Listening Tree Cooperative
Chepachet, Rhode Island, United States
- Last updated: August 10, 2018 (2 seconds ago)
- Listing created on: March 13, 2015
We intend to regenerate community as we consciously choose to create a more sustainable way of life. We will experiment with self-organizing social systems at this time of energy descent, particularly in egalitarian ways.
We are a small group that has just started a green cooperative homestead in Chepachet, RI. Two of us purchased a farm in June 2015, and are currently leasing it to the cooperative. When we find enough members and the co-op decides to purchase it, the owners will sell the property to the coop.
In order to balance the need for and efficiencies of community with the need for solitude and privacy, we are creating small, cabin-like shelters (including retrofitting existing outbuildings) for sleeping and other alone-time activities. We share one kitchen, and cooperatively prepare and serve dinner in the shared house to all residents on site each evening. The house also contains shared office/farm-work space, bathrooms, other sleeping rooms and a convertible guest room/yoga studio/meeting room. At this point, we envision a community of 10-15 residents will live on the farm eventually. The current septic allowance for this property is 10 people.
Key features include:
Regular community meetings and conflict prevention and resolution/management processes;
A participatory democratic decision-making process, with ‘sense of the group’ practices leading up to final decisions, the N Street method for contentious issues, and a “consensus minus one” decision rule;
Simple living, energy conservation and material cycling (e.g., compost toilets, rainwater capture, passive solar and super-insulated (e.g. passive house) buildings and renewable energy systems);
Growing food for the community (and others when excess), using sustainable farming, such as organic methods, permaculture, and wild-simulation propogation. Three market-farm partners currently share the site, with areas designated for them and for the co-op residents’ homesteading garden and animals and food forest;
New resident screening process and trial period;
Opportunities for agreed-upon community mind/body/spirit practice and also an acceptance of a variety of individual practices (yoga, meditation, prayer, etc.) or none;
Sharing responsibilities and work of the homestead, honoring the particular skills members bring to the community as well as sharing basic chores, etc.
Sharing many things, such as meals, a truck, appliances, kitchen, laundry, bathrooms, etc., to conserve resources and make community living more affordable than single-family housing. However, this is not an income-sharing community. Private ownership of cars and personal effects will be allowed and rules for borrowing established by each individual.
The cooperative as a whole will own and share the common house, barn, appliances, solar power equipment, tractor, many tools, etc. Rules about sharing will be developed through the group decision making process (see above).
A market farmer or farm family could buy a special share that designates a portion of the arable land for market farming, to be stewarded by the farmer(s) in a land tenure contract with the housing cooperative. See below for details.
Our community aspires to provide educational service to the state and beyond. We will promote and conduct workshops (e.g. deep ecology – the ‘Work that Reconnects’ – workshops, a permaculture charette) and host apprentices who will live with us for a summer or semester to learn community life, food and shelter provision and about local/global transition to sustainable living more generally. We may choose to partner with an existing nonprofit organization to help raise money, recruit apprentices, and provide high school or college credit.
We plan to ensure affordability and equality by setting up ownership as a limited equity co-operative. A limited equity co-op is an alternative legal ownership entity which allows people to buy into the property and own shares of the co-op and thereby be given rights to live there and use designated and shared space for living and working, while keeping equity earned at the level paid in vs. market price. This removes investment/speculation from housing and keeps it affordable in perpetuity. Purchasing or financing a share grants holders the right to live in and otherwise use the land and structures, but also to transfer this right by selling their share back to the coop. Unlike a condo, the co-op community has the right to vet new members when shares are transferred.
- Status: Established (At least 4+ adults, 2+ years)
- Started Planning: 2012
- Start Living Together: 2015
- Visitors accepted: Yes
- Open to new Members: Yes
- Please read the details in Membership below before contacting this community. Send Message
- Website address: http://listeningtree.coop
- Other social: http://www.listeningtree.coop
- Contact Name: Karina Lutz
- Phone: 401-710-9784
- Type(s): Ecovillage (organized around ecology and sustainability), Shared Housing, Cohouseholding, or Coliving (multiple individuals sharing a dwelling)
- Programs & Activities: School, Educational Institute or Experience, Volunteer, Internship, or Apprenticeship, WWOOF’ing, Guest Farming
- Location: Rural
- Decision Making: Modified Consensus (everyone agrees, with some exceptions or fallbacks.)
- Identified Leader: No
- Leadership Core Group: Yes
- Additional Comments:
Core group is the founders, and active for the formation period.
- Join Fee: $1000
- Dues, Fees, or Shared Expenses: Yes
- Regular Fee per Month: $450
- Shared Income: None
- Required Labor Contribution per Week: 15
- Open to members with existing debt: Yes
- Additional Comments:
Community economics are in process. Fees will be lower when more members join. Member-ownership purchase will be higher when the cooperative buys the property. Social enterprises/cottage industries can be set up my individuals or subgroups that would share that income. Enterprises exchange rent or goods with community for use of resources/space. This income pays down community expenses (not distributed as patronage).
- Energy Infrastructure: We use both systems.
- Current renewable energy generation: 100%
- Energy sources: Solar, Biomass, propane for cooking
- 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: Common House, Garden(s), Greenhouse(s), Vehicle Share, Library, Workshop, Outbuilding(s), Swimming pond or pool, Tractor & Farm Equipment, Fire pit, Swingsets & play areas, Internet
- Internet Available: Yes, community provides it
- Internet Fast?: Yes, it’s fine.
- Cell Phone Service: Good for most people.
- Shared meals: Approximately all dinners
- Dietary Practice: Omnivorous (plants and animals), Local (food sourced within 150 miles), Organic (no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), Mostly Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
- Dietary Choice or Restrictions: Somewhat – there are some dietary restrictions or customs.
- Special Diets OK: Sometimes
- Alcohol Use: Yes, used seldomly, or ceremoniously.
- Tobacco Use: No, this community does not permit tobacco use.
- Additional Diet Comments:
If possible, diet for shared meals will respond to the needs and preferences of those who join. Individuals may eat what they want beyond the shared meals.
- Common Spiritual Practice(s): Ecumenical (accepts all religions or spiritual practices), Eclectic (integrates multiple religious or spiritual beliefs), Not a particularly spiritual or religious community, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Quaker, Native American, Paganism or Earth Religions, Mixed Eastern Philosophy or Practice, Atheist, Agnostic, Humanist
- Spiritual Practice Expected?: No
- Education Style(s): Up to each family or individual
- Expected Healthcare Practices:
We grow medicinal herbs, but not marijuana.
- Healthcare Options: Up to each family or individual
Community Network or Organization Affiliations
The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)
deep ecology, farming, permaculture, ecovillage, transition, the Great Turning,