San Mateo Ecovillage

San Mateo, California, United States

  • Last updated: January 18, 2016 (1 year ago)
  • Listing created on: November 10, 2004

Mission Statement

sustainability / social change

Community Description

We are a small suburban community facing a lagoon between San Mateo and Foster City, California. We purchased a four-unit building in 1998 and after seven years of waiting, in 2005, we purchased the second building. We have planted fruit trees and extensive organic gardens, are beekeepers, and in 2012 added aquaponics. We are a cooperative—something between intentional community and cohousing, though we identify most with the concept of a mini-ecovillage. We had hoped to have co-owners but the mortgage market has made that difficult, so this is mostly a community of renters. In 2015, 72% of the second building was sold to three other co-owners, including a couple who had been renting for a few years. We have worked to help develop more of a community within the local neighborhood. The location is wonderful: lots of birds, sunrise over the water, nearby biking/walking path, park with playground, tennis/basketball courts, and city amenities of proximity to freeway and public transportation, etc.

Values we would like to see “grow” on this site can be summed up in the concept of sustainable development: growing some of our own food; supporting local organic farmers in farmers’ markets or in a community-supported agriculture (CSA); reducing, reusing, recycling; avoiding buying food and other items that contribute to the destruction of local economies and the environment. We want to share time in the garden, meals at the dinner table, and other activities with the people we live with. We seek open communication and a deep expression of feelings. We expect those wishing to join us to have a commitment to these values and goals as well.

Community founders are also very involved in progressive politics, and although not a requirement, would welcome people who share their passion for planetary transformation.

  • Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
  • Started Planning: 1998
  • Start Living Together: 1998
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Website address:
  • Contact Name: San Mateo Ecovillage
  • Community Address:
    3329 Los Prados St
    San Mateo, California, 94403
    United States
  • Location


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Location: Suburban


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 0.5 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building
  • Current Number of Residences: 8
  • Land owned by: A subgroup of community members
  • Additional Comments:

    open to renters becoming co-owners

    8 apartments in two 4 unit buildings


    we use the living room in one apartment for common meals and events.

    related to cohousing as well as other forms of intentional community


  • Adult Members: 20
  • Child Members: 3
  • Percent Women: 31-40%
  • Percent Men: 51-60%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Please send an email.

    Unless we are in a period of looking for new members, or hosting an organized event, please do not expect us to be able to spend too much time with you., …unless of course, you want to trade some time in the garden.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    when there are openings


  • Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
  • Identified Leader: Yes
  • Leadership Core Group: No
  • Additional Comments:

    My husband and I are founders, but do not necessarily need to remain as leaders.

    We are moving in that direction.

    We try to use consensus when appropriate. Some decisions need to be made by owners.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 3
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debt)
  • Additional Comments:

    about 12 hours/month in the garden, shared meal and meeting weekly

    rent or mortgage payment in one of the most expensive housing areas in the country

    rent or mortgage share, share gardening expenses

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 26-49%
  • Energy sources: Solar
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 50-75%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%


  • Common Facilities: Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Hot tub or hot springs, Waterfront access, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Dietary Practice: Mostly Vegetarian
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    informal sharing at other times

    and increasing

    common meals are vegetarian

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates pieces from many religions)
  • Education Style(s): Public Schooling

Additional Comments

We began with only one couple as owners, others have been renters. We want to move to being primarily a community of co-owners.

Photo Gallery

Video Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Ecovillage Network of the Americas

Community Affiliations

Enchanted Garden Intentional Community, Dragon Belly Farm, Damanhur, Federation of Communities