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River Farm

Last updated: March 17, 2017 (6 days ago)

Listing created on: December 31, 1999

River Farm

(Deming, Washington, United States)

Mission Statement:

To maintain wildlife sanctuaries within the boundaries of an on-going, organic farm; to serve as a meeting place for outside groups studying organic farming practices; and promote cooperative community that provides political, spiritual, economic, educational and social development to its members.

Community Description:

We live in the northwest corner of the United States; one of the seven communities in the Evergreen Land Trust. We live in separate households on an 85-acre cooperative, subsistence farm in rural Whatcom County, about forty minutes by bus or car from Bellingham, Washington.

Our community is focused on ecologically-based farming and forestry, homesteading skills, habitat restoration, and hosting educational events. The farm is a mixture of forests, gardens, fields, and wetlands along the South Fork Nooksack River. We raise chickens, goats, pigs, and oxen. We have some houses on the electrical grid and some off grid.

We operate by consensus and have monthly business meetings. We also gather regularly for work parties, weekly potlucks, and various projects. The land is held in trust, so we share the basic costs of stewardship (land taxes, insurance, tractor repairs, etc.) by each adult member paying monthly dues, which creates our annual budget. Each adult member also contributes work hours on the farm, sharing in the responsibility of upholding the purposes of the trust. Members are engaged in many different passions and professions off of the Farm as well, but all share in the commitment to caring for the land, and learning how to live sustainably and cooperatively.

About

  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability)
  • Programs & Activities: Transition Town (post-petroleum and off-grid communities), Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming, Festivals, Conferences, Events
  • Location: Rural

Housing

  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 85 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Natural built structues
  • Current Number of Residences: 8
  • Housing Provided: Purchase
  • Land owned by: Evergreen Land Trust land trust

Membership

  • Adult Members: 10
  • Child Members: 2
  • Non-member Residents: 3
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 41-49%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process: Email us well in advance at [email protected] or contact us through our Facebook page.
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process: The residency process begins with a three month trial period, then a minimum of nine more months of residency before membership may be applied for at the one year mark. Membership decisions are made by consensus of the current members and membership confers the responsibility of land and community stewardship to accepted residents.
  • Additional Comments: Members gain the ability to block consensus and hold equity in community and personal structures.

Government

  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: No
  • Additional Comments: Residents participate in the consensus process, but only members have the ability to block a decision.

Economics

  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 8
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes
  • Additional Comments: Everyone pays dues; additional payments for housing equity are made by members and vary by house.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
  • Current renewable energy generation: Up to 25%
  • Energy sources: Solar, Hydro-Electric
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: Almost All, around 90%
  • Food produced locally: Up to 25%

Lifestyle

  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Outdoor Kitchen, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Stage or Auditorium, Fire pit, Waterfront access, Internet, Sauna
  • Internet Available: Yes, both the community and individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: No, it is slow.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for some people.
  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Sometimes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community
  • Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Northwest Intentional Communities Association

Community Affiliations

Prag House, Prag Tree, Sunset house, WOW House, Sherwood Co-op, Walker Creek

Keywords

consensus, South Fork Nooksack, organic, subsistence, homesteading, cooperative, farm, restoration

We happily link to the following organizations, all of whom share our strong commitment to promoting community and a more cooperative world:
Cohousing The Federation of Egalitarian Communities - Communes Coop Community Cooperative Sustainable Intentional North American Students of Cooperation Global Ecovillage Network