I just finished reading a wonderful book today titled EcoVillage at Ithaca. The Ecovillage is a real place in Ithaca, New York…an intentional community with a focus on sustainable living.
This engrossing book draws the reader into the midst of a village that includes cohousing neighborhoods, small-scale organic farming, land preservation, green building, alternative energy projects and hands-on education.
The story is told by Liz Walker, who has been involved with Ecovillage at Ithaca since its conception. Not only does she share the joys and benfits of creating their own community or villiage, she talks about the sruggles and conflicts inherent in any community endeavor.
Basically Liz and another founder decided to build an intentional community that would bring people together under the common cause of helping the environemnt and building a community of loving, caring individuals to enrich the lives of all. Through a series of complicated events the founding community members band together and buy 175 acres of land just outside of Ithaca. They build the first community of 30 houses (nicknamed FROG), a common house, an organic garden and CSA program, farm structures, and eventually a second community of houses and an educational center.
The community grows, eating several meals a week together in the common house, meeting weekly and monthly to ensure the community needs are met, and working shifts in a variety of volunteer community positions. Carpools and car-sharing programs are formed, businesses are started, educational opportunites are arranged with local colleges, and government grants allow for projects such as habitat restoration.
I was amazed by this book. The enthusiasm of the writer, Liz Walker is infectious and I walked away planning a trip to Ithaca to visit this community and dream of a day when circumstances might permit me to join such a community.
This book is also a shining example of community taking charge of important environmental issues by adopting a lifestyle that put issues like organic and local foods, sustainable living, permaculture, water conservation, habitat resotoration, and living in harmony with the land at the forefront of their lives. This book is a must read!