Military Veterans in Intentional Communities Survey

Posted on July 21, 2023 by

The Relationship Between Major Institutions and Sense of Belonging

Surveys of Military Veterans Residing in Intentional Communities

Click here to fill out the survey

Hello fellow lovers of community,

I’m a former Navy Officer, current board member for the FIC and lover of intentional community living. I’ve often noticed a deep and meaningful connection between my time in the military and my time living in community. Back in 2021 I published a piece in Communities magazine called “How the Military Prepared Me to Live in Community” and through discussions with both the editor and readers, I realized that the connection between the two wasn’t as obvious as I thought. 

I get it. When we think about intentional communities, an image that comes to mind is a group of hippies holding hands in a circle, about to break bread before an intimate evening of music and cuddling (one of my favorite things to do). When we think about the military, some of us picture a soldier with a gun in some war-torn country, carrying out the orders of a broken political system with perverse incentives fueled by the military industrial complex and our dependence on fossil fuels.

How could those be similar in any way?

As crazy as it may sound, my experience in the military was very much about things like intimacy, closeness and breaking bread together, but I didn’t use those words at the time. When we put the larger topics of why countries deploy military forces aside, what we see when we picture that soldier is something much more human, and much more relatable. My experience of being in the military was one of my first true experiences of belonging to something. It was where I understood, maybe for the first time, what it meant to put my individual interests aside for the sake of supporting the collective. I never ate alone, and when I was struggling there was often a hand reaching out, asking what I needed. Not because that person wanted anything from me, but because I belonged to the group, and that’s what we did for each other. 

There are some folks right now studying the impact intentional community has on the world, especially as it relates to veterans.

This project aims to compare and contrast the experience military veterans have had during their military service, during their time living in Intentional Community, and while living as a civilian in mainstream society. This is being conducted by Dr. Zach Rubin ( and The Next Big Step, in collaboration with the Foundation for Intentional Community and we’re asking for support in finding veterans who have spent at least 6 months living in an intentional community. There is a 15 minute survey, as well as an option to participating in an interview later this summer ($50 compensation for participants). 

If you’re a veteran who has lived in community, or you know veterans who would be willing to help, we would greatly appreciate your time and referrals. 

Thank you for supporting this project and the FIC!

In community,

Dave Booda

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5 Replies to “Military Veterans in Intentional Communities Survey”


We’d like to offer a vet a free place to live in our IC as a handy and security person (go to and communicate with us via the email link provided there). We have a self-contained travel trailer he or she could live in near a year-round stream.


I neglected to add that I’m really interested in the study being conducted by Dr Rubin. I look forward to seeing the results. Is there a way to see what dimensions of experience/benefit are being explored? This is fascinating and should be valuable.
Deborah Merchant

Erin McMichael

Hi Deborah,

I’m glad this blog post resonated with you. I’m unsure of the exact dimensions of the experience that are being explored, but I will absolutely be sharing the results of this survey when we receive them. It’s very interesting indeed!

Thank you for sharing your comment.

In Community,
Erin McMichael


Actually, I do think of the military as an intentional community. There are many types of community, and many do not really investigate the level, degree or types of intentionality involved. Many do. I belong to at least one internet based intentional community, since that is the way to connect that works for us as we explore and grow in conscious awareness and our potential constructive impacts on the planet.
This blog opened up several ideas for me. I appreciate the thoughtful approach to living and sharing the experience of community that FIC provides. Thank you
Deborah Merchant


Thanks Deborah! Glad this sparked some ideas for you ☺️

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