This past weekend I visited a friend in the middle of Missouri. I wanted to visit for two reasons: to connect with my friend and to learn more about Dancing Rabbit - an eco-village.
So what is an eco-village? Dancing Rabbit’s mission is to, “to encourage their sustainable society to grow to have the size and recognition necessary to have an influence on the global community by example, education, and research.” This video is a good introduction - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iobyEjlV9AM.
The first thing I noticed on my drive north from Saint Louis was that almost every farm I saw was either growing soybeans or corn. I have been learning (I am on a team that purchases the raw ingredients we use at EVOL) about how most of the processed food we eat comes mainly from corn and soy, but it really sank in during my drive. In my opinion, it is not sustainable to rely on only 2 crops – it is a hugely petroleum intensive system that requires lots of pesticides and makes processed, un-healthy food cheap. Nature tends to like diversity.
The endless sea of boring, never-ending corn and soybeans was a stark contrast to Dancing Rabbit. A few of the diverse things I experienced at Dancing Rabbit were:
Moving the “chicken tractor,” so that the chickens could naturally provide fertilizer in-between the rows of apple trees
Going to the neighbor’s organic dairy to drink the best milk I have ever tasted (and getting to pet a cow – one of my life goals!)
Watching a couple build their extremely thick roof that will have a garden to feed themselves on top of it
Listening to the calming whir of the windmill that powers most of the villages homes
Eating a freshly prepared meal of home-made hummus, hot sauce, and vegetables from the garden around the table with new friends
Having easily deep conversations with some of residents as everyone pitched in to clean up their community
While the community isn’t fully sustainable (their economy and food supply aren’t self sustaining yet, and they still rely on the outside world) they are doing many things that just felt better to me. I left my experience at Dancing Rabbit, feeling more connected to myself, others, and nature, and while I am not planning on moving tomorrow, I do look forward to incorporating more of the lifestyle into my everyday life.