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Intentional Community Funding Ideas?


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Hi,

 

My wife and I are some way down the line towards joining an Intentional Community with our family later this year. They are a bunch of 'normal' people that have clubbed together to buy a small farm. Everyone has their own private living space & kitchen but there's communal evening meal (optional) and everyone clubs together on the farming tasks. They've gone for a mixture of standard veg plots, some sheep, pig, chickens etc and there's some coppicing in the small wood and a permaculture garden. From my initial visit I reckon they are well placed to be off-grid within the next 3-5 years. They also seem to have a planning officer that is sympathetic to their community so things like converting outbuildings into additional residences has not been a problem so far.

 

If you're accepted in they don't force people to invest hard cash. Everyone pays a tythe that is priced in terms of your living space m2 so of course the most desirable spaces are the most expensive. The tythe can then be partially or completely negated by the 5% return on any cash investment into the holding company. They use these investments to offset their mortgage which is quite large and around 50% of the peak valuation and for agreed capital outlay.

 

Income streams currently are 2 B&B cottages, eco camping one month a year, charging a bit of rent to the resident's individual subsistence businesses (for example micro-scale pig farming) plus skimming a bit off the top of the tythes). They also have some angel investment from external investors sympathetic to the cause.

 

Before we fully commit I'd like to come up with some viable ways for them to get this debt paid off ASAP as their income is currently not quite meeting the (IO) interest payments. This lack of financial stability is the main thing making me hesitant to join.

 

Ideas we've had include:

  • low impact lifestyle residential training courses, though these can be quite disruptive
  • selling a small number of 'lifeboat tickets' giving holders a bolthole if/when TSHTF
  • blatant begging: please donate a fiver to the community (this would obviously require a concerted marketing push)
  • Bonds - no idea how difficult this is to set-up and what happens if people want to cash them in?
  • setting up an on-site community centre that can be rented out (though as it's quite rural I suspect there won't be a huge demand)
  • Bushcraft weekends
  • Set up a community land trust, get the friendly planning officer to give OPP for 2 or 3 eco homes and sell rights to build there (this is likely to be a mine field)

 

As there's a lot of smart cookies on here I figured I'd throw it open to the board for suggestions, feedback or flesh for our ideas or any other comments (or anecdotal experience) on this possible lifestyle choice of ours.

 

Thanks

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Hi,

 

My wife and I are some way down the line towards joining an Intentional Community with our family later this year. They are a bunch of 'normal' people that have clubbed together to buy a small farm. Everyone has their own private living space & kitchen but there's communal evening meal (optional) and everyone clubs together on the farming tasks. They've gone for a mixture of standard veg plots, some sheep, pig, chickens etc and there's some coppicing in the small wood and a permaculture garden. From my initial visit I reckon they are well placed to be off-grid within the next 3-5 years. They also seem to have a planning officer that is sympathetic to their community so things like converting outbuildings into additional residences has not been a problem so far.

 

If you're accepted in they don't force people to invest hard cash. Everyone pays a tythe that is priced in terms of your living space m2 so of course the most desirable spaces are the most expensive. The tythe can then be partially or completely negated by the 5% return on any cash investment into the holding company. They use these investments to offset their mortgage which is quite large and around 50% of the peak valuation and for agreed capital outlay.

 

Income streams currently are 2 B&B cottages, eco camping one month a year, charging a bit of rent to the resident's individual subsistence businesses (for example micro-scale pig farming) plus skimming a bit off the top of the tythes). They also have some angel investment from external investors sympathetic to the cause.

 

Before we fully commit I'd like to come up with some viable ways for them to get this debt paid off ASAP as their income is currently not quite meeting the (IO) interest payments. This lack of financial stability is the main thing making me hesitant to join.

 

Ideas we've had include:

  • low impact lifestyle residential training courses, though these can be quite disruptive
  • selling a small number of 'lifeboat tickets' giving holders a bolthole if/when TSHTF
  • blatant begging: please donate a fiver to the community (this would obviously require a concerted marketing push)
  • Bonds - no idea how difficult this is to set-up and what happens if people want to cash them in?
  • setting up an on-site community centre that can be rented out (though as it's quite rural I suspect there won't be a huge demand)
  • Bushcraft weekends
  • Set up a community land trust, get the friendly planning officer to give OPP for 2 or 3 eco homes and sell rights to build there (this is likely to be a mine field)

 

As there's a lot of smart cookies on here I figured I'd throw it open to the board for suggestions, feedback or flesh for our ideas or any other comments (or anecdotal experience) on this possible lifestyle choice of ours.

 

Thanks

 

More courses - eg. cohousing (doing it that way?), permaculture (doing that?)

meditation, alternative therapy, bodycare, etc stuff like chi kung... could be an 'appealing' setting for that sort of thing.

 

Obviously the disruption, access to teachers and course runners, etc all weighs on that stuff as ideas...

 

I'd get intouch with Alan Heeks / the Threshold Centre and see what they do/can suggest. Maybe also check out www.lilac.coop for ideas / help with legal stuff, structures, funding, etc. Find out what similar are doing and ask them for help/suggestions too - bit of networking and all that.

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