There’s no such thing as the Ideal Village. Too often eco-villages, communities or organizations are founded on ideology. What you get with ideologies is people who are less willing to do the work to feed the families that live there and more interested in quibbling over the finer points of consensus and ethics. Through eons, the foundation of successful human villages has been caring for the Grandmas, Grandpas and grandchildren that live there.
While philosophies of resistance, consensus therapy sessions, patented non-violent communication, permaculture, NLP, rays of leafy light or any other religions might help motivate and connect people, ultimately the ideal village is not built on these ideas but actual day to day connections between people, families and the land. When eco-villages and organizations are solely of Moral Purpose they invariably create some splinter group of dissatisfied customers waiting to make their escape.
Villages that last have the primary mission of caring for families and the land they live. The Way of Care is very simple. It is one tied together by making a living with each other: a family business, harvesting food, or both. If you have dwellings woven into the land that encourage community by their very design, then you’re keeping it even more real. It’s also important to remember that having grand and humble meals together solidifies family, and children feel cared for when we simply show them how to fish at the pond.
None of this is perfect. It’s simply living… and sometimes you have to muddle through the thick and thin parts. Interestingly, with enough time and perspective, even the hard parts begin to feel near ideal.
Do you agree? Do you object? Is there an ideal village out there that you know about or is family where it’s at for you?
Tony has lived and studied skills and concepts of sustainability his entire life. Even as a teenager he cultivated a 3/4 acre market garden based on principles of permaculture design and the study of ecology through tracking. The extensive Italian family Tony grew up with was one of the greatest influences on his core philosophy of the value of community and family. His focus at the Evergreen State College was how humans connect to the land around them through participatory experiences. This, coupled with decades of work and cutting edge development as a contractor and consultant in the field of environmental education, lead him to found TrackersNW and the Trackers Family of programs. Based on his work, research and experience in survival, bushcraft, traditional skills and tracking, Tony also taught extensively for the graduate sustainability program at Portland State University, including founding their Naturalist Training Program. He has facilitated wildlife tracking, outdoor entrepreneurial and adventure education workshops for the Forest Service, Audubon Society of Portland, countless parks and interpretation agencies, universities, colleges and much more. Currently, he is a lead Tracking facilitator for the TrackersTEAMS Immersion Program. Tony is also authoring a definitive guide and workbook on tracking and naturalist training.