After 10 years involved in self-developing Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, marked for me with some serious and in retrospect unnecessary growing pains that cost us dearly, I'd like to recommend an invaluable resource I wish we'd had earlier. It’s an online course excellent for forming communities who want to avoid some of the painful process pitfalls we experienced, but at least as valuable for anyone disturbed by the state of our world and interested in human and planetary sustainability.
It’s been almost a decade (seven years) since we traveled to the National Cohousing Conference in Boulder Colorado to learn about how to build our own community in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve come full circle now with the Conference to be held in Nashville this week.
Back then two of us traveled to Boulder and met two other individuals from Nashville, also attending. They were taking a driving tour through the southwest looking for cohousing. We were surprised to run into other Nashvillians in Boulder that weekend!
Mark Mugarura, Memel Organics Cohousing, South Africa
A few days ago, to my amusement, I learned that cohousing shares a lot of principles with many African cultures. This happened over (way too many) drinks with a filmmaker called Alan O’Hashi following a dinner party at a cohousing community in the small town of Memel, amidst the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. In fact, I also found out that this is the first and only cohousing community in South Africa (and I assume for most of Africa?) (Why???!).
While tackling the long and sometimes daunting list of tasks required to start a cohousing group, I draw daily upon every prayer, affirmation and inner trick I know to keep the faith and grow the vision. As our core group grows closer, steadily inching toward this goal, we fine-tune ways to share the vision with new people. We rarely encounter negative souls out there…usually quite the opposite!
Posted by Jenny Godwin, via PDX Commons' Newsletter
Several PDX Commoners are attending the National Cohousing Conference in Nashville. Here's what's motivating them to attend:
"I plan to concentrate on sessions related to creating caring, supportive cohousing communities. In PDX Cohousing, I hope to help create a framework where any of us can ask for and receive support during short term illness, some chronic illnesses, and even end-of-life situations."
- Susan Fries
Lindy Sexton of McCamant & Durrett Architects, based on an interview with Arthur Okner of Silver Sage Village in Boulder, CO
“We at Silver Sage strive to age-in-place. Given the caring support of our community, we can do so a lot longer than in many other aging care models,” says Art Okner. “Getting older is a long, fulfilling journey for most—you have a caring family, a good job, activities that you enjoy, and friends to share experiences with. These things ebb and flow in a thing we call life, and it’s hard to think of the future until one day you are there. The future belongs to those who recognize and prepare for aging.”
Nicholas Vergatos, Grace Farm (Noblesville, Indiana)
Grace Farm is a group of friends, with an average age of about 35, who have been exposed to community living through a few different experiences and have been motivated to potentially start our own cohousing community. The 10 founding members of Grace Farm have experienced community living most notably from our time at Bethlehem Farm, an intentional community in the mountains of West Virginia with a mission of service and outreach to the people of Appalachia.
We were surprised but pleased when a boat load of people arrived just as we opened our doors for the Cohousing Open House Day on April 29th. We had steady visitors for most of our four hours. Nobody was counting, but we estimate 50-60 folks came, which was great!