Planet Community Midwest Tour
Update #3 from the Filmmakers
September 27. Last week we had a great time in Ann Arbor getting to know some of the student members of the Inter-Cooperative Council at the University of Michigan.
We headed next to Cincinnati, Ohio to document an urban ecovillage. Rae and I (Aaron) were particularly excited to compare and contrast our experiences at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, where we have been living for the last six years, to Enright Ridge Urban Ecovillage.
We drove right through the heart of Cinci across bridges and finally up to the Price Hill neighborhood to Enright. The ecovillage itself exists mostly due to Imago Earth Center, a sprawling city forest plot that serves as a refuge for Cinci folks who want to connect with nature. It seems the area neighbors did not just want to drive and bike to this well preserved city forest, they really wanted to live around it and so the ecovillage was born!
Photo below: A musical benefit for Imago Earth Center at Enright Ecovillage
The spry and sparkly elder member Ruth guided us into the backyard of the their village common house, which also acts as a functioning cozy pub, meeting place, performance space and rental housing. Founder Jim welcomed us with a huge smile and an invitation to share dinner with his wife Eileen and their resident intern, Leah.
Photo below: Jim and Leah working the compost pile.
Our orientation tour of the ecovillage led us through a long dead-end street and into backyards teeming with gardens and friendly faces. To the uninformed, Enright appears as another anonymous collection of neighbors. We found out it is truly something else. Instead of the typical planned village of closely situated buildings with lots of shared infrastructure, we discovered a somewhat ordinary urban neighborhood with lots of older homes and wide tree-lined streets.
Photo below: A typical Enright neighborhood
What stood out even from our first day was the sense of community. Neighbors know each other through shared meals as well as property lines, and through volunteer work for ecovillage business that clearly takes a lot of effort. The income generating organizations that fund the ecovillage are also what provide so many opportunities to work together and become friends. Members do lots of different things to be considered members, and the video will discuss the creative ways they do this. (The first video from this Midwest tour should available at the end of October!)
After enjoying the downtown Findlay Market and capturing the city skyline on video, we headed east to unwind a bit before starting our editing work. Rae and I have been in the process of converting our tour truck into a wood gasifier…..aka, so it can drive down the street fueled by firewood, and it is now ready to use after a stop in Kentucky thanks to wood gasifier expert, Chris Saenz.
Photo below: Rae (left) and Aaron with wood gasifier truck
The take-away for me after this first tour of Planet Community is that folks who make any effort to connect deeply with people around them (especially by participating in the intentional community movement) are better able to access a wide range of human needs: healthy food, casual and positive social interactions, safe and affordable housing, more time for personal growth, a deeper connection to the seasons and the natural world, and much more.
I can’t wait for the next tour!
For more info visit Planet Community