In the autumn of 1988, I visited a small, family-based, egalitarian, income-sharing, intentional community in northern Missouri called Sandhill Farm for the first time. It was instant love and a solid match for my idealistic, homesteading dreams. A long, steady courtship commenced with regular visits back and forth, handwritten letters, and phone calls.
Seven years later, I finally fulfilled my dream and moved from St. Louis to Sandhill Farm with my infant daughter Emma, who was 10 weeks old. I was a green newbie to rural community living and to motherhood. It was the beginning of an intense growth period in my life that I will cherish to the end of my days. If you wish to step up into accelerated personal growth, move into intentional community! Sandhill Farm was an exceptional environment to grow and nurture my child.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
During an autumn visit when I was five months pregnant and a few months before I moved to Sandhill Farm, I enjoyed working in the sorghum fields stripping and cutting cane with Tony Sirna, Cecil Scheib and other members of a small group of young 20-something, pioneering visionaries from the SF Bay Area. They were traveling around the country seeking a good place to co-create their ecovillage. Favorable impressions and easy dynamics all around during this initial, short visit led to Sandhill members discussing a year or so later whether we could host their small group for a long stay (possibly a year or more), while they searched for land nearby upon which to build. After several meetings, we reached consensus and gave them a “Yes, come live with us!” Over the years, I’ve kept my finger on the pulse of this evolving project and the lives of a few dear friends who live there.
Eventually the group found their land three miles away, decided to name their community Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, proceeded to create their ecological covenants, and build an ecovillage from scratch. (If you’re not familiar with Dancing Rabbit, please check out their website or see this good, four-minute video about them.)
Toward a Life-Serving Future
How do we gracefully transition from where we are now to where we want to be in terms of preserving this planet for future generations? I believe communities like Sandhill Farm and Dancing Rabbit hold important keys. These visionaries are doing the challenging, hard work (and fun play) of pioneering our future on this planet. They are showing the way to share our precious resources cooperatively and responsibly.
Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage’s accomplishments in the intervening years — from when their small, hardy band of founders established their community in 1997 to today with over 70 members living in an 100% off-grid village — are nothing short of AMAZING.
Dancing Rabbit may be the most ecologically rigorous of any ecovillage in the U.S. ~Diana Leafe Christian
Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig is one of those long-time friends I mentioned and also a former colleague; we both served the Fellowship for Intentional Community for a number of years. She’s the inspiring Executive Director of Dancing Rabbit and also the author of Passion as Big as a Planet, which brings together her main passions: sustainability, spirituality and personal growth, and community. Recently she gave an inspiring TEDx talk about ecovillage life (click on the picture to watch).
Ma’ikwe’s newest project is Ecovillage Education US — a premier training for sustainable culture creators and supported by the cutting-edge sustainability curriculum of Gaia Education. She is the Course Director and Lead Teacher.
Gaia Education is a cross-cultural educational program developed by the sustainability educators of the Global Ecovillage Network, and it is this curriculum that grounds the course. This curriculum has been declared by the United Nations to be a significant contribution to their decade of sustainability, and has been successfully delivered on every continent.
This training held at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, sourced and taught by the talented pioneers who live locally, is a crucial bridge in the successful transition to a life-serving future. Sustainability needs leaders: those brave souls who venture into the unknown, and tug us all along in their wakes. Ecovillage Education is hands-on, transformative, inspiring and wholistic training for those leaders to take their skills to the next level.
Would you like to get involved and help train the next generation of sustainability leaders? Ecovillage Education US needs your help to fulfill their mission of equipping the next generation of sustainable culture leaders with the skills necessary to positively transform our world. Check out their Indiegogo campaign to raise $14,000 in needed funds to provide scholarships and professional videography (making parts of the course available for free and cheap online!). Please consider supporting this important work.
In the words of 2013 course grad Marita Albert: “what the course is ultimately doing is putting a fire under people to change the world… and that’s always worth funding.”