Things have been a bit hairy since last Thursday to say the least. I don't have photos today of any sort for which I apologize. All I have is a landscape by the Lady of the House.
What I'm going to talk about today is a concept I've been kicking around that the Lady of the House tentatively supports based on finding solutions to some of the glaring problems, and resolution of some details. The idea is of building an intentional community based around ethical living and eating, art, and feminism, without rejecting technology.
That's a mouth full. How can we pare that down?
An intentional community based around food, ethics, and art.
Is including "without rejecting technology" such a core part of the concept it needs to be mentioned? I'm not actually sure. If so I'm not sure how to pare it down to a concise sentence.
In a little more detail:
Ethical living: Part of this is simply cultural. A group of people doing their best to live ethical lives. This necessitates a social dynamic that allows for discussion of ethics without condemnation, support for harder choices due to ethics, and a physical space allowing the community to gather for discussions.
Ethical food: This is both integral to, and separate from ethical living in my mind. Step one of ethical living has to be ethical eating in my mind. To that end the community would need to produce it's own food. This would both mean sufficient land to farm on to include vegetable gardening, fruit orchard, and animal husbandry. Given that it's probably going to be in the North East it would probably also include wood lot. I think given the environment that sufficient green house space to keep leafy greens going during the winter would be important.
Art: I suspect I should include why on Art, beyond simply that the Lady of the House is an artist, and I like art. To affect positive change in the world, communication is necessary. One of the largest areas of inequality is the representation of people. People of color, women, men, everyone. This art is produced by people, and I think having a community of people around you to support more positive and realistic representations of people would allow for production of pieces that exhibit less of the stereotypical imagery that we see that continues damaging preconceptions. As an example, do some research on representation of the Noble Savage, then look at just about any representation of First Nations people in modern representations.
On a practical level what such a focus requires is a space dedicated to art. While there are certainly strong factors suggesting an open art studio, there are also real benefits to private work places. I think this would want to be some mix of the two allowing artists to work alone, but also come together for classes, critiques, and simply working together as the spirit takes them.
Feminism: Why do I include Feminism in the larger concept structure? There's a lot of reasons, but in short it comes down to, even in permaculture communities there is a glaring imbalance in the treatment and view of women. Women make up more than %50 of the college educated people in our country, and are over %50 of the population. Why, even in more open minded and egalitarian communities like permaculture and sustainability are less than %35 of leadership positions filled by women? I think that in an ethical living community feminism must be a focus.
Non rejection of technology: Technology has many meanings, and like each of these sections could be a whole discussion. It comes down to, technology isn't inherently evil. The misuse of it, like the misuse of a gun or a knife can be. The methods we use to acquire the resources necessary for much modern technology are unethical, and can't be supported. That doesn't mean that a total rejection of the modern and of progress is appropriate. Either on a farming, or day to day level. Something that warrants more discussion for certain.
Some challenges that come to mind. Managing a strong leadership structure recognizing that leadership should recognize who is best for each job, and follow their lead. Financial starting point, and actually making money off the community. How do you deal with contributions of artists vs farmers? What about people who want to live as part of such a community but are neither, is their potential contribution of helping with finances something that is welcome and important? How do you find like minded people and know before hand that you'll be able to work and live with them long term? A personal partnership is tough enough.
So there's the basics of the concept. At this point I'm working up a overall plan, and trying to work up an official proposal to try to find patrons for it, and others interested in joining and personally investing in the community whether or not it is monetary since this isn't a one family plan.
I'd love to hear thoughts. I know there are lots of interesting intentional communities out there, so this may well be a thought exercise, but I think it is a good one.