This Winter at the Laytonville Ecovillage I am pausing to reflect on the milestones we reached after completing several big projects. The unattractive “carport/garage” structure shared with the neighbor finally came down, junk piles left behind by tenants have been hauled off the land, tarps that used to function as roofs during the winter are being replaced with new roofs, and trailers are leaving the land. There’s been a lot of cleaning, clearing, and “energy moving” here and it’s about time!
For those of you who read the last newsletter, we have a new and unique Rocket Stove Hot Water Heater, and a mobile off-grid photovoltaic station that will provide a solar supply of electricity and serve as an educational tool for solar education.
Purchasing land and creating the legal infrastructure to build a green neighborhood (i.e. “ecovillage) takes time, money, and perseverance. With a strong vision and access to easy loans and refinances, I purchased the property in 2004 with the intention of creating a community-scale development that would be guided by permaculture, green building, natural building, and social structures commonly used in co-housing and intentional communities. It’s rare that projects like this go smoothly from start to finish. There’s a lot of hard work involved, a lot of pitfalls you have to work through, and of course: politics.
Many of us venturing into such a development do so on a shoestring budget. We purchase land that has old buildings in need of repairs and renovations, deal with neighbors who don’t understand what we’re doing, and host people who come on board claiming to be interested in permaculture and sustainable development but really aren’t. It’s all grist for the mill and if you stick with your vision, are willing to modify it as events and developments unfold, then you will eventually manifest some version of what you started out to do. Psychological resiliency is a key factor in sustainable development!
Onward and Upward in 2016
2016 offers an opportunity to move forward with creative energy, creative designs, and creative people. We’ll have openings for work-traders and internships, and there will be prospective buyers and investors coming on-board to consider creating a life at the Laytonville Ecovillage.
We have new work trade and internship offerings and online applications you can download. Work trade and internships start in the Spring but we can accommodate early arrivals if you have a trailer or motorhome to keep you warm and dry.
Local News: Willits Bypass to be completed this year
Although the Willits freeway bypass is an environmental catastrophe that should never have happened, its completion will make the trip up to Laytonville easier and save between 15 and 30 minutes of driving time. It also means that much of the drive-through business that Willits has will be transferred to Laytonville, and Laytonville is preparing for an influx of people stopping for the goods and services they would have previously gotten in Willits.
Laytonville is preparing for this increase in business by working to prevent chain stores, big box stores, and “formula” businesses. Our local Advisory Council has been working hard to draft guidelines that will soon be put before the county Board of Supervisors. Laytonville wants to embrace change and developments but preserve the small-town environment that makes this town friendly and comfortable to live in.
REAL ESTATE OFFERINGS
The Laytonville Ecovillage has four parcels, three of which are undeveloped and will ideally be offered up as a package to interested groups. I’ll be working with both Green Key Real Estate out of Oakland and a local realtor who is inspired by the vision of sustainable development in Mendocino County. We’ll have a “co-listing” up on the MLS soon. If you think you’re interested in purchasing a parcel, and/or are part of a group that’s looking for affordable land, please email us at email@example.com. The Spring Newsletter will have more information on real estate offerings, tours, etc. Stay tuned!