Dancing Rabbit (in the Moon)

(or Eco-village touring for amatures)

A few weeks ago, I took a road trip out to Dancing Rabbit in the hills of rural northeastern MO. Dancing Rabbit is an intentional community and ecovillage positioned in the NE corner of Missouri. From where I live, it’s about an eight hour drive. I was so excited to go, I couldn’t sleep. Instead, I decided to drive all night.

My partner was engaged in the wonderous, exhausting, week-long process of driving/moving across the country (from Los Angeles, CA to Fort Wayne, IN), and it sounded like a fun meetup weekend. We have both had our fingers of curiosity in the sustainability/permaculture/community pie. We’ve both read, and studied, and researched a ton on how intentional communities, and eco-villages are created, and maintained. She’s actually lived on one in California for part of a year, so this was a chance to compare experiences.

The Milkweed Mercantile.

This colony of humans planned and built this sustainability focused collective over twenty-three years ago. They wrote guidelines for managing resources and community. They have evolved their system of self governance from group consensus, to a rotational representitive council. Support for conflict resolution is available in the form of optional mediation, and continuous education and encouragment of non-violent communication.

Buildings appear to be constructed from locally sourced, and reclaimed materials. We had numerous opportunities to talk with residents about their building methods. Electrical needs are met entirely by self-managed wind and solar. (and yes, they have wifi.)

After hours of country back roads, and dirt track, the first thing you’ll see is the Milkweed Mercantile. It’s a grocery, and a tavern, and a restaurant, and a tidy english-style bed and breakfast. The bed and Breakfast aspect was realy well done. Kurt and Alline run the place, along with their innkeeper, Rae. We had breakfast and dinner there, several days in a row. It was tasty, organic, locally sourced, and reasonably priced. Our interactions with Kurt, Alline, and Rae were formative to our experience with Dancing Rabbit. Over the weekend, over many meals, (and some beers), we had numerous opportunities to speak with them. Over the course of the weekend, they prodded us sweetly about our goals, plans , and lifestyle. We were able to share comfortably with them about our poly lifestyle, recreational choices, and relationship background. They each presented extremely candid, and vulnerable presentations of the challenges, victories, hardships, and achievements in their own personal stories, and their shared histories around Dancing Rabbit. We were pretty floored with the emotional availability, and feeling of safety and welcome they presented to us as newcomers to their community, and guests to their home.

Garden beds!

On the other side of the road is a very densly packed array of raised garden beds, with every kind of plant you could grow in this climate. I had an opportunity to speak with the person who manages the raised beds. She was pretty excited about all the crops they were able to produce, due to Missouri’s excellent growing season. There’s also a market with fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and spices. That structure was very new construction, mostly wood reclaimed from pallets. Outsiders were allowed to use cash, residents had a monthly credit system of accounting to use for themselves.

All in all, my impression of Dancing Rabbit was pretty stellar. seeing examples of sustainability, permaculture, and self-generated water and power was pretty uplifting to my perspective of what is actually possible. I plan to make another visit, and posibly engage in a longer stay. I don’t see myself making a dramatic move towards an Eco villiage anytime soon. I’m still pretty married to civilization, at the moment. Hopefully, I can bring some of the concepts and principles sustainability to the urban setting we reside in now.

I encourage anyone with an interest to check out the Dancing Rabbit website, and facebook page, and even go visit them. It’s quite worthwhile.

Find out more at:http://www.dancingrabbit.org/

also: http://www.milkweedmercantile.com/ is the Bed and Breakfast house.

Their address is: 1 Dancing Rabbit Ln, Rutledge, MO 63563

The main phone number is: (660) 883–5511

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