Friday, December 30, 2011

MSN gives story on sustainable living communities, and they requirement commitment

Thursday, MSN gave us a story of places to “live off the grid” or to lead the “unplugged” life.  They are around the country, in Virginia, North Carolina, Vermont, Missouri, Oregon, and New Mexico, Arizona, Utah.

Generally, most of them have fewer than 100 residents who have a contractual agreement to share incomes.  It’s not clear how “unplugged” they are in their green, sustainable communities, although local production of food and goods is required.  Some probably to have satellite or cellular wireless Internet, some may not.  Some require an entrance fee, and some require a communal work commitment.

One of them, “Dancing Rabbit”, north of St. Louis, has homes covered with sod on top that look like they came right out of “The Lord of the Rings” as homes for hobbits.

I had some experience with these sorts of communities when I was younger.  There was Dan Fry’s (posthumous biographical link)   Understanding, on I-10 in Tonopah AZ, 40 miles west of Phoenix, consisting of UFO-shaped buildings (no longer there, now a cotton ranch).  It held major conventions twice a year in the 1970s.  There was the Lama Foundation (link) on a mountainside (at almost 9000 feet), facing west, north of Taos, NM, which I visited in 1980 and then again in 1984 for Spring Work Camp. The access road can get quite muddy and impassable even in summer. The place had a wildfire in 1996 but I understand is rebuilt.

While living in Dallas in the 1980s, I also learned about Richard Kieninger, author of "The Ultimate Frontier" (and links to the Great White Brotherhood). He held monthly meetings at the Unitarian Church in University Park, Dallas.  He did say that spirituality does not make one a "passive vessel".  His followers' community in East Texas (about 100 miles from Dallas as I recall) is called Adelphi (link).  Back around 1970, his group built a planned community called Stelle near Kankakee, IL, 80 miles S of Chicago. It claimed to be very progressive with underground utilities.  At one time, it required that only husbands work in families that live there (that only one-earner families were permitted), and then it dropped that requirement; it's not clear that this followed from Kieninger's teachings.  

Since Twin Oaks is near Richmond and accessible to me, I’ll give the link now.   

I’ll have to see about a Saturday visit early in 2012, winter weather permitting.  It looks like you need appointments.  I have already visited the general area after the August earthquake, the epicenter of which was very nearby.

Here is the MSN link.  

Picture: Mineral, VA shortly after Aug. 2011 quake, near Twin Oaks.  

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