Twelve Tribes Community in Chattanooga

Last updated: March 7, 2011 (4 years ago)

Listing created on: April 16, 2006

Twelve Tribes Community in Chattanooga

(Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States)

  • Status: Established
  • Started Planning: 1972
  • Start Living Together: 1972
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Website address:
  • Contact Name: Ed Wiseman
  • Phone: 423-698-6591
  • Address:
    316 N Seminole
    Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37411
    United States
  • Visitor Process

    Visitors accepted: Yes
    Our doors are always open! Give us a call, write, or just drop by. You can come for a day or to stay. Check our other Twelve Tribes’ Communities that are listed to learn more about us.

  • Membership Process

    Open to new Members: Yes
    We are constantly seeking to share what we have!

Mission Statement:

The Spread of Love

Community Description:

Between 1972 and 1978 we lived in several homes in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Vine Street, growing from just a handful of people to about 150. We ran seven restaurants known as “Yellow Delis”—three in Chattanooga and four in neighboring towns. Our purpose was to live a whole-hearted life and to obey the scriptures as explained in Acts 2 and 4—to share a common life together learning how to love like our Master, Yahshua (Jesus), did. We devoted ourselves to “serving the fruit of the spirit” at all of our Yellow Delis throughout the region.

Since then we have traveled to New England, the Midwest, the West Coast, and Canada, throughout Europe, and even South America and Australia to take the life that we found to these many other places. We have also raised a lot of children, many who are following our footsteps and taking on our faith.

Over the past 35 years we have grown to several thousand members, with over 50 communities in 10 countries. We are known as the Twelve Tribes and you can learn more about us at

We have returned to Chattanooga, Tennessee, our original starting place, and have opened a new Yellow Deli at 737 McCallie Avenue, and we have community homes where people can live together, overcoming the enemies that divide mankind and to achieve instead a life of peace and love. At the new Yellow Deli, which is located on the campus of UTC, we are promoting free speech through symposiums and open forums.
Our desire is to reach out to the people who live in the Chattanooga area, our spawning ground 35 years ago, and to show them a viable demonstration of love being lived out and perfected in unity.

We welcome everyone to visit us at our new residence located at 900 Oak Street in the Fort Wood district. This house is being used as a center for hospitality and for people we meet to get to know what we’re all about.


  • Adult Members: 40
  • Child Members: 15
  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Open to new Members: Yes

Social Factors


  • Type: Commune (organized around sharing almost everything.)
  • Decision Making: By a board, council, group of elders, or leadership group
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments: We are learning to recognize the grace and wisdom in each person, all are able to speak from the Spirit who leads us

Land and Buildings

  • Land owned by: The Community
  • Current Number of Residences: 1

Labor and Money

  • Shared Income: 100%
  • Required Labor Contribution: 0


  • Additional Comments: Like the bees, we are all for one and one for all.

    If you don’t work you don’t eat, right?



  • Shared meals: Approximately all meals
  • Current food produced: 0%, or close to 0%


  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Very important – we all share a common diet.
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals)


  • Alcohol Use: No~ this community does not permit alcohol use.


  • Tobacco Use: No~ this community does not permit tobacco use.


Additional Comments

Our worldwide communites began in Chattanooga. We left there in the late 70s to establish many other communites, but now weare back!

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

Twelve Tribes

Community Affiliations

Twelve Tribes, Twelve Tribes Communauté de Heimsbrunn, Twelve Tribes Communauté de Sus, Twelve Tribes Community at Peppercorn Creek Farm, Twelve Tribes Community at Stentwood Farm, Twelve Tribes Community At Stepping Stone Farm, Twelve Tribes Community at the Morning Star Ranch, Twelve Tribes Community in Arcadia, Twelve Tribes Community in Asheville, Twelve Tribes Community in Bellows Falls, Twelve Tribes Community in Boston, Twelve Tribes Community in Brunswick, Twelve Tribes Community in Cambridge, Twelve Tribes Community in Chattanooga, Twelve Tribes Community in Coxsackie, Twelve Tribes Community in Hamburg, Twelve Tribes Community in Hyannis, Twelve Tribes Community in Irún, Twelve Tribes Community in Island Pond, Twelve Tribes Community in Ithaca, Twelve Tribes Community in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Twelve Tribes Community in Lancaster, Twelve Tribes Community in Manitou Springs, CO, Twelve Tribes Community in Nelson, Twelve Tribes Community in Hillsboro, VA, Twelve Tribes Community in Oak Hill, Twe

Fair Housing Laws

This community acknowledges that their listing does not include any potential violations of the Fair Housing Law, or that they do not provide housing. For any questions about this topic please see our Content Policies and contact FIC with any questions or concerns:

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
Special thanks to the sponsors of our Art of Community Events.
Bryan Bowan Architects California Cohousing International Communes Desk ICSA NICA Wolf Creek Lodge