So a little story about the time we naively explored the idea of sharing the land we bought in Uruguay with some "like minded" folks from Germany, and how quickly and ridiculously it went south.
@RizomaAt and I bought 9 acres of land in Uruguay in 2012, when we were tender 28 year olds. We had long thought "wouldn't it be cool to set up some kind of mini-village on the property with others like us?" We were still in Chicago saving money for the move.
We listed the property on an intentional communities directory and put up a website. We started fielding requests for more information. We had regular meetings with people seeking to move to Uruguay. None amounted to much. Mostly people dreaming.
Finally we met this somewhat organized group of Germans. I think there were 5 of them. Late 20s, early 30s. They were serious about finding a place and committing. We met weekly, exchanged emails.
We tried to think through: how would ownership work? Where would they live? If they built a house on land where the deed has our name, would they have rights to it? Would we have to sub-parcel land, and is that legal in Uruguay? How would we make decisions collectively?
Almost all of those questions were unanswered when a particular issue came up in our conversations. We told them we had heard there was a government program where the government would put solar panels on people's property and pay them for the electricity generated.
We didn't have strong feelings about this program one way or another. We were sure we would have to do much more research and learn more once we were on the ground to decide. But we tossed it out to the group as something to have in the back of their minds as we move forward.
Next week's meeting the Germans had a declaration: they had decided that they will not move forward with the solar plan, and that this is their final decision.
All of the ideas I had about cooperative structures and "like minded" communities basically crashed for me in that moment. It was instantly apparent that these people are fools, most of us are, completely unable to move forward in any semblance of normal human relations.
That it will take us decades, maybe generations, to work out governance and cooperatives and whatever "like mindedness" even means in the crash of the techno-industrial era.
Of course if we have some kind of democratic or even "consensus" decision making, a group of 5 adults will outweigh the preferences of the two of us. They will have shared cultural context that we don't have. We will lose control over our own vision.
Not to mention, we don't know these people! And we would have no legal structures in place to kick them out or litigate issues if they were to arise (surely would!). Add in our own children and protecting them from chaos or risk of unknown forces. It's all just hopelessly naïve.
We quickly cut ties with them, and re-evaluated this plan. They were outraged we cut ties because they had invested the time in getting to know us. 🙄 Dodged a bullet. We thought: well let's just remain open and see how it goes once we move.
Once we got here we learned three things:
1. It is hard enough to figure out these things between two adults.
2. The community here is 1000X more functioning and healthy than anything we would have intentionally created.
3. Legal structures, including fiat currency, are real.
The lessons then, are:
1. Don't add complexity
2. Find and learn from already functioning systems
3. You cannot reinvent every social structure at once
That doesn't mean we can't extend a hand back and help others navigate the move toward a landed existence. But that needs to be piece by piece, and the onus of their lives need to fall on them. But everyday my time is spent trying to pass these lessons onto others.
TL;DR don't start an intentional community with the Germans.
Apparently I was unclear. This is *in no way* a generalized statement about Germans. That was meant to be a joke. It's a statement building community.

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More from @RizomaSchool

24 May
This is the wrong, wrong, wrong conclusion.

Plant ag maximalism is a catastrophic ideology. It is a religion dreamed up via global aggregate data regression analysis by "environmentalists" sitting at computers.

It has no understanding of ecology. Shameful and harmful.
Animal ag via holistic management is *one of the only ways* we know how to sequester carbon using natural processes! 🤬

Read 7 tweets
15 May
We've got to talk about the future of agriculture. Specifically, what's the vision? And what's likely to succeed in this transitional era?

I argue that we need to start at the smallest possible scale, lest our inability to solve many complex problems at once take us down.
Others have argued that the family scale farm is somehow inherently racist. We can get into discussions about land access and power, but for the sake of remaking the food system let's try to narrow our scope to the problem at hand: feeding people sustainably.
If feeding people sustainably is our scope, we must be realistic about how this can happen. We need to face the facts that we have lost generations of knowledge on how to produce food outside of industrial ag. Many of us are stumbling around in the dark.
Read 9 tweets
12 May
My homestead related content is pretty slim because we are past that initial "everything is new and this is fun!" stage, but not quite to the "we are experts in this" stage.

We are more or less learning through trial and error (mostly error) at this stage.
This practically means that we are putting systems in place and waiting until they break. Learning from them, and fixing them until they break again.

Probably the least sexy homesteading time.
For example, today I buried the urine diverter tube for our compost toilet. We had to clean it after several years of use and make a new outlet. 😬😬😬

Not exactly cottage core.
Read 8 tweets
29 Apr
I've benefitted quite a bit from taking a "yes, and" approach to twitter (and life) recently.

Typically a kind of lame rule of improv groups, I feel it can be a useful heuristic for relationships and people generally.
The basic idea is to see if it is at all possible to say "yes" (see the basic truth in what someone is saying/doing) and then saying "and" (how can I extend this with my own experiences/skills?)
Often when you add and encourage another, they think of what they're saying/doing in a deeper way than their contribution alone.

This is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
"I feel like dressing up today" -@RizomaAt

This is what a year of not giving a shit what you look like does to a person
The environmentalism of men who don't ever throw anything away

Read 4 tweets
26 Apr
Look, we are at a weird ass time in human history. Never have we been so rapidly disconnected from nature and the traditional cultures that helped us navigate our place in the natural world.
NEVER has humanity had to confront a return to ecological limits and construct new traditions in order to manage those limits ON THIS SCALE.
So you can give up the hope of some kind of simple RETVRN. It will not be that easy. And it certainly won't be that pretty. It'll be polyester and plastic for decades.
Read 8 tweets

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