What’s an agrarian ecovillage?

What is an ecovillage?

One definition of ecovillage reads: “A human-scale full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future (Gilman, 1991).” Another definition expands this concept by noting that an ecovillage also “regenerates the social and environmental fabric of life, and across all four dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental, economic and cultural (Global Ecovillage Network, 2012).”

What does it mean to be agrarian?
Dictionaries tells us that agrarian means “relating to cultivated land or the cultivation of land” and “of, relating to, or characteristic of farmers or their way of life.” So what is a farmer’s way of life? Producing food, of course, but so much more. Borrowing a quote from Bill Plotkin about how to love the world, agrarianism “…means to intimately know, deeply care about, and actively care for a particular place on Earth — its creatures (including its humans of all races, ages, classes, creeds, and genders), landforms, waters, soils, and air; its health, integrity, and stories….[in doing so, we make] our greatest contribution to ecological vitality and cultural evolution — and, in a time of societal collapse, to cultural revolution and renaissance as well.”

How do these definitions apply to Common Ground?

“We plan to build a compact village of about 29 highly adaptable dwelling units and a community center, allowing more than 85% of the land to remain permanently in farm, field and forest.

We want our village to embody the definitions above as follows:

  • Human scale and full featured: The size of our village allows us to know each other deeply, while nourishing social relationships, food production, employment opportunities, and shared facilities to meet many of our needs on-site.
  • Harmlessly integrated into the natural world: We are committed to a relationship of care and stewardship with the land and aim to live in such a way that our daily activities support our
  • Can be successfully continued into the indefinite future: We are building a social and agricultural system that minimizes its reliance on nonrenewable inputs and maximizes efficient use of rainwater, soil nutrients, labor, solar energy, and other important resources.
  • Regenerates the social and ecological fabric of life: Our aim is not only to minimize our negative impact, but to actually build the long-term health and resilience of the land and its inhabitants by building biodiversity, remediating pollutants, improving soil fertility, and supporting a thriving community.