love our community to participate in as much hunting and gathering as possible. However, we also recognize it could be a few generations until enough of us become proficient in these activities (it will also take time for our land to be more bountiful). In the meantime, we would love to do some perennial horticulture, gardening or other small-scale agricultural activities to increase our community resilience.
Will we share food?
The community members here now enjoy the idea of sharing lots of meals each week. This will cut down on our resource use and our workload. We have a food share that each family contributes to each week for a daily shared meal (or however often feels good to the community). As more members join, we will further discuss and adjust this. We also imagine sharing any food that we have communally harvested and any food we grow here on the land. Currently, acorns, wild rice, maple syrup, and large game animals are shared amongst the community. Wild foraged greens are not required to be shared nor are fish and various other items. Some local harvesting locations are only large enough to support one family while others will be able to support an entire community. For example, our sugarbush on the land here cannot support an entire community (depending on their maple syrup consumption) but rather a few families. Therefore, our community will have to discuss how we will harvest and distribute the maple sap amongst members.
What resources are available in the big house for the community members?
The following utilities in the big house will be shared amongst the community:
- Laundry room
- One or two shared bathrooms with showers
- Root cellar
- Tools used for food processing, hide-tanning, etc.
- Kitchen space