Presenting…Common Ground Ecovillage

by the Membership & Marketing Circle


As many of you know, we have just completed a four-month process of choosing a new name.  ?We are now COMMON GROUND ECOVILLAGE!?  This is a name that we think reflects our community valued well, and we hope it stays with us for a long time!

 Why did we change the name?

In late 2019, a community member found information suggesting that Thomas Hart who owned Hart’s Mill in the late 1700s most likely owned slaves and was involved in a transaction that attempted to dispossess Native Americans of their land in what is now Tennessee and Kentucky.  Given that this type of 18th-century colonial history is so very far from our vision of social justice and harmony with each other and the land, a new name for our community felt imperative.  

What was the process?

We embarked on an extended process that included generating names individually and also collectively in a name-changing party.  Altogether, 27 members generated over 160 names and then 33 members ranked their top ten names from this long list. Their rankings became advisory to the General Circle, who also commissioned various forms of research about the 12 top-ranked names. 

It was not easy to pick one name among several strong possibilities and even stronger preferences!

The General Circle met four times: once to determine our process; once to identify the top names; and twice to determine the final name.  In these last two meetings, we relied on the election process from sociocracy to guide us. 

In the end, it was a felt desire to reach common ground that allowed us to choose our name. Once we consented to the name, we quickly discovered its beauty and surprisingly apt fit with our community’s core purpose of finding common ground in achieving justice and harmony with each other and the land.

We also appreciate how much the name Common Ground Ecovillage encompasses who we are and what we aspire to as a community:

  • The most defining feature of our community are our 112 precious acres of virtually undeveloped forests, wetlands, pond, streams, wildlife and cultivated farmland, soon to be joined by unobtrusive dwellings for humans. We have always thought of this land as “ground” that is co-owned, held by all of us in “common.” 
  • We have always shared the ecological and social goals involving: the restoration, protection, and appropriate cultivation of the land; a shared commitment to racial, social and economic justice; a highly inclusive system of governance, an always open door. These are our bedrock beliefs, the common ground, if you will, of what we hold sacred.
  • We have always known that we were meant to become an ecovillage with all that the term implies. It points to a shared set of deeply held beliefs about regenerating relationships with each other and the land and inviting others to widen the common ground on which we stand together.

Please join us in celebrating our new name!  You will see changes soon in the website, emails, and in conversation as our new name begins to roll off our tongues with a smile reaching all the way to our eyes! 

Next steps

We hope you will join in the common work as we continue to grow our community in membership, food (the farm), and research on the most ecological, sustainable, and reasonably costing homes. 

There is a lot to be done, but less to do when we work together — contact Marilyn ( to volunteer for membership development, or Anthony (  to volunteer for sustainable design.

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