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Communal Living in a Full-Featured Settlement

The Farm was founded with high-minded ideas using a down-to-earth approach designed for communal living.

| October 2014

  • Communal living fosters social interaction
    The definition of an ecovillage is that it should be human scaled, permitting all residents in the communal living environment to know one another.
    Photo courtesy New Society Publishers
  • Commune members interact at social functions
    Social functions such as regular community dinners give Farm members a tangible way to interact, build friendships and maintain personal connections.
    Photo courtesy New Society Publishers
  • Full-featured settlements provide the necessary components of community
    Ecovillages are also defined as full-featured settlements, supplying as much as possible, the many different and necessary components of community, such as places to work, to play and to educate the children.
    Photo courtesy New Society Publishers
  • Kids to the Country program
    The Kids to the Country program embodies the Ecovillage definition of healthy human development, using the community’s resources to give children from city-based homeless shelters and refugee centers the opportunity to explore the wonders of nature.
    Photo courtesy New Society Publishers
  • "The Farm: Then and Now" by Douglas Stevenson presents the story of this famous commune founded with idealistic ideas and common sense methods. Includes stories of communal living in a full-featured settlement.
    Photo courtesy New Society Publishers

  • Communal living fosters social interaction
  • Commune members interact at social functions
  • Full-featured settlements provide the necessary components of community
  • Kids to the Country program

In The Farm Then and Now (New Society Publishers, 2014), author Douglas Stevenson presents the story of a group that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to intentional community and creating a model for sustainable living. In the following excerpt, communal living is explored as members learn to operate collectively for the good of the community.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Farm Then and Now.

A Village Should be Human Scale

A village should be relatively small, a size that lets everyone know each other and interact on a daily basis. The network of connections becomes like an ecosystem in itself, sustaining the community. For over 40 years, The Farm has placed a high priority on the importance of family relationships. Its population size allows members to develop multiple circles of friends and connections on many different levels. Residents live, work, play and explore unlimited ways to cooperate with each other.

The Farm is a Full-featured Settlement

The Farm has many of the aspects of a small town, numerous neighborhoods, a town center, a clinic, its own water system, over five miles of roads, a dozen public buildings, a swimming hole and sandy beach, a community center, kid parks, multiple businesses and much, much more.

Farm Midwives deliver the community’s newest residents. The Farm’s cemetery has over 80 former (or one could say permanent) residents. Life on The Farm goes full circle.

With its own store supplying staples and a wide assortment of items, a good number of people may stay inside the community for days, even weeks on end, with no reason to make a trip into town or ever leave.



July 17-18, 2020
Polyface Farm, Swoope, Virginia

Join us for this one-of-a-kind event where attendees can see and learn live in person the operations of America’s most famous farm!


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