Ames Cohousing

Ames, Iowa, United States

  • Last updated: June 20, 2016 (11 months ago)
  • Listing created on: January 18, 2006

Mission Statement

Our mission is to create a sustainability activism community focusing on finance, food, and energy. A large component of our efforts is promoting the universal basic income movement, and alternative currencies that demonstrate the tangible economic value that basic income provides.

Community Description

Ames Cohousing is a retrofit cohousing community within walking distance of Iowa State University. It is both easy to get to by car, less than 15 minutes from interstate 35, and a completely walkable and bikeable community, with the University 5 blocks away, and a employee-owned grocery store chain 4 blocks away.

We use the phrase eco-village, but we are really in an eco-state. When it’s windy, Iowa produces more energy that it uses, and the City of Ames municipal utility listens when citizen activists ask for more renewables. With your help, we could make the entire city of Ames and Iowa State University be net carbon-negative in 5 years. This starts with conversion of the two houses to use entirely electric/hydronic heat so we can heat water when the wind blows, and store that energy for when it does not.

One of our members has a 350 farm in northern Iowa growing human food soybeans, and would like to see you join us and help develop food finance and distribution models that let us feed people, not capital.

  • Status: Re-forming
  • Started Planning: 2003
  • Start Living Together: 2003
  • Visitors accepted: Yes, rarely
  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
  • Contact Name: Troy Benjegerdes
  • Phone: 707 469 3728
  • This Community is Re-forming

    Year re-formed: 2016

    Re-forming with an intention to focus on activism related to food, finance, and energy. All of these things in the macro-scale are driven by the values of the currency used to finance them, and we believe alternative currencies that provide basic income provide better value.


  • Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property), Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling), Student Housing or Student Co-Op
  • Programs & Activities: Transition Town (post-petroleum and off-grid communities), Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association, Ethical Business, Investment Group, or Alternative Currency, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming
  • Location: Urban


  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes
  • Current Number of Residences: 2
  • Planned Residence Types: Single-family homes
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental, Work-exchange
  • Land owned by: Individual community member(s)


  • Percent Women: 50%
  • Percent Men: 50%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes, rarely
  • Open to new Members: Yes


  • Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
  • Identified Leader: Yes, multiple identified leaders
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    Concensus ideally, majority rules when necessary.


  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Regular Fee per Month: $500
  • Shared Income: Partial share of income
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 0
  • Additional Comments:

    Income is shared by voluntary use of alternative currencies that provide for a basic income distribution. Members have the choice to pay rent in US dollars, or qualifying alternative currencies, such as Grantcoin.

    Cooking: 5hrs/month

    Rent for home

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 26-49%
  • Energy sources: Wind, Clean Energy from the Grid
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 100%
  • Current food produced: Up to 25%
  • Planned food produced: Almost All, around 90%
  • Food produced locally: From 50-75%


  • Common Facilities: Garden(s), Vehicle Share, Outdoor Kitchen, Fire pit
  • Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, exceptionally.
  • Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
  • Shared meals: About once a week
  • Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, know thy farmer
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Expected Healthcare Practices:

    We want our members to have evaluated their personal values and health history, and have a plan with written documentation (which could be a qualifying affordable care act health plan) on how they would like to be cared for. If our members get sick, we must depend on the healthcare practitioners available in our community in Ames and Des Moines.

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Coho/US