Elderberry Village

Rougemont, North Carolina, United States

  • Last updated: January 10, 2019 (1 second ago)
  • Listing created on: January 19, 2009

Mission Statement

To provide a comfortable and affordable home in the country for adults, where we can make independent life choices, pursue activities of interest, follow our spiritual paths, enjoy the benefits of a rural lifestyle (organic gardens, food production, animals) form close and caring relationships, contribute to others, and enjoy life as we age and help one another.

Community Description

Elderberry is situated on a 10 acre farmstead in scenic, rural Rougemont, North Carolina, approximately 30 minutes north of downtown Durham. Durham, the home of Duke University, provides many cultural and learning experiences. Durham is also known for its many outstanding restaurants, arts and festivals.

Elderberry provides a unique model for adults living simply and supporting one another as we grow older, continuing to enjoy the activities we love, with the help and support of close neighbors and friends.

A cozy community of 18 individually-owned, energy-efficient, universally-designed homes (duplexes and quadraplexes) where members may interact, work on projects, eat and play together, as we choose, and pursue our unique interests and spiritual paths. A large common house for cooking, group meals, crafts, music, dance, special events, guests and other activities is situated in the center of the community surrounded by a courtyard with paths connecting homes.

As a rural community would imply, we have created community vegetable gardens and areas for farm animals with the intention of being mindful of protecting the ecological integrity of the land, with the goal of becoming an ecovillage, and as self reliant as possible.

Elderberry is a self-managed, consensus-based community where all members have equal voice in decisions. The community was founded by three members of a nearby intentional community and is self developed.


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property)
  • Programs & Activities: Neighborhood, Community Housing, or Homeowner’s Association
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 10 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Multi-family homes
  • Current Number of Residences: 18
  • Planned number of residences: 18
  • Planned Residence Types: Multi-family homes
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental
  • Land owned by: Individual community member(s)
  • Additional Comments:

    17 Homes completed and occupied
    1 Homes under construction

    Additional shared ten acres with sister community “Potluck”


  • Adult Members: 24
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 0
  • Percent Women: 51-60%
  • Percent Men: 41-49%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Contact: Mary Bennett Phone: 336 364-4173
    Rosemarie Sawdon Phone 336 364-0386

    We encourage visitors on the second and/or fourth Sunday of each month which are scheduled for community work days.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    Visit location, and after initial visit, meet with members at 4 general meetings or work days. General meeting held second Sunday of each month, and work day scheduled fourth Sunday of each month.
    Meet with membership committee before becoming equity member.

  • Additional Comments:

    We welcome all spiritual paths.

    Adult cohousing community with intention of active life style in retirement or pre-retirement.


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


  • Join Fee: $350
  • Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
  • Regular Fee per Month: $180.00
  • Shared Income: None
  • Required Labor Contribution per Week: 4
  • Open to members with existing debt: Yes (some debt)
  • Additional Comments:

    We share electricity based on size of home to keep electricity costs low. We have two wells and two septic systems.

Sustainability Practices

  • Energy Infrastructure: We are connected to the grid.
  • Current renewable energy generation: 0%, or close to 0%
  • Energy sources: Connected to the Grid
  • Planned renewable energy generation: 50-75%
  • Current food produced: Between 26-49%
  • Planned food produced: From 50-75%
  • Food produced locally: From 50-75%


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Large Scale Kitchen, Internet
  • Internet Available: Yes, both the community and individuals provide it
  • Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
  • Cell Phone Service: Not good for most people.
  • Shared meals: 1-3 times per month
  • 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, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used occasionally.
  • Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    We plan to have shared monthly or semi-monthly meals with community grown food. When fully occupied this schedule will be changing and determined by residents. We have frequent spontaneous potluck meals.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs)
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual
  • Additional Comments:

    Members are encouraged to be active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most community meals offer organic dishes.

Additional Comments

Members are eager to continuing learning new skills and sharing their knowledge with others in a supportive, non-intrusive manner, recognizing that we all contribute in different ways, with varied skills, and backgrounds.

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

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

Community Affiliations

PotLuck Community


Adult Cohousing, Self-Managed, Independent Living, Active Retirement Community