It seems that these days there are more and more people wanting to get back to a more rural setting and live in a community together.
Fortunately, I have a good friend and business partner that lives on a farm we fondly refer to as The Hive with a small group of people. So, when my husband and I decided to move from Mississauga, 1½ hrs north to Orillia, a much smaller city and to a smaller home, moving the Skid Markz business to The Hive with a 10-car heated workshop was a logical choice.
We now have a large workshop, gardens,
and a small group of people
that want to live as a community together and in a more cooperative, caring manner and are actively starting to work towards that.
I now find myself imagining all the possibilities that small chunk of land has for the people that are getting involved with us and the model it can be for others wanting to start something similar.
In planning out what a community farm on 4 acres, that is only 35 minutes north of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) could look like, there is a lot to consider. Of course, having it incorporate The Bridge is part of my plan.
I loved the blueprint that we had created with the Talking Trees community but concluded that the Frontenac area was too far from my family and friends. Earthships, that I learned so much about and came to love, were the prominent style of homes to be built there. They have so much to offer, living with less bills, more in tune with nature and not needing to be plugged into the grid. I look forward to the day when I get to visit a Talking Trees community.
I firmly believe that for our current civilization (at least in our western world, as we have lost a lot of our community living skills) to flourish in communities we need to consider 3 main aspects of development. They are:
- Economic Development (ED)
- Community Development (CD)
- Personal Development (PD)
For anyone who has investigated The Bridge, you will know that these are what The Bridge is structured around. Taking all three aspects into account are essential for a thriving and healthy community.
I can’t help but wonder who wouldn’t want to live in a community where you are cared for and respected by your neighbours? Where you have a say in what goes on there, where you can live and work and are able to sufficiently have your needs met and the possibility of your wants met?
But HOW do we live together? Is it even possible? How do we go about it?
Through the many years of researching for The Bridge, lots of contemplating and pulling in ideas from past experiences, I can see that the following are some of the areas that need to be taken into consideration and where they fit in the above aspects of development:
- A system for members to acquire products and services from the farm. Pay with Product and EasE are some ideas (ED)
- A way for members to share their products and services to other members and the public. (ED)
- An agreement in place as to how conflicts / decisions will be dealt with. (CD)
- How do we sustain ourselves both financially & with food? (ED)
- What are the best businesses to start? (ED)
- What workshops do we run? (ED) (CD)
- How do we govern ourselves? (CD)
- Do we need to set up a legal structure like a PMA or DAO?
- How do we go about inviting interested people to participate & learn valuable skills? (CD)
- Do we want to consider obtaining a larger piece or pieces of land for a larger community? Pooling resources is one possibility (ED) (CD)
- How do we attract people who value the importance of dealing with their trauma’s and personal challenges and are committed to continued self growth? (PD)
- How do we make sure that interested people align with the vision that the larger group has? (CD)
- The importance of making time for our inner work such as meditation practices, quiet time and healing circles. Having regular sessions that encourage or aid people to take time might help. (PD)
- Good physical health must be a consideration. The importance of organic, non-GMO foods with as little processing as possible and alternatives to sugar laden sweets as well as the ability to have time for regular exercise. (PD)
- Learning (if the skill isn’t already acquired) the importance of being able to debate while being considerate of the others point of view. Good intellectual stimulation and communication skills. (PD)
- Coming from our heart space as much as possible, being kind and caring with each other and incorporating practices that help expand this on a regular basis. (CD)
- The importance of continuous learning and acquiring new skills (PD)
These may seem like a lot to consider and indeed they are! If we want to change our world to be a happier, friendlier, safer, more inclusive, one in harmony with nature and more LOVING, it’s important to approach this as a serious project (while still having fun).
As a society, we are coming to understand that where we repeatedly put our focus is what ends up showing up in our lives. Let’s start now to collectively create something better for all of us by starting with each of us! It doesn’t have to be a community farm; but it does take focus and desire. One step at a time, is all it takes to get started.
The key is using our imaginations and dreaming a little about a world that is much different than our current one and one where we can see our future generations living in peace and harmony among each other, with time for the important pursuits in life.