By Patricia Mikkelson
I am posting weekly updates at www.veganutopiaecovillageblog.com if you want more up to the minute news.
Right now I, Patricia, am in transition right now as of Dec. 2018. I will most likely be living in Fayetteville, AR 45 minutes from here. It is too cold for me to live alone in an unfinished community building on the Ecovillage site. I hope to find someone who wants to help Cliff and I build the Ecovillage and who can be a good friend, in alignment with Vision, Mission, Aims and Values.
Cliff has decided to be a co-founder of the Ecovillage. This gives me great joy.
We have worked on projects for the past 43 years (I am 64, he is 74) and we work well together.
We co-own 27 acres of land which is next to a neighborhood called Living Springs. This is the land where the first phase of the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage will be located. Although Living Springs was envisioned by the buyers of this land to be a Christian community, there is no requirement for people who live here to be Christian. This is a spiritual community--which includes atheists who have ethics!
Cliff Mikkelson, my former husband, now lives on 1/3 of the property in a tiny house. In keeping with the vision of having a variety of connections to the Ecovillage, Cliff will own his own land until he figures out exactly how he wants the land to be related to the whole.
I am buying 1/3rd of this property from Robert Kersbergen, my other former husband who bought this land with us. He does not share Cliff's and my vision of a vegan community. I feel grateful that even though he loves this land, he sees that it best for all of us that he moves. Both Cliff and I are on good terms with Robert. We have all built a tremendous amount of trust over the past 27 years.
We want to put the 21 acres of land into a legal structure, LLC, that ensures that the Ecovillage will be protected so that people who live here feel confident that this land is owned by the community, not individuals. This effort will take planning and some money to pay legal fees and creating legal structures that are most conducive to making something that ensures sustainability and security.
The Mir House, which will be the ecovillage common house, has been partially completed. The outside is all done, and now the finish work needs to be done on the inside. It is livable during warmer weather.
This sturdy, 2 1/2 story building is perfect for about 20 residents to use as a co-working space, dining hall, library, kitchen, and a pod-casting/video studio. It has outside decks that have lovely views, lots of windows, and is set up for a wood heater.
Two large decks with lovely views will hold two large round tents which will be used for community spaces--one for gatherings, sharing meals, music and playing. The other for meditation/yoga/spiritual practices. These tents can be heated in the winter with wood stoves. Or, they may be used for homes for residents or visitors.
The Mir House is built with conventional building materials. Ideally we would have used sustainable building materials and methods. Because we wanted the building to be available as soon as possible so that people could live here, and we did not have access to person who could build sustainably, we chose this route. However, the building is well insulated and it is designed to be cool in the summer and easily heated in the winter. The lay out is conducive to healthy group dynamics with possibilities of many different activities happening simultaneously.
It has the potential of being accessible to people who have special needs. The first floor would be easily accessible, and the second and third will take more work.
Yome: We have a yome that needs lots of repairs, but we can use it for meditation, gathering space, or living space for a family.
Fifth Wheel: We have an old fifth wheel which could be repaired in order to be a house or office. 36 Feet long.
Travel trailer: This could be fixed up to be an office or house or healing space. It is in amazingly good shape.
House site: We built a house 15 years ago which never got a roof--and the tarps eventually wore out. But there is a spot where building can take place which is good since most of the land is forested.
We have a fenced in garden area about 20 x 20 with hugelkultur raised beds. Even though it is small, we are doing our best to grow lots of food intensively.
We will grow things like Jerusalem artichokes, comfrey, mint, herbs, and sweet potatoes on the outside of the garden because animals don't like these plants so much.
We have some other hugelkultur beds started outside of the fences. There is some cleared land that could be used for larger agricultural endeavors.
It is mostly wooded. It is very secluded and quiet.
No electricity runs through the land. We are completely off the grid.
A creek runs through the property. It runs at least a trickle all year, and during wet weather is very prolific.
It is a combination of hills with some valley land and level areas where building of tiny houses can happen.
Adjacent to the property is land which is owned by someone who we want to contact who lives in Hawaii. We would love to buy it if funds are availability. There is a beautiful waterfall and bluffs.
We would be overjoyed to welcome people into our community!
However, as we are in our start up phase, we have limited time and energy to interact with new people personally because we are prioritizing deepening our relationships with people with whom we have built trust and who are supportive of our endeavors. So far, none of these people are in a position to join the physical community.
There is a huge amount of room for input, ideas, creativity and resource sharing since we are in a start up phase. And, we are creating an environment where people can fulfill their individual goals, using their unique talents that help build a world where all of life thrives. We would like at least one person to join us this Spring 2020 who is compatible. Ideally, a whole group of people who are looking for a place such as this will join us!
We encourage you to look over our values first to determine if you feel basic alignment. Then decide if you want to go through an initial screening process that we ask people who want to be involved, to go through. (see below) Our screening process helps determine if we are a good fit for you, and if you are a good fit for us. We want our interactions to be loving and productive.
We invite you to build trust with us by going through this process:
- Look over the website thoroughly. Then ask questions.
- Share about yourself in a way that helps us to know you are a real person and that you have a track record of ability to work with other people successfully.
- Write about why you are drawn to to be involved using specific examples that show you have looked at the website.
- Supply two references which we can contact to confirm who you are who you say you are.
- Be open to the possibility of a background check. We may or may not use this way of screening people.
After this, we can communicate with a video chat, or some other kind of conversation to determine how to move forward.