Happy Spring, the season for regeneration and renewal at our emerging Mendocino County multi-family homestead and sustainability education site.
Interested in joining us? The Laytonville Ecovillage has two beautiful parcels for sale, with approved septic design for four bedrooms. We’re hosting a tour on Saturday, June 13 from noon to 3:00pm for prospective buyers and investors. Please visit Green Key Real Estate for details and to RSVP.
The Future of Laytonville, Mendocino County, and Rural Northern California
Laytonville is a small town located in Northern Mendocino County on Highway 101, three hours north of San Francisco. Mendocino County is large, mostly rural, and like most of rural Northern California, heavily dependent on the cannabis economy. With the legalization of cannabis likely to pass in the 2016 election, a lot of people are wondering what kind of impact this will have on our towns, cities, and especially rural communities.
Legalization will likely bring a huge reduction in the monetary value of cannabis, and independent growers will thus see their profits dwindle to unsustainable levels. This has already been felt due to the status of medical marijuana in California, and full legalization will make it very difficult for cannabis farmers to make a living. Small rural communities will be the most heavily impacted.
No one has a crystal ball to predict what this will look like, and the measures that allow for legalization will have much to do with how it’s regulated. Will California follow the example of Colorado? Or will it leave open an unregulated form of legalization? Either way, everyone knows that the price of cannabis will come down dramatically, thus affecting people’s livelihoods.
Add to this the devastating drought conditions in California which is making all types of farming increasingly difficult, and there’s simply no question about the fate of the cannabis economy in California.
One scenario is that people will be coming down from remote rural areas into towns, looking for work. If the jobs are there then the people will come. Laytonville has limited job opportunities currently; the nearby town of Willits has more but is still limited. Ukiah has jobs, albeit many of them low paying, but there are predictions that Ukiah is going to grow as the state population continues to grow and cannabis farmers shift their focus to “regular” employment.
As an upshot to legalization, it’s possible that California will emerge as the preeminent cannabis state where its reputation for having the finest growers in the world will create jobs and bring in eco-tourism. Tourism generates a significant portion of the state’s economy, and legalization will add to that number and provide employment for seasoned growers and those involved in supporting its infrastructure.
Legalization will also generate much needed tax revenue to benefit county services and free up law enforcement to focus on violent crimes instead of benign cannabis farmers.
Another current development that’s going to have a large impact on Laytonville is the Willits freeway bypass, otherwise known more locally as “The Bypass.” The Bypass has been a highly controversial project that diverts Highway 101 away from the town of Willits and around it so that you don’t have to drive through Main Street. The environmental impact of the Bypass is a catastrophic mess and could have been done responsibly, but Caltrans and the “Powers that Be” have prevailed and the Bypass is expected to be completed in 2017.
The Bypass will save anywhere from 15-20 minutes in driving time on a typical day, and substantially more during the Summer months when tourism is high on Highway 101 and traffic through Willits can slow to a crawl.
What this means for Laytonville is that a lot of the commerce serving the passing vehicle traffic in Willits will shift to Laytonville, thus potentially increasing the local economy and likely resulting in an increase in businesses. Currently the town has just one gas station and it’s expected to be frequently bottlenecked.
Another outcome of the Bypass is that it’s going to make commuting to Ukiah much easier. Many people in Laytonville commute daily to Ukiah for work. The increase in local commerce and the shorter, easier commute to Ukiah for jobs means the town of Laytonville will grow and the demand for housing will grow along with it.
Laytonville might become a bedroom community with a slowly growing local business economy. Growers might be able to organize jobs in the legal cannabis industry. And of course, people will continue to “grow their own,” some of whom will cling to the “good ol’ days” when pot was king.
One thing is for certain: change is coming to Laytonville.
It’s our hope at the Laytonville Ecovillage that we can provide small but visible examples of how people can live sustainably, affordably, and within their means in an intentional neighborhood. Sharing the cost of land, helping each other build homes and infrastructure, growing and processing food, and developing small cottage industries can provide some economic relief in changing circumstances. It’s not a panacea, it won’t solve the world’s problems, but it can certainly be a creative hub for sustainable community development.
We’re seeking founding members!
Become part of pioneering an ecovillage—two beautiful parcels are for sale, with approved septic design for four bedrooms. We’re forming a working group of like-minded folks who would be interested in sharing land and bringing down the cost of buying land and building homes. See our FAQ page to answer common questions.
For information on parcels for sale, go to Green Key Real Estate.
2015 / New Internship Opportunities
LEV is offering two internship tracks this season:
1. General—Launching an Ecovillage
2. MBA Students—New Economy/Sustainable Business Models Internship
Launching an Ecovillage Internship at LEV:
LEV is offering an “ecovillage internship” from Spring through Fall of 2015. We are an emerging, permaculture-inspired green community three hours north of the Bay Area. The ecovillage internship offers an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in all aspects of sustainable community development, from applied permaculture, ordinary maintenance tasks that are required of all homesteads, and research topics of your choice.
Interns this season at LEV will be able to take part in projects that range from food, water and energy systems to participation in the “invisible structures” coming into form at the site as we search for new members to join our community. Domains of work-study can be tailored to your interests.
Internships provide a unique opportunity to spend a season or two at our rustic wilderness homestead and forming ecovillage, immersed in study of regenerative design. Internships are available each Spring–Fall season at 30 hours/week, with a minimal Internship of three months. We are looking for highly motivated, self directed folks who love the natural world and approach life with an attitude of integrity and optimism, and who are willing to learn new ways of living, working and serving. Areas of service include all aspects of gardening, events, grounds and maintenance, cleaning and beautifying of community spaces, construction, study of renewable energy systems, and ecovillage planning. Studies include organic gardening, alternative building, permaculture, stream and pond restoration, natural history, environmental ethics and activism, living in Place, wilderness homesteading, harmonizing with the seasons, creating beauty, celebrating community, spirituality, and land stewardship.
Work Trade with Us in 2015
We are seeking individuals to work trade at the Laytonville Ecovillage in 2015, beginning in April and continuing into October. Work trade involves fifteen hours of work a week in exchange for living on ten acres of beautiful Mendocino County land and participating in weekend workshops on sustainability. We have a friendly eight-person community, community garden, chickens, outdoor solar shower, large outdoor kitchen, and are walking distance to town. Most tasks and projects are light impact (you will not be expected to exceed your physical capacities) while offering opportunities for implementing water conservation and management, land stewardship, food production, ecovillage development and operations, and integrating permaculture principles and techniques. A full description of the work trade opportunity is available on our website, including application process. After reviewing the description please direct any questions or requests for an application to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!