You grow your own food. Harvest and purify your water. Harness your own alternative energy. You’ve got all your preps ready, from medical supplies to defense weaponry. You’re happily self-sufficient, and able to face the future, good or bad, with quiet confidence.
Hats off to you! You’ve attained a level of self-reliance many of us in the homesteading community can only hope to achieve, and have patiently been working for. While self-sufficiency is indeed a noble goal — especially in the areas of food and utilities — many of us longing to be free from monthly bills and mortgage payments are hard-pressed to see that dream turn into a reality. The lack of necessary skills, fear of isolation, financial constraints and a host of other reasons keep many survivalists and preppers from leaving the city to pursue homesteading and off-grid living in the country.
But there’s one option they may not have considered yet: intentional communities. I’m not talking about the hippie communes of the 70s or the sustainable ecovillages that have been sprouting more recently. (Although you could consider those, too.)
What I’m referring to is the kind of intentional community that allows you to own property and be self-sufficient, to a certain extent, yet remain connected to an active, symbiotic group of folks who depend on each other in certain situations. Some like to call them tribes.
Among the growing numbers of preparedness-minded folks these days, many have taken it upon themselves to band together and collaborate. Mutual assistance groups (MAGs) are common, wherein members are willing to rush to each other’s aid at a moment’s notice. Those are wonderful. But how far apart are their members located? How long will it take for them to drive to each other or to a pre-agreed location should a major hurricane, blizzard, earthquake or an EMP strike render roads impassable?
One option worth considering is forming an intentional community of folks who have the same preparedness goals, living next to each other, sharing resources, skills, farm work, even the same faith. Like-minded friends, relatives, co-workers or church fellowships could pool their resources together and buy a homestead or location that’s large enough to accommodate all their families, but with separate and individual homes.
There are many types of intentional communities, ones that aren’t necessarily communal in which homes, meals, tools and all kinds of resources are shared. In today’s individualist culture, a co-housing arrangement might prove too suffocating for many. If you’re like me and value privacy, freedom of movement, and private ownership and enterprise, an intentional community with a reasonable degree of autonomy might be a good compromise. Some of the benefits that can be expected from such an arrangement would be:
- Mutual assistance. Looking out for each other’s perimeter. Security in numbers.
- Shared or reduced costs of land, farm equipment and livestock.
- Better efficiency in a garden or livestock co-op.
- Bartering, having buyers for your extra produce and suppliers for the ones that you need.
- An assortment of skills not limited to farming. If you could take in a mechanic or machinist, a doctor, nurse or paramedic, someone from the military, and others who are skilled in things like hunting, bushcraft, woodworking, herbalism and radio or telecommunications, it would be a great advantage to you and your group. The greater variety of skills you have in your camp, the higher your chances for surviving and
- Babysitting or homeschooling support, if needed
- A sense of belonging — sharing lives, burdens, accomplishments. This will be very important, especially during a post-crisis, when the emotional, mental and spiritual states of people are extremely stressed. Camaraderie is critical for encouragement and psychological support.
But if there’s no way for you to relocate and join a community that’s already existing, consider starting one in your neighborhood. You never know how many folks in your area are already “awake” and preparing just as you are. While many may not be as serious or committed as you are, those neighbors will likely be the nearest and most available help you can find when a disaster strikes – maybe more so than your extended family. And the more people down your block that you can win over to your side now, the less there’ll be to be wary of when there’s a lawless situation.
Of course, any interdependence among members of a community would depend on the members themselves, and how strong or far they’d want it to go. They may decide on mutually agreed rules from the start – garden share schemes, co-ops, etc. — or just exchange a verbal understanding to provide reciprocal aid when the need arises.
While community living may not be for everyone, there are a lot of benefits in it that would far outweigh the costs.
Do you believe an intentional community is the answer to safety during a future crisis? Share your thoughts in the section below: