Looking for a simpler and more sustainable way of life? An eco-village might be the way to go… Here are 3 U.S.-based eco-villages to take a look at.
If you’ve ever thought about just getting away from it all and embracing a simpler lifestyle, away from the rat-race of modern urban life, an eco-village may be something to consider. Ecovillages are a recently new phenomenon (at least in the U.S.), “whose inhabitants seek to live according to ecological principles, causing as little impact on the environment as possible,” according to this article on Earth911.com.
While they may be more popular in Europe, more and more ecovillages are popping up across the United States. Each eco-village has its own individual model and setup, but in general, they typically all have several things in common, such as:
- community gardens
- shared agriculture
- off-the-grid energy
- bartering systems
- homeschooling cooperatives and other services that inspire a community of sharing
For those who want to embrace an off-grid lifestyle, but aren’t really comfortable with going it alone, an eco-village community can make the transition a lot easier – and you may find living within a community based around responsible, sustainable, and intentional living to be an extremely exciting and fulfilling way to live.
Below are 3 American eco-villages you may want to take a closer look at. (To find a full list of eco-villages, check out this directory from The Fellowship for Intentional Community.)
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is located on 280 acres in the rolling hills of northeastern Missouri. They are currently constructing buildings as well as planning and developing a community structure. Ecological sustainability is the primary focus at Dancing Rabbit. Homes are built through alternative means like straw bale and cob and they are powered by renewable energy sources like the sun and wind.
All vehicles are cooperatively owned and biodiesel powered. There is a focus on eating local, organic and in-season foods including many home-grown vegetables. Dancing Rabbit also has a focus on internal economy, including a bartering system and an internal currency. The long-term plan is for 500 to 1,000 people to live at Dancing Rabbit.
Ecovillage at Ithaca
In 1991, EcoVillage at Ithaca was one of only a handful of co-housing communities in the U.S., and about 20 intentional living communities in the world. Today, EcoVillage at Ithaca is part of a global movement of people seeking to create positive solutions to the social, environmental and economic crises our planet faces. EcoVillage at Ithaca has evolved into a large, fully functioning community with buildings, landscape, roads, paths, farms, gardens, governance structures, group process and intentional relationships. Even though Ecovillage at Ithaca is one of the oldest ecovillages in the world, they are still accepting new members that fit within their structure.
Twin Oaks Community
Twin Oaks Community is an ecovillage located in in Central Virginia. Twin Oaks strives to consider what might be sustainable for the long term. Conservation is key. That’s why they focus on resource efficiency and share vehicles, equipment, living space and more. They also focus on recycling and reusing, and even have a dumpster diving culture. Much of the food eaten at Twin Oaks is grown and raised within the community through organic farming practices (although they aren’t certified organic).
Most buildings are heated with locally harvested firewood or passive solar heating. They also have some solar water heating installations and some photovoltaic (electricity) developments. Community-run businesses include Twin Oaks Hammocks, a certified organic tofu business, certified organic seed production and more. Twin Oaks currently has a waiting list, so if this ecovillage interests you, be sure to add your name to it.