Community arises when individuals form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Sustainability and community both require long-term thinking and a dedication to something larger than our narrowly defined selves. We have embarked on a journey toward sustainable living as a small community, because we feel that a small scale is necessary for learning and practicing the skills of cooperation and right livelihood.
This purpose statement lends guidance as we journey forward together. We intend to be guided by values and principles, rather than by expedience. This statement will always be under development, as our membership learns and evolves.
Our purpose is to learn, practice, and share the art of living sustainably, productively, joyfully, in ways that replenish ourselves, our communities, and the natural world, and that deepen our spiritual development and awareness.
We come to this venture with humility, acknowledging there is no single path to sustainability. We will pursue our path to the best of our ability, and refrain from judging those who explore other paths. We come willing to experiment, to tell the truth about our experiments, and to learn from our mistakes. We can't claim to follow the principles listed here perfectly. They point out the direction we want to take, not a place we have reached.
We will respect the beauty, sacredness, and interconnectedness of all life and the unity, power, and mystery of the universe. We will strive to reflect these truths in our lives, farm and community.
In our physical structures and our work with the land we will strive to create the kind of beauty that comes from mindfulness, holism, and elegant simplicity.
We will work with native and sustainably harvested materials and energy sources, and with designs appropriate to a rural Vermont setting.
We will think on the scale of the whole landscape and the long term.
We recognize the beauty of loving relationships as well as the physical beauty of buildings and land.
We will found our actions on respect for ourselves, for each other, and for the biosphere. We will find ways to work together that build on our diverse strengths.
We will identify and engage with our conflicts, while working toward solutions.
We will avoid isolation and indifference; participate fully; communicate honestly, patiently, and compassionately.
We will allow the many aspects of our personalities and talents to flourish, encouraging time spent in reflection, meditation, appreciating nature, and other creative pursuits.
We will take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, avoiding negative thinking and assumptions that lead us to create enemies. When tempted by distrust and fear, we will turn toward trust and love.
We will respect and support both individuals and families within the community.
We will ground ourselves in our own farm community and also participate in, learn from, and support the communities around us.
Our community will welcome people of all races, religions, ages, sexes, sexual orientations, and incomes.
We will not equate people's worth with the dollar amount they can command in the market.
We will assume that each person's time, independence, obligations, and pleasures are neither more nor less important than each other person's.
We aspire to right livelihood, practicing integrity in our dealings with people, nature, and money.
We will live simply, acknowledging that material simplicity often requires a commitment to complex solutions.
We will strive to satisfy our non-material needs non-materially.
To the fullest extent possible, we will derive our physical and spiritual sustenance from the local land and people.
We will use natural resources -- such as soil, forest, and water -- with high efficiency, in ways that enhance their purity and productivity.
We will make decisions based on the long term well-being of the land and its human and non-human inhabitants.
We will work together to care for the land, the common buildings and the shared resources of the community.
We will experiment with techniques and technologies to find more sustainable ways of living. We will share our successes and failures honestly and actively engage with others working toward sustainability. Finally, since the world often tells us we must sacrifice one of the above values in order to achieve another, we need to affirm our belief that over the long term and in the widest context all values do reinforce each other.
When physical, monetary, or time limitations seem to imply the need to compromise any of these values, we will use that apparent dilemma as an indicator that we need to look more deeply, to slow down and center ourselves, to find ways to simplify, share, or extend our time or space horizons, in order to discover the natural synergy that makes all values rise or fall together.