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Discussion Starter #1
For years my wife and I have planned to purchase a large piece of land (100+ acres) in Ohio. We plan to have all the luxuries. We've always planned to build homes on that land for our 3 daughters (currently under 8 years old) and our other loved ones. Most of our friends and family don't plan on taking advantage of this and we have recently thought about looking for like minded people who would like to live in a small, collaborative community. Just wanted to run this past some people and see what everybody thinks. I put most of this in my first post too. Took a while to figure out the boards. lol.
 

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I would love to do this, but cash flow is poor. It's a good idea, and if you can you can make each house basically like a corner of a castle for protection! Too bad you aren't in IA
 

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I myself will either be carving a retreat of my own in a remote locale, living with my pal glockwork9 at his family's unused retreat or doing something like what you are talking about. I saw a trailer park running off grid on a solar farm they had out front up in the lower north carolinas. That would be a dream, but quite a bit goes into it. I'd be one of those folks though. My biggest thing now is making a car run low fuel or fuel free.
 

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I currently live on a 100+ acre farm with half of my family living on it right now. We already have 1 windmill up and I'm working on the second one so it can go up this summer. Water storage is already in progress. 175w solar panels are going up end of summer. We have ponds, creeks, shooting range(s), woods, deer, turkey, ducks, bass, bluegill, goats, honeybees, apple orchard, gardens, national forests surrounding us and are 5 miles from the lake. Riding atv's all over the place, drinking beer and shooting guns (lol) is my idea of a good time (hey, its kentucky!). All is good on the farm.

Now, for your idea of starting an off grid community for like minded folks. This is the trickly part. I would do this in a heartbeat, but as with anyone, the best neighbor is a fence as the saying says. Even with family, you can have your disagreements with them sometimes as others can validate this for me. I would be assuming you are selling lots to the other members of the off grid tie? Some other things to think of is if someone isn't pulling their weight in the community. What would you do then, and what would you do if it was a family member?

Just some thoughts, but I'm anxious to hear what you had in mind. It could even be setup like a regulated subdivision with restrictions, duties and lot responsibilities for each person. Some would even go to where they are paying a co-op fee and the moneies being submited to the community (extra solar panels, deep cell batteries, garden seeds, fertilizer etc). Just a thought and awesome thread you started!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Leon said:
I myself will either be carving a retreat of my own in a remote locale, living with my pal glockwork9 at his family's unused retreat or doing something like what you are talking about. I saw a trailer park running off grid on a solar farm they had out front up in the lower north carolinas. That would be a dream, but quite a bit goes into it. I'd be one of those folks though. My biggest thing now is making a car run low fuel or fuel free.
I was in the electric vehicle class in my high school. We built two vehicles from the ground up. 1 was a toyota paseo and the other was a ford ranger. Not a difficult thing to do if you follow the proper instructions but we could only go about 40 miles. That was the truck. The paseo was faster but didn't go nearly as far. It ran on one solar panel that we put up outside the school.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have experience with 501c3 non profit work. I was thinking about setting up a board of directors for the community. Money wouldn't be as important a consideration as skills. The board could raise moneys, create rules, create a code of conduct, and delegate duties. We'd like it to be completely collaborative. We don't expect to be friends with everyone but we would certainly make sure newcomers fit well into the community. Love this site by the way. Everybody seems pretty cool and there's a lot of information here. Great discussions.
 

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MountainMan said:
I have experience with 501c3 non profit work. I was thinking about setting up a board of directors for the community. Money wouldn't be as important a consideration as skills. The board could raise moneys, create rules, create a code of conduct, and delegate duties. We'd like it to be completely collaborative. We don't expect to be friends with everyone but we would certainly make sure newcomers fit well into the community. Love this site by the way. Everybody seems pretty cool and there's a lot of information here. Great discussions.
I was figuring you were going in the direction of something based on experience like a non profit. There is a little community about 40 miles from where I live where they have such a community. Its on the college campus and they build apartments with all eco environment living (solar, wind, compost, gardens, rainwater etc). The next time I go up there (for pizza!) I will stop by the community to see what info I can gather. From my understanding they built this for the environmentalist studies at the college.

And thank you very much for the warm comments about the site. Your input was very well encouraging.
 

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I think that is a great idea. I always wanted to be involved in a community like that and dreamed about starting one for years. It has been one of those "If I ever win the lottery" ideas.
 

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MountainMan,

I was associated with a couple of OTG communities in Northern New York up along the Canadian border back in the later 70’s and 80’s. There were five in all. The people were very talented, energized and pretty well funded, but each of those communities is gone now. They eventually came apart because of a small collection of reasons.

1. There was a breakdown in moral code when it came to personal relationships. People joined as individuals and families, but the constant close contact that came out of sharing a lot of resources and space eventually led to hookups that created serious problems. Once animosities and mistrust became part of the community, couples separated and the community imploded.
2. They were too democratic which made it very difficult to arrive at a consensus on just about anything. They left too many things open to individual determination and hadn’t laid out the details, fixed goals and guidelines before they began. Differences in opinion became divisions between families. The details should have been established as terms of a contract of sorts before they started.
3. They didn’t have a community income or work rules/ethics. There needs to be a commercial sawmill, dairy or something of that nature and if someone in the community is not employed and contributing, they have to work in the community commercial entity a set number of hours. The communities in New York ended up with some freeloaders and didn’t establish work requirements or a ‘labor or eviction’ policy.
4. Some people only stayed a year or so and then wanted their money back. The communities couldn’t produce the cash and had to sell resources to buy them out. It made things pretty hard on those remaining.

We all live in and are affected by a screwed-up society. Whether we live in the heart of some city or in a rural collaborative community, we bring that baggage with us. A strong society is based on strong and fair rules. It’s also based on individuals with high ethical and moral standards. Even the best book of rules is only as strong as those that follow it. Our own constitution is a case in point.

Consider your goals and those that you would share them with or entrust them to carefully.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
1. I hadn't planned on doing meals as a community on a daily basis which I think would help to keep the original lines between families in place. Don't get me wrong I want a close knit community but more of a small town feel than a commune. Also when creating our original documents I would insist that those found guilty by whatever system we have in place would face stiff consequences up to and including being evicted from the community.

2.I've already taken into consideration that the rules will have to be very detailed and strict. My wife tends to be a little on the hippie side (no offense to anyone) but I tend to much more conservative. I realize this may sound a little crazy but my opinion is that it would need to be run as a small country. The board would be in charge of setting up the initial hierarchy and constitution.Thereafter the residents would be responsible for electing new board members, pending president approval. It gives the community a stronger voice than your average non-profit but still leaves final say to the board. By approving board members instead of appointing them we should be able to ensure that we don't stray from our original purpose.

3. I had planned on having a set work policy. I hope to be almost completely self sufficient. I do, however, realize the need for some monies and hadn't really come up with plan yet. The community run business sounds like a great idea. It would work well with a non-profit.

4. As far as people leaving, I'm a little ashamed to admit that this hadn't even occured to me. lol. I believe the non-profit will cover the community in the event that people go. There will be nothing to buy out as no individual will own the land. The land and its contents would be owned by the non-profit that would be controlled by the board of directors and president.

I really appreciate the ideas. Especially the pointing out of a couple of holes I hadn't really thought of. I'm really detail oriented and I'd hate to leave a potential problem un-addressed. You seem to be a real wealth of knowledge and anything else you could share about your time in those communities would be greatly appreciated. It's been hard for me to find anyone who has first hand experience!
 

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I would love to do this.How much would it cost?
I would love to give my kids this experience and this kind of freedom when SHTF.
Good idea
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Danny123 said:
I would love to do this.How much would it cost?
I would love to give my kids this experience and this kind of freedom when SHTF.
Good idea
I don't think it would cost the individual anything. I'm still working on pricing everything and can't really come up with a total cost without having a board of directors set up. I'd love to chat with you more about it. Hit me up. Looking for board members now if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Been doing a lot of school work (back in college) and prepping work lately but I've squeezed in plenty of time for the research for this project. Happy to say that we have our first perspective board and community member (Danny123)! Hope you're still with me buddy. I'm getting the phone over the weekend and I plan to call or text sometime this week. Danny's even bringin' friends. Glad to have somebody so interested in gettin' off the grid. Even if it never hits the fan it'll be a great way to live. I have some ideas on how to run a community business that gets everyone involved and has us doing the things we're good at. It's gettin' exciting!
 

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Its a good idea. And sounds like some folks here have some good ideas as well to help you out. Keep us posted on this subject as it is one i too am interested in to an extent.
 

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A small community of like minded people can be a big help. In olden times families lived close by and shared resources and in my family we had aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins all living within a few miles of each other for that purpose. I still live on our old homestead and many of my family are all still here and so are their kids.

If you are looking for a small inexpensive starter cabin for your community you might like my design. It is 14x14 with kitchen, dining area, living area and bathroom downstairs and large bedroom and office upstairs. Sleeps 4 comfortably. I use a solar composting toilet of my own design and hand drilled the water well. It is powered by a small 580 watt solar and 400 watt wind turbine system. Wood stove and propane backup for OD water heater, stove and furnace.

The cabin was built for under $2000 from all new materials except for doors and windows which were salvaged. Trim work is rough cut pine from a local lumber mill. Fully insulated floor to roof and very efficient.

You can see vids of my cabin and systems here: http://www.youtube.com/solarcabin

LaMar

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Dude that is awesome! I have a family of 5 so it's a little small for us. 3 girls plus me and the wife. It's awesome though. Is that 2,000.00 or 20,000.00?
 

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The cabin was built for $2,000 not including the doors and windows or porch. It is designed for additions off 3 sides. Makes a good starter home, vacation cabin or survival shelter. A smaller home is cheaper to build, heat and cool and kids don't mind closeness. I have had 4 people sleeping here and it would handle sleeping 6 if needed.

Good luck with your commune idea!

LaMar
 

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depending on the land and resources that idea has some real merit, the only down side is everyone would have to know and like everyone else, because everything would essentially be communial... but it would be efficient, and in a SHTF situation efficient is probably the most important thing. a small close community of well skilled well prepared individuals is probably your only bet to make it through when the feces impact the ventilation system. \
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The work would be communal but other than that the idea is to make it more like a small town. No regular communal meals or shared homes or showers. Going for more of a tight knit community feel than a commune feel.
 

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I LOVE these little houses. I've been looking at them for months. Maybe someday...
 
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