If your current lifestyle feels a little disconnected and you dream of a future where your friends and family can live close together, starting a micro-ecovillage is worth considering. Ecovillages are growing in popularity and promote community building, sustainability, and slow-paced lifestyles. Here's how you can start your own ecovillage.
What is An Ecovillage?
There are over 10,000 ecovillages across the globe. These villages are centered around community, agriculture, sustainability, and a slow-paced lifestyle that is connected to nature. Each ecovillage is unique, with different community rules, housing setups, and labor needs.
Sustainability is a core value in ecovillages. Members believe there is a more harmonious and rewarding way to live than most do in today's societies. Being energy independent is a goal of most ecovillages. They generate electricity on-site through solar or wind power, and often use biofuels for machinery or vehicles. In ecovillages, nothing goes to waste, and members aim to recycle or repurpose as much as possible.
Many members' full-time jobs are working to sustain the village, from maintenance to gardening. However, a lot of members in ecovillages have full-time jobs outside of the village, and enjoy coming home to a community of like-minded individuals to interact with and raise families.
Why Are Ecovillages Becoming More Popular?
Ecovillages provide many aspects of life that urban environments may not. Many individuals are fighting loneliness, depression, and solo childrearing by joining ecovillage communities for support. Like the old expression goes, it takes a village.
Members of ecovillages report feeling happier and more satisfied with themselves and the challenges of life by living in a like-minded community. Most ecovillage housing is close-knit, and members share the brunt of raising children and growing older together. Ecovillages are diverse and are home to individuals of all ages, ethnicities, religions, and abilities.
Connection to nature is a foundational value in ecovillages. Studies have shown that more frequent interactions with nature support human health both mentally and physically, helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and disease. Thus, ecovillages are often constructed in rural areas with plentiful forests, land, and natural resources. Members are careful to live in a way that disturbs the surrounding environment as little as possible.
Financially, ecovillages provide a more affordable way for many families to live. Costs are split between all members for utilities, energy, and food, with most ecovillages growing a large percentage of food on site. Plus, families often take turns supervising children for free.
How to Start an Ecovillage of Your Own
The purpose of an ecovillage is to create a community where labor and responsibilities are shared between all members. Thus, ecovillages work best with a larger community of individuals. However, micro-ecovillages, or micro-villages, are becoming more popular among individuals looking to share a common space with friends or family.
Undoubtedly, you will need a piece of land that is large enough to support your community size. All members can create co-op agreements, where the land is equally shared and paid for among members. It would be wise to choose land that is not too far away from medical care or urban necessities. Choosing land will be one of the hardest, yet most rewarding parts of starting your micro-village.
Once land is secured, all members should be involved in generating a blueprint for the land. This should include housing, parking, outdoor recreational areas, gardens, livestock pens, composting sites, and any other element that your community feels is essential. Speaking with a planner or architect for this piece is not necessary, but may take out some of the guesswork with creating a blueprint.
Members should decide housing rules and regulations. For example, how large homes should be, what they should be constructed of, and how they will be powered. How close homes should be to one another should also be touched on. Many ecovillages choose to create a central community building where meetings or events can take place.
Once the aforementioned details are discussed, your community can begin construction phases. Ecovillages are not built in a day, and you should expect a significant amount of time to pass before your micro village with friends, and families is operating smoothly. The hurdles are well worth the reward.
Learn As You Go
Thankfully, there are plentiful online resources from other ecovillage communities and blogs that you should take advantage of. All things are discussed in online ecovillage forums, from setting community rules to splitting up labor and where to find reclaimed or recycled materials.
The Global Ecovillage Network has free blog posts and learning opportunities for anyone interested in the ecovillage lifestyle. Social media platform, Youtube, has videos from ecovillage members all over the world sharing their tips, tricks, and advice.
Be creative, open-minded, and learn as you go while building your perfect micro-village oasis with friends and family.
Ecovillages offer a slow-paced lifestyle that many people desire.
You can start your own ecovillage or micro-village with friends and family, with land and a rough blueprint.
Ecovillages are becoming more popular across the world.