Anna Lebedeva writing on living off the grid…
Living off the grid brings you back to a more wholesome way of life, devoid of the madness of consumerism, long working hours, poor diet, and stressful living.
If that appeals to you, but you’d rather not do it in isolation, you’ll find many off-grid communities across the country.
They sell land lots and offer membership to aspiring off-gridders…but they also welcome curious visitors for tours, work exchanges as well as short and long-term stays. You can try out the lifestyle before you make a commitment to go for it.
Each community has a different philosophy. Here are a few to check out:
Nestled on 329 acres of forested slopes of the Southern Appalachians in North Carolina, this community is home to 55 members of all ages. Earthaven‘s main focus is on sustainable independent living with the residents being encourages to hire each other to build their homes, use local timber and keep money within the village economy.
Most members run small ecologically sound businesses such as a permaculture plant nursery, farms, solar system installation, wood crafts items, consulting on permaculuture design, natural building and herbal medicine. Those who are curious to try living in the ecovillage can stay in a room in exchange for work. There are also houses and apartments available for rent priced at $230 – 750 per month.
Caballos de las Estrellas
Spread over 1,000 acres of private land in the Chiricahua and Peloncillo Mountain area of Arizona and New Mexico, Caballos de las Estrellas eco-community’s focus is on living in harmony with nature. There are miles of trails to ride, hike, or bike on and the whole development is built in such a way that wildlife can move through the land unhampered.
The 80 acres of community grounds include the equestrian center, clubhouse, shops, gym, pool, sports court and community permaculture project. Community members include a wildlife habitat management specialist, drafts person specializing in green design and tiny houses, holistic horse trainer, artists, musicians and organic gardeners.
Caballos prides itself on being financially sound with a healthy income generated from the rental of the guest houses and lots sales, as well as hosting events, parties and lectures on sustainability. It has residential lots of 10-to-40 acres for sale, priced at between $35,000 and $75,000.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
This thriving community in north-eastern Missuori consists of 40 people who strive for ecological sustainability and non-exploitative living. All homes at Dancing Rabbit are built using alternative techniques such as straw bale and cob and powered with renewable solar and wind energy.
The vehicles in the ecovillage are owned cooperatively and powered by electricity and biodiesel. Bartering is encouraged within the community and with neighbouring villages. There is even an internal currency. Almost everyone at Dancing Rabbit has a local currency account and can pay for any daily living expenses with it. The ever-expanding community’s goal is to reach up to 1,000 village residents, with businesses and homes surrounding the town center.
Visitors can stay in the eco-inn, a straw-bale building where you shower with rainwater and dine on locally-produced organic food. There are also two-hour tours of the village for the curious as well as workshops and classes on sustainable living, visitor programs of two or three weeks’ duration, and multi-month internships. You can also apply to become a resident for six months and, if all goes well, become a member.
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