Friday, March 24, 2017

Live Rent Free: A Safe Place to BE

Live Free, Live Safe

By Grandma KoKo,  updated December 2018    download the PDF file

Planned Homesteading Communities, affectionately called Peace Settlements based on sustainable, earth friendly and local-sufficient (beyond self-sufficient) practices will provide rewarding livelihood and economic security. Think of them as local food factories that effectively create jobs on the local level as we move toward a resource based economy. These peaceful settlements enable us to produce or provide more of the needs of our existing cities and towns by using local resources. Participants in this adventure will learn to live in a comfortable, peaceful way, eating good food, causing no harm and cleaning up the mess.

Sustainable homesteading requires a village, having community is vital. For the people who want it, living free will feel like getting out of jail. Our mission is to explore what an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet might look like.

Changing the way we live together, painting a different picture. 
Mark Henson, Oil on Canvas 
Live Rent Free
No one should have to pay rent to live on this planet. We are changing the way money works by changing the way we live and the way we handle the remaining natural resources. Planned Homesteading Communities offer common land held in trust with the expectation that the people who live there will do more good than harm to the environment. We are protecting ourselves and our children when we restore and preserve land by living in harmony with natural law, living in a way that benefits all living things.

Money has created an Empire of greed without end called infinite growth. Privatization of land rights has allowed bad decisions to trash the entire planet. Infinite growth is not possible on a finite planet.

We the People need to live in harmony with the land that sustains us. We are walking away from the Empire of Corporations by co-creating thriving peaceful settlements that value our relationship to nature and each other.

We walk away by making personal choices to honor our Earth and each other. Finding the true source of our supply we no longer allow money to be a tool for bullies. We are changing the way money works by walking away from Empire, leaving behind what does not serve.

Finding the land and money to make this happen is the easy part. It is the prevailing cultural ideology (propaganda) that is the biggest obstacle. Our addiction to the lure of infinite growth makes us blind to the cost we are all paying. As collective consciousness matures a growing number of people want to live as we ‘see fit’. The next step is to plan for what we want.

Planning a Homesteading Community

What would it be like?
Imagine life without paying money for rent. Imagine living in right relation with nature, each other and all living things. What will be possible when we can put our energy and determination into repairing the damage rather than causing more damage? This freedom from economic burden for the homesteaders makes it a safe place. The increased production of local goods and services will improve the local economy and better prepare us for an uncertain future.

Homesteaders clustered together can collectively produce a large amount of food; vegetables, fruit, nuts, herbs, eggs, dairy, cheese, meat, pickles, beer, wine, baked goods, pizza and more. Along with the food production there is ample opportunity for other enterprises involving goods and services such as; plant nursery, recycling/repurposing activities, crafts, natural building, offering social opportunities and a venue for groups to meet are just a few ideas. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people, providing our food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable, eco-friendly way.

It could be large, possibly hundreds of homesteads. It could be small, perhaps only a handful of homesteads. It could be a network of homesteads or homesteading communities. It could happen in rural or urban areas, and places in-between. This is a CULTURAL change, a change in lifestyle. It is appealing to many from the wealthiest to the poor, from young to old.

Watch this 40 minute video from National geographic to learn more about a sustainable lifestyle.  Life Is Good: Sustainable Living[1]

Careful planning and continual monitoring 
From setting goals and values to deciding on the skills and talents we desire, planning is the key. After a site is selected then a detailed permaculture plan can be prepared. Planning for more than the physical buildings and land, the social structure and cooperative economics need to be anticipated.

Staffing the Peace Settlements with the right homesteaders is essential to success. Using social tools and resources, utilizing emerging technologies and viewpoints for improving interpersonal and social skills will need to be ongoing. Non-violent Communication and the Peacemaker Way are examples of methods of improving interpersonal communication and interaction. 

We are planning to live in a way that may be continued by future generations without destroying or depleting natural resources. A sustainable lifestyle attempts to reduce our impact on the Earth’s existing resources. We do this by observing the natural world and working with it, causing no harm.

Self-sufficient and local-sufficient
The Planned Homesteading Communities strive to be self sufficient in every way. By planning to include a variety of talents, services and experience when choosing the constituents of any Community we can be assured more success with being self-sufficient. Variety is the spice of life, they say, and having a variety of contributions provides a cornucopia of plenty for everyone, plenty of food, clothing, homes, and buildings of all sorts.

Local-sufficient: Being able to produce a larger percentage of food locally helps us by mitigating the problems when disaster strikes, electricity goes out and trucks can’t deliver to WalMart. Local-sufficient also means the money stays in the community.

Use of ONLY non-polluting, renewable sources for fuel and electricity
We are moving from oil dependence to local resilience. Say goodbye to utility bills and non-renewable stinky fossil fuels like gasoline and oil. Power needs of the community can be met with naturally renewable and non-polluting sources. There is MUCH going on in this area and many options are available that will allow the Peace Settlements to operate entirely ‘off grid’. That means no utility bills, smart meters or cutting of trees to run utility lines. Fuel to power vehicles and small engines can be made from garbage, literally. The process is easier than making alcohol for human consumption, replacing the use of traditional gasoline.

Building with natural materials: Using Permaculture principles to design and build homes and other structures with natural and/or recycled materials allows us to live ‘mortgage free’. Our homes will be cool in summer and warm in winter by being built in a way that works with nature and compliments the local climate. The use of natural materials is not only economical, it is better for our health and well being than traditional building materials that may contain toxic chemicals and are harvested unsustainably. 

Based on Permaculture
Permaculture is an available roadmap to where we want to go. The ethics and principles of permaculture are dedicated to being sustainable and self sufficient.[2]  

It’s possible to rehabilitate large scale damaged ecosystems. Already established around the world, these practices are working in some of the worst places. These two videos about permaculture show how straightforward and beneficial it can be to implement permaculture principles, anywhere in the world.[3] [4]

Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

Permaculture is a holistic approach to more than landscape design; it is a way of life, a different set of living conditions that are in harmony with the ecosystem. It is an attempt to integrate several disciplines, including biology, ecology, geography, agriculture, architecture, appropriate technology, gardening and community building.

Watch this documentary for ideas about using permaculture in a variety of settings, from urban to rural. Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective[5]

Intentional Community
An intentional community is a planned residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle.[6]

Ecovillages are intentional communities whose goal is to become more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Most range from a population of 50 to 150 individuals, although some are smaller, and larger ecovillages of up to 2,000 individuals exist as networks of smaller sub-communities.[7]

Economically Self-sufficient
These communities will offer products, services, education and research. It won’t take long for a Planned Homesteading Community to become economically self-sufficient. Along with the true economic self-sufficiency, these communities of people working and playing together offers something more valuable, a deep sense of well-being that comes from feeling satisfied and knowing there will be enough. Participants in this adventure will learn to live without want of food, shelter or clothing and without damaging nature or polluting the earth.

Can start on a shoe string
We expect planned communities will be supported with ample funding. The happy truth is these communities can start, grow and thrive even with minimal funding. Where there is a will there’s a way. The HOW section of this document is full of examples and ideas to get started and going.

A Valuable Asset
Thriving Peace Settlements will rapidly become a valuable asset to their larger community. The entire process of building community spirit to initiate the effort, then planning, deciding details, collecting resources, services and talented people, all weave together to offer a sense of well being to every community that embraces this earth friendly lifestyle. Working together, we can build a showcase that honors our Mother/Father (earth) and each other as loving, caring, human beings. Each Planned Homesteading Community will have its own special features and unique feel as a result of the input from the people who plan for it. Everyone involved will benefit.

Save Money, Live Better, Immediate Benefits
A Peace Settlement offers a friendly, affordable, and easy to grow pathway to affordable housing and a better set of living arrangements. It offers a viable alternative for many who are looking to find a simpler way to live. We plan to embark, by collective conscious design, on this journey toward self sufficiency in alignment with Natural Law. We BELIEVE we can architect a better lifestyle, fit for human beings. We have learned, no one is an island, we can not get there alone, and this must be done by many as community in collective agreement.

Shared use
Land and buildings along with tools and equipment would be cooperatively owned by members jointly. The land and buildings belong to the community as a whole.  Sharing offers economic advantages, especially when sharing the more high priced items.

The Central Area possible features
The central area is the heart of our homesteading community. It is a more public place, offering a central building or compound of buildings. There is likely to be a traditional road in and out of the central area. Parking may be available in the central area. It could offer a shared kitchen, meeting rooms, shared office space, tools, entertainment, games and much more.

Along with being a resource for the use of the homesteaders, it can also be the place visitors come to enjoy the many opportunities. The Central Area may offer any or all of the following: Restaurant, hotel, general store, Brew PUB, bakery, performance stage, classrooms, office space, computers, internet connection, charging outlets, medical treatments, (both natural and ‘modern’ medicine), specialty stores and services, camping, small homes and apartments to rent. 

Connecting Communities
Communities can be planned at a size that suits the local folks. Clusters of Planned Homesteading Communities will offer expanded possibilities. Networking between communities and villages will allow additional opportunities for expanding horizons of economic trading and viability. Imagine what could be possible with many of these Peace Settlements offering great food, affordable shelter and lots of friends who all love the earth more than money.

Communities with Flavor - like a theme park
Communities can be themed to offer certain kinds of benefits and solutions like a theme park. As we grow into using Peace Settlements, clusters of communities may be planned to complement the goals and visions of entire areas.

Let’s explore some example ‘themes’ for Peace Settlements. 

Theme - Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Practice
This kind of Peace Settlement would be offering fresh, local, organic food, a vegetarian restaurant, cooking classes, yoga and so much more.  Having it set up for people to come for a healing visit, experience the lifestyle, perhaps for a 4-6 week healing experience. It could focus on weight loss or coping with serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Good health relies on a healthy lifestyle and these communities will model and assist people in that direction by actualizing lots of fresh food, exercise, clean air, natural settings and positive reinforcing activities.

Theme - Humanitarian
This flavor of Peace Settlement would be available for people who need help. There could be a focus on caring for elderly, children and others who are down and out. Having a place to go when we are not doing well, physically, emotionally and mentally would offer a special kind of social security. It would be a place of healing and finding balance. There is no greater grace than selfless service to others. It offers an entirely different residential opportunity for our elder and disabled population.

Theme - LGBT friendly    (LGBT = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual)
Let’s hope all communities will want to be LGBT friendly. Yet realistically, we can decide who is in and who is out. Call it discrimination or simply allowing people to hang with others who like them and are not hateful.

Theme - Criminal Justice, Mental Health, Substance abuse
People struggling with these issues have a hard time finding housing, work and peace of mind. Peace Settlements that welcome ex-cons, opiate addicts and sex offenders would be an inviting solution for communities that don’t want them, NIMBY ‘Not In My Backyard’. We are proposing that expensive and ineffective rehabilitation programs, prison/jail stays and homeless shelters could largely be replaced by simply allowing people a piece of land to call home. Calling it a safe place to BE takes on new dimensions.

Theme - For the Children
Families relieved of economic burden, will be in a better position to raise children. Peace Settlements that choose to have children and families can offer to relieve the struggling foster care system with loving families in Homesteads willing to foster and adopt. People of all ages thrive in a supportive community. Kids love having a safe outdoor place to play. People need to feel wanted. Foster kids deserve better than trash bags for their belongings.[8]

Theme - Creating Food Forests – Edible landscape – Forest Gardening
A food forest is a gardening technique or land management system, which mimics a woodland ecosystem by substituting edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Fruit and nut trees make up the upper level, while berry shrubs, edible perennials and annuals make up the lower levels.[9] [10] [11]

There is a profound difference between a forest garden and a conventional garden. 
Visit a thriving 23-year-old permaculture food forest. Thriving 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest - An Invitation for Wildness  20 minute video[12]

More of the many possible ‘flavors’ for a Peace Settlement
Focus on Recycling, Reclaiming, Reusing
Focus on Building with natural materials
Focus on Growing – plant nursery, offer landscape planning and maintenance
Teach wilderness and tracking skills also known as survival skills
Forest Communication, Tree Whisperers[13]  
Event center, music festivals, larger gatherings, camping

Detroit and Cuba as example
Agrihoods, also called agritopias or community-supported development, are an exciting concept because they create a remarkable improvement to the dominant food system.

Detroit has achieved America’s first 100% organic, self-sustainable neighborhood.[14]

“Agrihoods are the integration, in cities particularly, of food production, energy efficiency, affordable housing, recreation and community spaces based around farming. You have food, healthcare and education. Another way of describing an agrihood is as a ‘permaculture village,’” says Paul Glover.[15]

In some ways Cuba became a collaborative Homesteading Community when faced with an oil embargo. Powerful lessons were learned when they had to get by with significantly less fossil fuels. What spurred them on was an initiative that encouraged growing everywhere. Grow on the roof-tops and empty church yards. The successful farmers rapidly became the wealthy people of their communities.[16]

General Conceptual Components for the Planned Homesteading Community
Imagine this like a Home Owners Association dedicated to sustainability and food production.
Imagine thriving Planned Homesteading Communities providing food and commodities that are better value than available from vendors like WalMart, Fast Food or Dollar Stores; encouraging a thriving local economy.
Imagine the Planned Homesteading Communities could be similar to a park, tourist attraction or nature preserve. Each Planned Community will be a collective effort of creativity and a natural showcase.
Imagine newer technologies being utilized for sustainable solutions, research and education.

Like a Nature Park
These Planned Homesteading Communities would offer features that benefit the larger region. They might have a petting farm for families to visit and enjoy. It could contain traditional park elements, maintained and cared for by the members of the community. There could be; butterfly gardens, walking trails, bird sanctuary, water purification, honeybee promotion, coppiced woodland areas, larger gathering/pavilion sites for weddings and other special occasions. There is much opportunity here for enterprises serving as a tourist attraction available at a fraction of the cost of similar enterprises.

Center for research and education
People like to learn how to live better. We have much to learn. For example, a class about building with natural materials would result in an actual on-site building. Opportunity to experiment with deployment of newer technologies for sustainable living will provoke intriguing solutions.


The first step is to believe we can do this
Finding available land and money is the easy part. It is not the biggest obstacle, but it is the first thing people want to think about. There are many ways the land and money could be made available. Deciding if the Peace Settlement will be for-profit or non-profit enterprise starts the ball rolling and dictates slightly different types of strategies. It’s best to start the planning phase before the land is acquired.

Raising community awareness and support
Each community moving in the direction of sustainability will want to find out who is already doing what. It is surprising how many people are already involved in one way or another. Many communities have a variety of groups already in place. Permaculture programs and related activities are occurring around the globe. Offer informative programs to stimulate discussion about homesteading community. Show a video followed by discussion.

Get people involved at the start, form a group of concerned citizens. Listen and respond to every person’s needs and fears. Move toward working together as a win-win situation for all. Get connected with the people who are planning for your county, city or state. Most planning boards welcome citizen involvement.

Prepare the Business Plan and the Permaculture Plan
Think things through and write them down. A vision statement, goals, agreements between homesteaders, details about how the co-operative economics will be structured. If there are to be vending outlets to the public, like a general store, plan it all in detail on paper.

Finding the Land
We the people already own a large amount of real estate. Privately owned tracts of land stand ready and waiting to become peaceful havens. Certain properties may be available for dramatically reduced prices, for example; foreclosed or deserted properties, areas of urban decay.

There is public land (common land already owned by local, county, state or federal holdings) or land held in other kinds of Land Trust (public or private) that may be ideal for this purpose. There is a lot of cleared land along the path of installed utilities, (electrical lines, and underground gas pipelines). Imagine the clearing made by having installed an underground gas pipeline could become a foot path with Peace Settlements lining the way.

Land Banks offer an alternate way to finance real estate acquisitions. Perhaps a 99 year lease will be useful tool. The members living in the community will assure that the land is used in accordance with the values and goals of the larger community.

Let’s look at communities and strategies already in motion toward affordable housing and sustainable self-sufficiency.

Bob’s business is Affordable Housing
There is a gentleman we’ll call Bob, who describes himself as having deep pockets, meaning lots of money. He lives in a nice, yet not overly ostentatious home. He loves spending time with family and friends, especially his grandchildren. Some might say he ‘flips houses’ yet he would describe himself as involved in providing Affordable Housing. He is not affiliated with any charitable activity.

In some ways Bob is like a bank. There are some people who can not or will not deal with a bank, for any number of reasons. This is especially true for the folks shopping for low income homes. Banks can make things very difficult for certain people to get a mortgage, especially so on the low income properties. Often mortgage plans will fall apart after the inspection required before the bank will lend money. Many Real Estate agents would rather not be bothered with homes that sell for under $100K. Bob makes it possible for people to buy a home at a price they can afford. His business is both buying and selling homes. He offers the homes on land contract. Grandma KoKo knows Bob personally because he helped sell her home after it went into foreclosure in 2014. Thanks to Bob she came out way better than if she had sold her home the ‘regular’ way.
The point of this story is that a person or a community could become ‘like a bank’. In terms of the business of buying and selling homes it would be most appealing to be able to deal with a friendly local person to iron out the details. Help us all get past traditional obstacles to financing.
Any community could start something like this on a shoestring and it can grow over time into managing a larger amount of properties. It naturally follows that this could be a way to finance the birth and growth of a Peace Settlement.

Church - Affordable Housing is as important as fulfilling spiritual needs
Lily of the Valley, a church in Covert Michigan purchased a dilapidated residential property for one dollar.  Surprisingly, it is possible to buy real estate; a house and land for a dollar. The bank named Chemical Bank was kind enough to basically donate a property that was hard to sell anyway. The church community worked together, raised funds for repairs and paid some homeless folks to do the work. The home was given to a homeless family. They don’t pay rent; they pay into a fund to buy and repair more homes like this. The family will never be evicted if they can not pay rent.  The church is continuing to acquire more homes, creating a thriving neighborhood where before it was not.[17]

Well House, believes the solution to homelessness is housing
Well House in Grand Rapids Michigan is working with the Community Foundation to buy dilapidated homes and fix them up.[18]

There are hundreds of abandoned houses in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are also hundreds of homeless people. A local nonprofit made the obvious connection. With a relatively small investment, it realized, it could buy the houses, fix them up, and give homeless people an affordable place to live. In three years, the organization has purchased 10 houses from a local land bank and plans to purchase another next month.[19]

Ways to ‘buy’ the land
Existing approaches to owning and managing land could be used to acquire the property for the Peace Settlements. Use of a land trust is likely to be a most useful tool. Land contracts, land banks and something called a 99 year land lease could offer possibilities.  

Land Trust – An interesting financial tool historically used to hide land, now used to conserve land. Consider putting land into a land trust for the Peace Settlement. It may be there is land already held in trust that could be made available to a Peace Settlement dedicated to its conservancy.

Using a 99 year lease
Money Bullies use the 99 year land lease routinely to get land inexpensively. Look at how Nestle pays next to nothing for leasing the land and extracting Michigan groundwater.[20]

Land Contract – Financing between buyer and seller

Land Banks - Revitalizing Blighted Communities with Land Banks[21]

Rolling Jubilee is a project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting debt, it abolishes it.[22]

Tiny Homes
Got to LOVE them, so cute!
Austin Texas has already started a tiny home community. While not planned specifically to be sustainable or self-sufficient, it can offer insight about getting a similar project in motion.[23] [24] [25]

Site Planning and Layout
After selection of the land, spend time analyzing the features of the land and climate along with community needs and interests that must be taken into account. Spend time to watch and pay attention to the natural cycles and rhythm of the land. Become empathetic with the natural environment to ascertain how to best use the land to achieve our goals. Laying out the location of the CENTRAL AREA, mapping where to locate the homesteads considering functional requirements and what will work best with the existing ecosystem. We want to plan for stages of development, as the community grows from inception to a state of ‘being full’. Constructing a detailed permaculture plan for the enterprise is essential before clearing land or building permanent structures.

Locating Ideal Candidates
Finding people who want to live here will be easy. Many people will naturally be interested in living in a RENT FREE zone. Please note, while this scenario will appeal to our homeless, the goal here is not just to populate the Planned Homesteading Community with bodies that need a home. THIS IS NOT BEING PROPOSED AS A HOMELESS SHELTER!!!

Instead we want people and families that match core values of the community. We want to plan that the members of the community have or are willing to learn a variety of talents, skills and services. We are planning a thriving community that works toward satisfying needs and creating opportunity for ALL to thrive.

Careful selection of people interested in growing and working toward common goals is critical for success. Here are a few ideas of the kinds of products and services a Planned Homesteading Community may wish to include. Brew pub, restaurant, hotel, teachers, bakers, honey production, moccasin/footwear production, pickle making, bike repair, builders, herbal medicine, shaman, artists, musicians, researchers, food growing, preservation, preparation and serving, along with production of crafts of all kinds. Each community must evaluate its needs, wants, goals and select candidates that will fit into the plan.

Overcoming Obstacles

Getting Along
Learning to share our living space, getting along with other folks is integral to the human experience. We have become accustomed to property ownership allowing certain forms of entitlement that will not work in a successful shared living opportunity.
Peace Settlements will need to set up some form of governance. Ground rules and shared values will need to be identified and honored. Cultivating non-confrontational approaches and more gentle and effective ways of speaking will go a long way toward mutual understanding.

Negative public opinion
Some people think EARTH based living is inferior to the ‘modern’ way of life. Visions of a hippy dippy commune perhaps? They suppose participants will be eking out a meager existence in hostile surroundings. We have to move past pre-existing notions to be able to plan for what is possible. It is the combined effort of community that makes greater things possible. Imagine thriving Peace Settlements providing food and commodities that are better value than available from vendors like WalMart, Fast Food or Dollar Stores.

Negative social ideology will need to be addressed by good communication, explanation and engaging the larger community. As Peace Settlements demonstrate they are an asset to the local economy and well being that will convince by example.

Getting the green light on zoning issues
Zoning issues will need to be addressed. A Planned Homesteading Community is a combination of business, residential and agricultural zoning. We will work with zoning officials to satisfy the greater community agreements about land use.

What is the purpose of Zoning?
Zoning of land is the tool used by the County to regulate the use of property for the purposes of protecting public health, safety, and general welfare of the community. The purposes of Zoning are to regulate land use, prevent land use conflict, and allow growth to occur in a rational manner.

We want to build our own homes out of natural, non-toxic materials in a creative way that nourishes our souls. Seriously, folks, we can find a way to rewrite a few zoning ordinances to allow us to live in alignment with our ecosystem.  .

Changing Strange and Unnecessary Laws, Finding Normal
Strange legal issues have been problematic for most homesteaders and small farmers.

We are tired of strange laws that prevent all kinds of things like the collecting of rainwater, or using un-pasteurized milk. We are done with GMO’s, seeds that can’t reproduce and laws enforced pertaining to seed collection. We are tired of economic sanctions that support Industrialized Agriculture, yet penalize the small farmer.

Give Peace a chance:
Some people look at this plan for self-sufficient, sustainable Homestead Communities and dismiss it as too HOPEFUL. “Oh, that sounds like Utopia, which will never happen,” they say. In response we say, before the dominant culture of domination has influenced so much, indigenous/native people have been living together, peacefully, and co-existing in a sustainable rhythm with their natural surroundings for many years longer.  

Imagine no countries, no wars, no need for greed or hunger, people living for today, living life in peace, sharing what we have. You may say this is dreaming, but we are legion. We the People are ready to ‘Live as ONE’ and be at peace. The most important place we all long for peace is in our homes and in our hearts. This is the planet of LOVE and we are longing to live together in peace.

In order to live in a manner that honors the earth, natural law, and a more mature approach to harvesting the bounty and sharing it, we must look at every aspect of our current approach to living together on a small planet. Expecting that there will always be more, especially of fossil fuels, is folly. Infinite growth, financial pyramid-Ponzi schemes must eventually fall apart. In this time of great change, much is new or different. The information age has brought an intriguing set of possibilities. Moving forward into another set of living arrangements is an exciting adventure potent with opportunity.

Money is worshiped like a God. Those who have lots of money are treated as superiors and encouraged to continue pillaging for profit. Most decisions are based on profitability; little thought is given to benefits to the planet or the many life forms living here. 

The natural balance has been disturbed enough to warrant thinking about the possibility of Near Term Extinction. Not extinction of a few exotic species of bugs and lizards, rather we are looking at death to the entire web of life from the mess released by the ‘business as usual’ of EMPIRE.

As EMPIRES will rise, so will they FAIL.. As we watch the demise of the ‘Trumped UP Empire’ we long for a Safe Place to BE. We are NOT in agreement with an Empire that believes in fear and worry, greed and hate. We require common land for living in a better way. The obstacles, mostly just zoning issues, and cultural constraints will not hold us back. Natural law will guide us, the ridiculous and wasteful human laws and practices will fall away. Just leave behind what no longer serves US. The outdated culture of domination has corralled many into believing there is no other way AND the ‘toxic’ way things are now…is how things will always be. We know better.

We CAN do better, living rent free in a safe place to be.
Grandma KoKo – Multimedia artist and author of "More to Comea timely story about the possibility of a peaceful future existence on this paradise of a planet. Only love can heal the planet of love.
April 17, 2017   Updated Dec 17, 2018

[1] Life Is Good: Sustainable Living (National Geographic Documentary)
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and personal resources. (40 minutes)

Permaculture Ethics:   Earth Care, People Care, Fair share
Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies.
Permaculture Principles
Here are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.
  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
  3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
  7.  Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal– “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
Ethics and Principles of Permaculture are dedicated to being sustainable and self sufficient.

[3] From the Mara Soil - a Film About Simple and Natural Solutions to Poverty, Hunger and Disease  40 minute video
Global hunger, poverty and disease could be solved with resources already at our disposal. Film transports us to a community in rural Tanzania that is doing just that - solving humanity's greatest challenges with simple, natural and affordable solutions.

[4] Green Gold - Documentary by John D. Liu   47 min video
"It's possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems." Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in ChinaAfricaSouth America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.

[5] Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015) documentary
“Inhabit” is a feature length documentary introducing permaculture. It presents a vast array of projects, concepts, people, and translates the diversity of permaculture into something that can be understood by an equally diverse audience. For those familiar with the concept, it will be a call to action and a glimpse into what's possible – what kind of projects and solutions are already underway. For those unacquainted with permaculture, it will be an introduction to a new way of being and a new way of relating to the Earth. For everyone, it will be a reminder that we are capable of being a healing force for the planet.

[7] “Ecovillages, Lessons for Sustainable Community” book by Karen Litfin. The website offers detailed descriptions of 14 ecovillages on 5 continents, many of the more established ecovillages worldwide.

Ecovillages — A Leading Edge for Sustainability  video under 30 minutes, Karen Litfin discussing the book

Global Ecovillage Network 

'A New We ~ EcoVillages and Ecological Communities in Europe' documentary

[8] Foster kids deserve better than trash bags for their belongings.

[9] Beacon Food Forest

[10] Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological design and practice for temperate-climate permaculture
Book by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

[11] ‘The Ultimate Ecological GardenForest Gardens’  5 minute video

[12] Thriving 23-Year-Old Permaculture Food Forest - An Invitation for Wildness
In the small town of Riverton at the bottom of New Zealand's South Island is Robert and Robyn Guyton's amazing 23-year-old food forest. The two-acre property has been transformed from a neglected piece of land into a thriving ecosystem. 20 minute video

[13] German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too

[14] This area in Detroit is now America’s first 100% organic, self-sustainable neighborhood.

Detroiters are transforming empty acreage into an urban farming community. Could it work in Philly?”

[16] The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.- Documentary 2006

[17] Now they are turning a church into apartments.
"Our church mission is to empower people to propel to the next dimension both naturally and spiritually," he said. Helping to ensure people in Covert can live in well-built affordable homes is just as important as fulfilling their spiritual needs, Rev. Darryl Williams said.
It's not what the pastor pictured, but turning Covert church into housing might honor his calling

 [18]Well House in Grand Rapids Michigan

[19] For Well House, the model is simple: give people a decent place to live and the rest will follow.

[20] Why Nestle pays next to nothing for Michigan groundwater
Nestle Waters North America, the world's largest bottled water company, shipped the first bottle from its Ice Mountain plant in Stanwood in May 2002. Since then, the company has extracted billions of gallons of groundwater from underneath Michigan and has paid next to nothing for it.
Michigan, a water-rich state surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, charges high-volume, self-supplied water bottlers like Nestle and Absopure only $200 per year in paperwork fees to operate. There's no state tax, license fee or royalty associated with the company's extraction of a precious natural resource.

What is a land bank?
A land bank is a public authority created to efficiently hold, manage and develop tax-foreclosed property.(1) Land banks act as a legal and financial mechanism to transform vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed property back to productive use. Generally, land banks are funded by local governments' budgets or the management and disposition of tax-foreclosed property.(2) In addition, a land bank is a powerful locational incentive, which encourages redevelopment in older communities that generally have little available land and neighborhoods that have been blighted by an out-migration of residents and businesses.(3) While a land bank provides short-term fiscal benefits, it can also act as a tool for planning long-term community development. Successful land bank programs revitalize blighted neighborhoods and direct reinvestment back into these neighborhoods to support their long-term community vision.

[22] Rolling Jubilee

[24] Tiny House - Community First Village AustinTX

[25] For This Texas Town, Tiny Houses May Signal a Return to Relevance | NBC Nightly News

___________ additional material _______out takes from earlier____________

Common Land is the heart of the matter
Common Land is loosely defined as land that everyone has a right to use. 

“Common land is land owned collectively by a number of persons, or by one person, but over which other people have certain traditional rights, such as to allow their livestock to graze upon it, to collect firewood, or to cut turf for fuel.”

Common Land, Common Ground
“All over the world – in fact, for 2.5 billion people – lives depend on land and natural resources that are held, used or managed collectively. These communities, including 370 million indigenous people, call more than half of the world’s surface home, but have formally recognized rights to a mere 10 percent of that land. In most cases, these people are the best stewards of the land and its resources. They need strong rights and they need benefits. They need a voice.”   - Justin Adams, Global Managing Director for Lands at The Nature Conservancy.

Managing common land
Common land is land owned by one or more persons where other people, known as ‘commoners’ are entitled to use the land or take resources from it.

Commoners’ rights
The right of a commoner to take resources from a piece of common land is called a right of common.

A right of common can be:
pasturage - the right to put livestock out to feed on the land, usually grass but can be heather or other vegetation
pannage - the right to put pigs out to feed in wooded areas of the land
estover - the right to take specific timber products from the land, like whole trees or firewood
turbary - the right to take turf or peat from the land to burn as fuel
piscary - the right to take fish from ponds, lakes, rivers and streams
rights in the soil - the right to take soil or minerals from the common
animals ferae naturae - the right to take wild animals
Commoners can only take enough turf, peat, fish, soil or minerals for the property to which their right of common is attached.

'The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.'
- Masanobu Fukuoka -

"Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front" 
Book by Joel Salatin  

Joel Salatin, from the book "Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World"

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”

 “This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain't normal.”

“The average person is still under the aberrant delusion that food should be somebody else's responsibility until I'm ready to eat it.”

“Food security is not in the supermarket. It's not in the government. It's not at the emergency services division. True food security is the historical normalcy of packing it in during the abundant times, building that in-house larder, and resting easy knowing that our little ones are not dependent on next week's farmers' market or the electronic cashiers at the supermarket.”

Vandana Shiva
Seed Freedom movement
Non-cooperation  - Passive resistance

Bija satyagraha is a people’s movement for the resurgence of the real seed, of the intelligence of farmers to be breeders and to co-evolve with the intelligence of the seed towards diversity resilience, quality. It is a movement that springs from the higher laws of our being members of the Earth community — Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam — from the higher laws of our duty to care, protect, conserve and share. The bija satyagraha pledge that our farmers take says:

“We have received these seeds from nature and our ancestors. It is our duty to future generations to hand them over in the richness of diversity and integrity in which we received them. Therefore, we will not obey any law, or adopt any technology that interferes in our higher duties to the Earth and the future generations. We will continue to save and share our seeds.”
Satyagraha, the force of truth, is more important than ever in our age of “post-truth”. Satyagraha was, and has always been about awakening our conscience.

“As long as the superstition exists that unjust laws must be obeyed,
so long will slavery exist.” - 
Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi called his overall method of non-violent action Satyagraha, commonly know as non-violence. Satygraha translates roughly as "Truth-force." A fuller rendering, though, would be "the force that is generated through adherence to Truth."

As Gandhi acknowledges, he did not “invent” satyagraha. He learned it from the people of India. As he writes in Hind Swaraj: “The fact is that, in India, the nation at large has generally used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to cooperate with our rulers when they displease us. This is passive resistance.”

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." – Eleanor Roosevelt

People are already doing much 
Bioneers Revolution from the heart of NatureTo make these big changes will require the agreement of many, prerequisite upon much healing, individually and collectively. Many have laid a foundation for our return to an earth based culture. 

These Bioneers/Homesteaders/Permaculture practitioners continue to build and grow. So many people are doing it, or trying to. Many stand ready, longing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Many more long for a way out of EMPIRE and can’t see past the overwhelming burden of economic realities. 
"Bioneers are innovative groups or individuals who work to find practical solutions to environmental issues, focusing in particular on the interplay between these and other aspects of 21st century life, such as business, culture and politics. The term bioneer is formed from a blend of the words biological and pioneer."

People Are Ready
We The People have already made much progress. Many people are building earth ships, eco-villages and intentional communities. Many MORE are longing to gravitate toward a more economically viable, satisfying and friendly way of life. We, as a people in agreement, must end slavery and the desecration of our natural world. The opportunity to live RENT FREE would offer welcome financial relief to many.  In this way we achieve SALVATION. Yes, SALVATION for ALL the people.

Salvation    [sal-vey-shuh n]
1.  the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc.
2.  the state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
3.  a source, cause, or means of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.

People Want This
Community offers what people are HUNGRY for; better food, better sexuality, relaxed pace/less stress, freedom from WANT (economic viability), companionship and comfort. There is strength in numbers, and freedom in the economic security that comes from belonging to a strong, thriving community. People want to be in a space that cultivates and nurtures all of us. Offering a deeper sense of security and encouraging us to bloom into our more mature, authentic selves as human beings in relation to everything else in NATURE.  This is why we are calling this RENT FREE, TAX FREE Way of Life a Safe Place to BE

Sense of Well Being
Humans crave a sense of well being. We want to believe others will care for us if we can not care for ourselves. Living inside a supportive community, and knowing that all is being done in a manner that honors the earth and does not pollute or ravage the bounty of earth’s resources. We want to live without poison being dumped into our air water and earth

A Safe Place to BE
We the people want a safe place to live, to call home. We want to live better by being close to the earth as our hearts dictate. The fascist, police state of the union is unnecessarily fearful and ineffective. All people whether rich or poor are living in our collective toxic filth. This toxic filth has invaded our air, water and soil EVERYWHERE on the planet. Nuclear waste, released radioactive elements, chemicals, oil spills and germ warfare are but a few kinds of the mess floating around. Think about what’s being released in those Chem-trails being sprayed by the airplanes, anyway? This is not the direction we can afford to go.

The unthinkable madness of EMPIRE seems to know no bounds, yet we know it can not and will not continue. We the people are forging ahead to create a society, a culture that reflects the advanced level of our evolution as mature, compassionate, intelligent and intuitive humans.

We MUST LIVE in a better way, close to the EARTH! Our refuge lies in the loving heart of our EARTH, GAIA, Grandmother Turtle. We do this for our children’s sake.

Indonesia is returning land to the people who love it. 
Saputra, in his acceptance speech in response to the handover of title by Widodo, noted that, ‘Our traditional wisdom has played an important role in managing and preserving our forests. This has contributed to keeping our Earth greener and reducing the negative impacts of climate change’.

Earth System Models and Human System Models
“Over the last two centuries, the impact of the Human System has grown dramatically, becoming strongly dominant within the Earth System in many different ways. Consumption, inequality, and population have increased extremely fast, especially since about 1950, threatening to overwhelm the many critical functions and ecosystems of the Earth System. Changes in the Earth System, in turn, have important feedback effects on the Human System, with costly and potentially serious consequences. However, current models do not incorporate these critical feedbacks. We argue that in order to understand the dynamics of either system, Earth System Models must be coupled with Human System Models”  
excerpt from article: Modeling sustainability: population, inequality, consumption, and bidirectional coupling of the Earth and Human Systems

We must restructure our living patterns because the culturally acceptable mode of living conflicts with basic human system needs and basic earth system needs. It is not satisfying to live with Dominators among us, they destroy, plunder and murder as a way of life. By planning communities that serve the people, all the people, we can find our way.  We must find a better way to live together on this small planet. 

Russian Home gardens/Household Agriculture leading the way
“Dr. Leonid Sharashkin shows how Russian families have preserved a unique traditional lifestyle grounded in self-sufficiency and self-reliance - offering a path to a more fulfilling, independent, connected and mortgage-free existence. As millions of people the world over begin to embrace these ideas, humanity may now be entering an age of harmony and peace. This insightful presentation - revealing how we may each play our part - met with a standing ovation at the 2007 Earth Transformation Conference in Hawaii.”

Russian Dacha Gardening – Homescale Agriculture Feeding Everyone          
 “Russian household agriculture – dacha gardening – is likely the most extensive system of successful food production of any industrialized nation. This shows that highly decentralized, small-scale food production is not only possible, but practical on a national scale and in a geographically large and diverse country with a challenging climate for growing. Most of the USA has far more than the 110 days average growing season that Russia has.”

In 1999, 35 million smallfamily plots produced 90% of Russia’s potatoes, 77% of vegetables, 87% of fruits, 59% of meat, 49% of milk — way to go, people!
“In 2003 the Russian President signed into law a further “Private Garden Plot Act” enabling Russian citizens to receive free of charge from the state, plots of land in private inheritable ownership. Produce grown on these plots is not subject to taxation. A further subsequent law to facilitate the acquisition of land for gardening was passed in June 2006.”

“In the 1960s the then General Secretary N.S.Khrushchov in compliance with the agricultural program in Russia began to grant private citizens six hundred square meters plot on lease in collective orchards. Such a plot was called “dacha” (a country house). In the 1990s dachas turned from a place for rest into a major means of surviving – people then were more like farmers than amateur gardeners. For most people a dacha is a place to grow vegetables, fruit, berries…”

Extensive scholarly report
“The survey offers detailed information on the economic, agricultural, social, and cultural dimensions of gardening in the Vladimir region, including respondents’ adherence to a wide range of agrarian values. Based on the results, family gardening can be seen as a highly sustainable, diversified, and culturally important practice, which needs to be given due consideration by scholars and policy-makers.”

Family Gardening
Wake Up
Some people have little vision for anything except life as we know it. They think so called ‘modern comforts’ are worth the price we pay. We the People know better, we have suffered the terrible consequences of the DOMINATORS killing our people, seizing and poisoning our land, air and water. The carnage, rape and genocide continue to this day, as I write. In fact, the travesty of Justice caused by the relentless, heartless dominator culture not only continues, it is escalating RAPIDLY! There is talk of extinction. It has happened before to dinosaurs and can happen again to humans on this planet. It even has an acronym, NTHE - Near Term Human Extinction.

Lessen the suffering of the impoverished
While we are NOT planning these Communities to be homeless shelters, they will readily absorb many who are now facing desperate economic conditions. These Planned Homesteading Communities can provide for human needs at a fraction of the cost of traditional funding for the impoverished. HUD will be happy about that.

Even those often considered the lowest dregs of society; criminals, drug addicts, the mentally ill, disabled or retarded, even among these seemingly undesirable people, we continue to find people have talents, special gifts, experience and wisdom to offer a community. Everyone has talents, everyone is gifted.

Start Now, Learn As We Grow
While it takes time to be planning the community and placement of more permanent buildings and plantings, it becomes imperative to start living there in some way while building and growing. Temporary campsites and dwellings will likely be employed at the start.

EMPIRE acquires land for free or very cheap
Take time to wonder about how easy it is for the DOMINATORS to trash our National Parks. We lease them the right to Frack for mere pennies, jeopardizing the very nature of Park. Yet it seems unthinkable that people would be allowed to live in a park to protect them. Consider setting up a NO RENT Planned Homesteading Community in all the National Parks to protect them from those who would cause harm.
Case in point:

Why Nestle pays next to nothing for Michigan groundwater
Nestle Waters North America, the world's largest bottled water company, shipped the first bottle from its Ice Mountain plant in Stanwood in May 2002. Since then, the company has extracted billions of gallons of groundwater from underneath Michigan and has paid next to nothing for it.
Michigan, a water-rich state surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, charges high-volume, self-supplied water bottlers like Nestle and Absopure only $200 per year in paperwork fees to operate. There's no state tax, license fee or royalty associated with the company's extraction of a precious natural resource.

Considering Alternative Economic Arrangements

Rolling Jubilee -
Alternative approaches to alleviating debt can be applied to managing the acquisition of property for the Planned Homesteading Community
Rolling Jubilee

Debt Collective

A 99 year lease

Land Contract

Land Trust

Land Banks
Revitalizing Blighted Communities with Land Banks

What is a land bank?
A land bank is a public authority created to efficiently hold, manage and develop tax-foreclosed property.(1) Land banks act as a legal and financial mechanism to transform vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed property back to productive use. Generally, land banks are funded by local governments' budgets or the management and disposition of tax-foreclosed property.(2) In addition, a land bank is a powerful locational incentive, which encourages redevelopment in older communities that generally have little available land and neighborhoods that have been blighted by an out-migration of residents and businesses.(3) While a land bank provides short-term fiscal benefits, it can also act as a tool for planning long-term community development. Successful land bank programs revitalize blighted neighborhoods and direct reinvestment back into these neighborhoods to support their long-term community vision.

Tiny Homes – Got to LOVE them, so cute!

Austin Texas has already started a tiny home community. While not planned specifically to be sustainable or self-sufficient, it offers insight about getting a similar project in motion.

Tiny House - Community First Village Austin, TX

For This Texas Town, Tiny Houses May Signal a Return to Relevance | NBC Nightly News

Well House - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Well House – Grand Rapids Michigan
From Humble Roots

Marion Meade purchased the first home in 1977 for $350. Yes, three hundred and fifty US dollars bought this home.

She called it Well House.
“The inspiration for the name Well House, was Wallhouse located in Torpichen, Scotland. Wallhouse belonged to Marian’s family for more than three hundred years until its sale in 1904, and offered ‘protection and refuge.’ In keeping with the mission of the original Well House, Marian opened her home to others in need of comfort and protection.”

An Urban Homesteader
Marian’s style of living emphasized living gently on the earth and with each other.  Marian repaired her home using recycled materials, and heated it with a wood furnace. She showered in her greenhouse, and composted under the sink, recycling water to water the greenhouse garden, kept goats for milk and cheese, and maintained a garden growing alongside the house. She purchased an adjacent lot for $1.00 and planted fruit trees, and used a 55-gallon metal drum to create a sawdust commode, in which the sawdust organically decomposed waste in an environmentally friendly way. What’s more she did all this on an SSI stipend.

The Community Expands
In 1991, the Well House community expanded with the purchase of a second house, and in 1992, the city of Grand Rapids donated a third home—in an unusual manner. The home was scheduled for demolition, but Marian requested that the money allocated for its demolition be used to move it to the Well House campus, where it was renovated using funds from area supporters.

In 1994, Marian received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, garnering her national recognition for her long-term dedication to help others. Unfortunately, in 1996, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she fought for a year, entering the hospital only one day prior to her passing. Marian Clements literally helped others until the day she died.

“I didn’t want to be at the end of my life and say I’d done nothing with it.”

Some communities may choose to be religious or spiritual in nature and use land already held as non-profit. The Hare Krishna communities are an example of community styled with a shared religious focus. The Amish are another example of living a sustainable lifestyle in a community with a shared religious focus.

The journey to become RENT FREE and TAX FREE may turn out to be easier than expected. It is a process to move from one way of being to another. Take baby steps in the right direction.

Looking at alternate local economic models
A gift economy, gift culture, or gift exchange is a mode of exchange where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. This contrasts with a barter economy or a market economy, where goods and services are primarily exchanged for value received. – Wikipedia

This is Grandma KoKo, Ambassador of the Shift, your scout in the emerging culture of Compassion and Consciousness and this is my report.  
April 17, 2017


  1. Consumption, inequality, and population have increased extremely fast, especially since about 1950, threatening to overwhelm the many critical functions and ecosystems of the Earth --- was talking to you about this today, and now I realize I originally got this in my mind from your paper copy. Quoting you to yourself. Well at least I caught on to where I got the idea in less than 7 repetitions. xxx

  2. "Planned Homesteading Communities can provide for human needs at a fraction of the cost of traditional funding for the impoverished. HUD will be happy about that." HUD has outsourced their housing program to private contractors, i.e. real estate management companies who represent property owners. There is no such thing as public housing any more - only taxpayer subsidies for "affordable" housing. After passing criminal and credit background checks, we are discouraged from community interaction by the so-called Privacy Act, support for health care comes as supervision of compliance with what insurance will cover, nutrition is abdicated to Meals on Wheels or similar, etc. The ultimate goal is profit, not a sustainable and dignified lifestyle for the elderly and disabled, and the avoidance of liability when something goes wrong.