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Forming Intentional Community in Central Iowa

Jonathan Overlin

Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Posts: 27
Tired of the rat race?
Are you dreaming of something different?
Do you want your life to have more meaning?
Are you willing to work for your dreams?
Do you want to explore new ways of living?

The answer could be Intentional Community.
Join us for a discussion about Gaia Center, a planned intentional community on 80 acres just 20 minutes east of Des Moines Iowa, outside Colfax. Come meet some of the people involved and learn about this sustainably planned project.

We will be talking about- Green Building, Permaculture, Organic Foods, Visions for future, Nature, Cooperation, Art, Renewable Energy, Celebration, and Hard Work.

If you are interested in creating a future for yourself and your loved ones that is based on communication and cooperation, creativity and joy- please joins us.

Time -Wednesday, August 31 · 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Location -Ritual Cafe
On 13th St. between Grand & Locust
Des Moines, IA

Also at:

coordinates (for you Google mappers)=  41.700442,-93.287126
Kellic kelwen

Joined: Jan 11, 2011
Posts: 27
Location: Northwestern Ohio, US
I live in Ohio so its nice to see something going on in the Midwest related to permaculture. I might be interested in joining an IC, but I definitely have questions such as does everyone have their own housing? Its not like a commune is it (because I don't think I'd do very well)?

"All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man." Henry David Thoreau
Jonathan Overlin

Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Posts: 27
We are thinking of a hybrid community in as -

Income and labor-

3. Membership Structure-
a. Associate member- $100/ adult member not living on the farm
i. All members that eventually want to live on the farm, including all members active during the discussion phase.
b. Full member options (per adult member.  Includes; food, shelter, etc.)
i. $500.00/month + 10 hours/ week labor
ii. $250.00/month + 20 hours/week labor
iii. $0.00/month + 30 hours/week labor
iv. receive $250.00/month + 40/week labor

<<this system would be dependant of available ‘on the farm’ labor hours. >> 

**This is just a draft idea of how we can create a community that is accessible to those who have outside jobs that they want to keep, those who have debt load that they need to pay off, and those that want to work ‘on the farm’ full time.  This structure could work even for workers making lower incomes who want to live in an alternative, healthy society. That all assumes that someday the land will have profitable businesses. The monetary amounts are simply an example and are not intended to reflect anything currently available. **


On housing, we are still in the discussion phase, and are considering options that include-

1.people using their own funds and their own labor to build their own micro homes (with shared kitchen and other common spaces).  They would then be able to sell to the community or other community members if they wanted to leave the community.

2. People lend money to the community for the cost of their home, the community builds (and owns) the home, and the community member is repaid the cost of the building if they want to leave the community.

3. People move into community built housing (as we can afford to build it).

Like I said, this is all in the discussion phase, but we would really like to; keep the houses small (for egalitarian AND sustainability reasons), keep kitchen and other expensive utilities clustered at key sites (the kitchen/dining is the heart of any community), and we think community owned buildings give people the feeling of more freedom in the situation.

Anyway, thanks for your questions!  Every time some one asks, it gives us the opportunity to refine our thoughts a little more.

Grant Schultz

Joined: Feb 17, 2012
Posts: 213
Location: Iowa City, Iowa Zone 5
Getting any traction on this idea? As much as I love the idea of intentional communities, I've never seen one that worked. Organizations like Americorps are flooded with good-intentioned, yet skill-less no-ambition freeloaders.

I'm one of those environmentalist-ethical-capitalist-hustlers, a rare breed and a unique drum.

PERMACULTURE PLANTS - Seaberries, Chestnuts, etc:

GPS Keyline Design:




Midwest USA, Zone 5b, 145 acres, GPS Keyline, silvopasture, farm hack, builder
Jonathan Overlin

Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Posts: 27
@Grant Schultz- There are currently 5 of us that are signed on. We are in the talking phase with several others. We have decided on organizing as a private campground Llc. The basic model is the same, as I listed above, although we have not determined how the farm operations will be owned/managed. They could be a community project, or smaller groups could run them and the community would just be a customer of theirs.

Zoe Lynn

Joined: Sep 11, 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Florida
I think the way you've laid out the work/money ratios is very appealing.

As someone who doesn't have the money (but does have the desire to work) hard that design sounds pretty ideal.
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link:
subject: Forming Intentional Community in Central Iowa