A lot changes in a year and three months! Last spring, I held several meetings about forming an intentional community. I learned that I needed to develop a bigger group, and that I needed to prepare more and provide more structure to the meetings. I also learned to set clearer expectations. I decided that I really needed more structure in my efforts and I also needed to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to starting a nonprofit. In late summer, I was accepted to the Managing Mission Driven Organizations program at Marlboro Graduate and Professional Studies in Brattleboro, Vermont. I took Project Management the first trimester, which helped me learn about the agility approach to managing a project, and helped me come up with a project plan. This included discussions as the first phase of the project. I’m happy to report that I’ve been implementing those discussions. I’ve formed and deepened some newer friendships in the last year, and some of those people want to build community with me, in addition to people who have been talking about a community with me for years. We’ve been meeting, and last week marked the sixth discussion! We’ve started discussing our economic model, which I think will include sharing land, some kind of pooling of labor and income, and helping each other build tiny houses!
This term, I’m taking a great class called New Venture Creation. It’s all about creating new organizations, based on developing a solid business plan. I’ve been researching a lot of different components – land and tiny house costs, septic tanks, zoning laws, and funding. One of the things I did last week was to contact some of the local communities to ask questions about how they’ve done things. This past Tuesday, I visited Katywil in Colrain, MA, and met with Bill. He was very kind and helpful, and answered my questions. I learned that he’s the reason that Colrain has implemented clustering into its zoning bylaws. Clustering makes it much easier for an intentional community to meet the zoning requirements of a town. Bill spent 4 years convincing the town to pass those laws, and I’m very grateful. It’s great legislation and I recommend it as an example for other towns. I’ve got a lot of great information and ideas. This week I’m going to be pulling it together and making it coherent. In a few weeks, I’ll be presenting it to my class. I’m getting excited about that!