By Amanda Bancroft
Part Two: Rural
“Are there eco villages or sustainable communities (rural or urban) in the Northwest Arkansas area?”
Continuing our exploration of urban and rural sustainable communities in Northwest Arkansas, there are some options in the countryside. There are, however, some things to keep in mind during your search and visits to NWAR rural communities:
• Communities vary in what features they offer, no two communities are exactly alike.
• Disputes over land ownership and use is fairly common in rural communities, particularly in NWAR, so it’s important to have a Plan B residence in mind.
• A time-tested, environmentally-sound idea (or residence) being poorly executed and managed does not make a poor or unsustainable idea.
• Good intentions do not always produce good long-term management.
Despite immense challenges, some sustainable rural communities are so successful, such as Findhorn in Scotland, now 50 years old (findhorn.org) they’ve created a multi-generation legacy. Findhorn and other communities can be found online. Here are a few local options:
Acro Iris Earthcare Eco Village Project (870) 861-5080 firstname.lastname@example.org
Arco Iris is located on a beautiful mountain on Rancho Arco Iris/Wild Magnolia lands near Ponca and Boxley, Ark., with board members hailing mostly from Fayetteville and Springdale. Residents and supporters of Arco Iris “are building a sustainable community, natural health center and school on the land. It will provide health care, education, and employment to an economically depressed rural population.” Their mission is stewardship of the land, environmental education including permaculture, providing a healing sanctuary for women and children of color and community building activities that preserve indigenous culture.
Green Acres Eco Village, Cindy Garmoe (479) 236-0046
Green Acres was formerly located in south Fayetteville and decided to move to a rural location to avoid building codes and other restrictions that prevented them from adding a garden, aquaponics system, and other sustainable features to their residences. They are now re-forming, building a cabin, and hope to create an inter-generational, sustainable community on their land.
The Land Community, Sarah: email@example.com
The Land Community in Arkansas is forming now on 146 acres as a spinoff of The Land Community in Kansas, which features several attractive photos of their farm in the Directory (ic.org), where they claim to grow 50% of the food they eat.
Majors Way, Lisa Majors: (479) 409-9115 (facebook.com/MajorsWay)
Located in Garfield, Ark., Majors Way has nearly completed their first earthbag super adobe home complete with rocket stove and full of artistic creativity and inspiration. They accept visitors and host regular tours of their structure and mini-farm.
If you are considering living in a rural eco village, NWAR has several locations to help inspire your sustainable home, including Wattle Hollow Retreat Center near Devil’s Den (wattlehollow.com) and Windberry Farms near Winslow, which both host cobbing workshops. RipplesBlog.org offers resources on earthbag building and sustainable living. For an introduction to the types of communities that exist and why a person might choose to live in one, check out Making Ripples: Why Eco Villages? (June 2013 issue)