McNeal, Arizona, United States

  • Last updated: July 8, 2017 (1 second ago)
  • Listing created on: November 19, 2012

Mission Statement

Peaceful high desert living that embodies Quaker principles of simplicity equality nonviolence and service.

Community Description

Friends Southwest Center is a lovely intentional residential community on 64 acres of land in the very SE corner of Arizona, USA. The community was founded by Quakers from Tucson 35 years ago and remains small but vital today. The founding principles of non-violence, harmony, living gently on the earth, and consensus decision making still inform our daily life and business decisions. We have camping and rental options for travelers, small groups and interested seekers. We embrace and nurture diversity for those who want to live simply in peaceful high desert surroundings.
Some of us do “guerrilla gardening” as the extremes of climate and local critters take a toll on our gardens. There are several home greenhouses and a young orchard.
FSC hosts a weekly unprogrammed Quaker meeting year round. We have a Peace Park, and donate regularly to charity. We are LBGT and family friendly. We support activism in border issues and some members volunteer with ESL classes for people in Douglas and with art projects in Sonoran border towns in Mexico. We are located close to Mexico, Bisbee, Douglas and beautiful wildlife and natural areas like the Chiricahua National Monument. Our local airport is in big city Tucson, but our lifestyle is high desert sustainable.


  • Type(s): Cohousing (individual homes within group owned property), Spiritual or Religious Community
  • Programs & Activities: Organization, Resource, or Network
  • Location: Rural


  • Status: We have land we have developed on
  • Area: 64 acres
  • Current Residence Types: Single-family homes, Multi-family homes, Room(s) in a house or building, Yurt, tee-pee, dome, treehouse, or tent, Mobile homes, RV’s, converted buses, Lots to build on
  • Current Number of Residences: 7
  • Planned number of residences: 0
  • Housing Provided: Purchase, Rental
  • Land owned by: Nonprofit corporation consisting of community members
  • Additional Comments:

    Land held in common in the form of a Land Trust. FSC is zoned as a mobile home park, though homes are adobe, brick, wood, and some manufactured homes. We have roads and some one-acre lots with water and/or septic for future building sites for new members. We also have a cemetery.


  • Adult Members: 9
  • Child Members: 0
  • Non-member Residents: 3
  • Percent Women: 41-49%
  • Percent Men: 51-60%
  • Percent Transgender: 0%
  • Visitors accepted: Yes
  • Visitor Process:

    Please email us with at least a one week notice. If you want to talk about an extended stay, we need to meet as a community to discuss this, so this takes time. We have a FaceBook site for informal questions or chatting. There we have photos posted of us and some of our rental homes. Some of our members travel for work/service; some live abroad part of the year.

  • Open to new Members: Yes
  • Membership Process:

    We welcome new sojourners and members, especially families and individuals under the age of 40. After a person or family visit and ask to explore membership, we offer an application and “sojourn” period. Our commitment is to welcome, kindness and consensus decision-making.

  • Additional Comments:

    Unprogrammed Quaker meeting weekly in our Community Building, yoga, meditation, games and music events hosted as well.

    Local options for small schools (K-6, K-8) Local public high school. Home schooling encouraged as well


  • Decision Making: Consensus (everyone agrees)
  • Identified Leader: No
  • Leadership Core Group: Yes
  • Additional Comments:

    We are incorporated as a not-for-profit organization so we have to have “officers”. Members all contribute to decision making. Visitors are welcome at any of our gatherings, meetings and meeting for worship every Sunday


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

    We have a land trust for our 64 acres. Our group manages shared accounts to support our infrastructure like our well, roads, taxes on buildings, solar array and insurance.

    Renters pay rent. Members pay resident or non-resident land fees of $75 (or $35 if dwelling is empty) monthly. Personal debt is the individual’s responsibility.

    We have work parties from time to time. Some renters reduce rent by doing work in the community. Some members contribute additional money for work that is done, like our orchard weeding and pruning, but no labor or extra money is required nor expected.

    Resident households contriubute $75/month/home or family to the community. Non-resident members contribute $35 month. This sustains us for taxes, insurance, electricity for common buildings and rentals, and our monthly charitable donations. We have a reserve account for our community well maintenance and repairs.

Sustainability Practices

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


  • Common Facilities: Common House, Garden(s), Library, Outbuilding(s)
  • Internet Available: Yes, 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), Paleo (no grains, dairy, processed foods, or legumes), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), GMO Free (only non-genetically modified organisms), Mostly Vegetarian, Opportunivore (dumpster diving, nature harvesting, etc.), Raw or Mostly Raw
  • Dietary Choice or Restrictions: No – people may eat however they wish.
  • Special Diets OK: Yes
  • Alcohol Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
  • Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
  • Additional Diet Comments:

    There are two community garden plots. More gardeners=more food grown and shared.

    Some of our members are in sobriety so community events like potlucks and Thanksgiving dinner are alcohol free.

    Tobacco smoke is toxic and highly discouraged. Smoking can also be a fire hazard. If a potential renter or member smokes or chews tobacco, we would encourage resources and assistance for them to release this addiction.

  • Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Quaker, Paganism or Earth Religions
  • Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
  • Education Style(s): Home Schooling, Public Schooling, Up to each family or individual
  • Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual

Additional Comments

PO 2 miles away, nearest towns 7 and 17 miles away. July and August are hot, quiet months, usually without meetings. Our community building can be used for worship or community business. It houses a library, AV equipment, washer/dryer/bathroom with shower and uses solar power.

Photo Gallery

Community Network or Organization Affiliations

The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), Quaker founded, active Quaker worship group


Southwest, Quaker, LBGT, Non-violent, Peaceful, Desert, Mexico, sustainable, gardening, border issue