Founded an Intentional Community
In August of 2012, I wrote a post theorizing
about what an intentional community informed by paleo frameworks and hunter-gatherer anthropology might look like. Some of that post makes me cringe in retrospect, but after starting the Intentional Paleo Community
Facebook group to hash out the ideas with others, many of those original ideas have survived nearly three years of debate. Here's a 2-bit distillation:
- Most intentional communities fail because they adopt agricultural system inputs and attempt to get hunter-gatherer social outputs. Adopting a cultural materialist perspective, this is bound to fail. And it does.
- Intentional communities almost always attempt to purchase one large chunk of property, and create an insular community. To achieve the benefits of hunter-gatherer lifeways, the required input is a network of small properties that everyone in the micro-culture can move freely between for social and subsistence reasons. This is a modern adaptation to analogize non-sedentary seasonal camps in a 100% owned/claimed world.
- The focus of land procurement is not to grow everything on community owned land, but to purchase land leveraging access to hunting, fishing, and foraging grounds.
Gardens (in a horticultural sense), but not farms (in an agricultural/monocultural sense), can be compatible with the desired egalitarian/immediate-return outputs.
- We recognize that many ecosystems have been obliterated through extractive human practices, including organic monoculture farming, and re-instantiation of regenerative systems (we call it feralculture, something like wild permaculture) is necessary in some landscapes. To the extent possible, we aim to nudge properties we have access to increased biomass and biodiversity, with the expectation of plant and animal food as a secondary effect of improving habitat.
Purchased our first property, or "node"
After much research, we purchased 4-acres of riverfront property on a salmon run in Alaska, with access to relatively wild lands and wild foods in all directions. Our community vision is not limited to Alaska, and is actively expansionary, but we had to start somewhere. Our focus was wildness, beauty, quality of life, and abundance of wild food. We have heard "it's too cold" too many times, and have come to believe this is often — not always — a reflection of domesticated mindsets and self-imposed limits to fully expressing and enjoying one's own human animality.