To fill in the gap in our postings of highlights, here’s a very brief summary from 2019 to early 2022.
Comings and goings
As of early 2022 we are 44 ecovillagers! Several folks formerly living at the EcoVillage have moved on, and others have arrived to bring new energy, including a new baby born in February. We look forward to filling living spaces that will come available this year, hopefully including families and young folks to balance our demographics.
Tiny house video!
For great visuals of the village and special focus on two of our tiny houses, see the beautiful video from Tiny House Expedition crew.
Major construction is almost finished
Sergio and Erin Scabuzzo broke ground for building the last home on the tiny house lot in January 2022. They moved from Southern California in the middle of the pandemic and have been living in rental spaces while finishing their home design, getting approval of the plans from the City, lining up contractor work. They have brought a lot of vibrant energy to the community, along with their dog Charlie.
The Mason-Kleeb family, who bought the last of the 12 lots for homebuilding, have a beautiful home in the finishing stages that they will move into in 2022. Both parents and the two children are looking forward to finally living at the EcoVillage and being close to all the action and interactions here!
The Common House
Construction started in 2019 and has progressed slowly, but the end is in sight. The goal is to have an occupancy permit in August 2022, and there will still be many finishing touches to complete after that. We can’t wait to cook up some community dinners in the spacious kitchen and share them in the spacious great room. Plant and food lovers are scheming up herb gardens just a few steps through the kitchen door and landscaping.
Kids’ play structure
Built at the edge of one of the central gardens, right in the center of the community. And a new community fire-pit sprung up to accommodate more people at outdoor gatherings, which take place there and at our established village green.
Sociocracy, a new governance and decision-making system
After experimenting with sociocracy, a governance and decision making model, since late 2018, and lots of trainings, surveys and evaluations, the community consented, in January 2022, to a Governance Agreement that uses sociocratic structures. While our former consensus decision making model worked well for many years, with more people we’re learning to like our structure of empowered circles and sub-circles, a HUB for coordination, and a standard of “good enough for now, safe enough to try” and built-in review cycles to guide our decisions.
Pandemic challenges and successes
The pandemic has brought challenges to everyone, and we feel it especially around weakened “community glue” due to limited in-person gatherings. We transitioned skillfully to meeting mostly on Zoom, and have discovered some unexpected bonuses to that format, as well as gathering outdoors and treasuring all the random daily connections that can happen in an intentional community setting, to counter isolation.
A newly formed Human Rights SubCircle created and proposed an Agreement on Prohibition of Harassment, which has a no tolerance statement and clear processes for handling, investigating and resolving complaints of harassment.
Though the community has long used and offered Marshall Rosenberg’s NVC (NonViolent Communication) practices to deal with conflicts, we decided to seek the help of an outside facilitator whose guidance resulted in the creation of a Conflict System Team to create a conflict engagement system. The system will offer facilitators, processes and practices to help us build more confidence and trust in working through conflict to come to understanding, if not agreement, in working together and in interpersonal relations.
The Gardens Grow
There have been community gardens since the initial days of planning for this intentional community. We have grown with them, in understanding of the needs of the soil, in the practices we use to tend the gardens, and creative experimentation. Scion wood grafted to dwarf and semi-dwarf root stock almost ten years ago is now producing some bumper crops of apples, new trees have been added to the orchard area, nut trees planted, raspberries flourishing in new beds, thornless blackberries and elderberries taking off. Deer fencing has been extended and reinforced and so far of late we have had few incursions.The Annual Garden SubCircle guides the planning, planting, maintenance and harvesting of a large variety of vegetables for the community. Some individually tended Pea Patches have expanded, some contracted or changed locations, and private gardens around homes are either maturing or just taking off.
Reuse and recycling of materials
An important value in the EcoVillage, and our Resources Circle has sorted, consolidated and tidied up the “Bone Yard” and other areas where materials are stored. We replaced the old pump for the well we use for irrigation: a good reminder that Water is Life and how fortunate we are to have a well.