Denise Ward
14 min readFeb 25, 2022

Proposal: That a first Collaborative be initiated which will discuss, design and promote Permaculture Neighborhoods and Villages throughout the world.

Dated March 6, 2022 (Yellow Day 28, Eighth Moon, 001)

Permaculture Neighborhood/Village — A Model

The property up the road from me has been up for sale for 6 years. They prefer the buyer to have an interest in caring for the land.

The land has 17 acres. On it is a biggish white house and a large barn. They are in reasonable condition though I think the house needs work like a new furnace but the roof is in excellent condition and was done recently-ish.

The house is being sold for $130,000. About 5 acres of the property is cleared and with not too much work can be ready to grow food crops almost right away. The idea is to invite two families and perhaps a disabled person or an elderly person at the beginning to join us in turning the land into a Permaculture Neighborhood/Village. The Neighborhood/Village will essentially be a small organism made up of people working together to provide their own interdependence as well as act like a learning park. It will be fully sustainable and fully independent of government after five years. After the first families get it started, more openings would be accorded. We grow slow and steady. The land on The Permaculture Neighborhood/Village can accommodate up to about ten families. The Neighborhood/Village would act as a prototype for a new way of living upon the earth and from this, we would spawn and collaborate with, at least one other Permaculture Neighborhood/Village, and then more. This is how a network is spawned. Collaboration is key in this paradigm. Each Neighborhood/Village will manage its own online presence which will be presented on the Permaculture Neighborhood/Village network. The people who come to live this way are people who reject the current paradigm of hierarchy and exploitation. Therefore a new system had to be devised to accommodate the desire of people everywhere reclaiming their sovereignty. The system is called the Egalitarian Proposal System, and it gives ever single person, including children, equal voice. Based on individual sovereignty, it is a new social system that completely rethinks how we view ourselves and our relationship to each other.

The families or singles that come to the Neighborhood/Village need to be able to do meaningful work. Everyone will be needed in some way to match their capacity so everyone will feel meaningful. The elderly for example may supervise the children while the able adults work on the land; the disabled may help with easy tasks like peeling potatoes or watering the food forests and gardens. Settlers can simply provide their own yurt or tiny house, and set themselves up on the property. A plan would be drawn up to determine where each dwelling will best be situated on the property. Currently it is envisaged to go on the large swathe of land behind the house and barn. The plan would include other details such as animal housing and pasture, and where food crops and water systems would be allotted, etc. The Neighborhood/Village only needs one family to get started. Once one family commits, we would build a dwelling that is made of hempcrete. This building would showcase the attributes of hemp as part of the Permaculture Neighborhood/Village and also be used for lodgings for Permaculture Apprentices that come to live in the neighborhood/village.

Permaculture Apprentices would commit to working on the property for as long or as briefly as they wish however they would need to commit so we could plan for reliability and sustainability. We would encourage those who wish to make a lifelong commitment to practicing the systems we use in the neighborhood/village. They would learn to apply permaculture principles while harmonizing with the new principles of sovereignty and be eager to impart this knowledge to people they know and meet. Passionate people will commit to getting off government, teaching sovereignty in their behavior as well as their voice. Sovereignty basically considers of treating all earthling as equally valuable. No species has more value than another and that includes humans. With that passion the neighborhood/village will be the only place of this kind, until more sprout. This is the way it should be because we believe that the way to grow is organically, through voluntary adoption. In fact all action will be voluntary in the new paradigm which we will practice in the neighborhood/village. The Neighborhood/Village will be guided by an alternative system to governance, a simple system that honors every person as a sovereign, where no one has to fight for that status. That alternative is called the Egalitarian Proposal System, mentioned above. This system enables every sovereign to make proposals, and vote upon proposals.. This system invests the power into the hands of the sovereign, not an outside party, so there will be no need for “government”. A simple website will host the infrastructure. The Neighborhood/Village will avail itself of the internet extensively — this is a wonderful tool for sovereigns as it empowers each and every one of us if done right.

Government will be considered not only unnecessary, but unethical and outdated — a relic of a past barbaric time. However we recognize the reality of having to exist within this relic and that most people still hang on to the idea of government. Getting off government will be handled by a 5-year plan which will be discussed later.

Apprentices will live and work on the property and integrate themselves with the people and the land. They will learn many kinds of survival skills and self-sufficiency — in food growing, hunting/fishing, utilizing animal skins (for tanning), communications, milking and cheese making, pruning and grafting trees, foraging, building, aiding the community, building soil, caring for animals, making biochar, heating “off grid”, and countless other activities. The Permaculture Neighborhood/Village will provide free food to the community of Barton, a small town in Northern Vermont. This ingratiates the neighborhood/village community to the surrounding community. The idea of apprentices is an idea that needs to be revisited because it makes sense in a world that doesn’t rely on government education or corporate training. Having these real-world skills provides a bright future for our youth who only sees a depressive future if things continue to remain stagnant. The idea that learning is a life-long activity, it’s not just for children, will be weaved into everyday life into the neighborhood/village.

As soon as practicable, a greenhouse would be built on the property by the settlers. The settlers may not know how to build a greenhouse however this is how we learn — we do things ourselves. We may learn from someone else, such as a contractor, however should that happen, we would learn from the contractor rather than leave them do a job while we do something else. In a sovereignty-based culture our relationship to each other changes. We have to learn this as we’ve never lived in the world as sovereigns before.

A greenhouse is an invaluable asset in the cold Vermont climate as it allows its short growing season to be lengthened somewhat. A good place to locate the greenhouse is at the front of the property (along Nault Rd) adjacent to the driveway that leads to the barn. This allows easy access from the road to the buildings and doesn’t impede any sunshine from growing areas, as that spot receives sun all day long. We would be cognizant of planting large trees near the greenhouse so as not to impede its light.

The first step to this project is to garner community buy-in. We want the town to feel comfortable with our establishment and earn its support as much as possible. A couple that has lived in the area for three decades, Jack and Sharon, have lived in the area for over 30 years and already grow their own food for the entire year. They are familiar with many of the townspeople and we would put the idea to them first and hopefully they would love it.

Once we have talks with Jack and Sharon and discover their feelings on it, we would then visit the neighbors immediately located near the property — a lady across the road from the Permaculture Neighborhood/Village, Beau. She is an elderly woman and disabled and could use healthy organic food and someone to check in on her regularly. She keeps dogs that need to be walked and the settlers or apprentices could help with that, as well as provide her with meals and companionship. She could visit the Neighborhood/Village whenever she wanted as it would always be open to visitors.

The man at the side of the property, Jake, is also elderly and could use healthy meals prepared for him. This would give people in the immediate vicinity, some benefit from being near the neighborhood/village and this also garners their support and trust before any proceedings began. This is how people learn to trust each other, when they have dealings with each other, when they swap skills or things they need. We have lost this art because we have been habituated to going directly to merchants to provide our needs. In doing so, we have lost our sense of familiarity with our own community.

The main house would act as a community kitchen and living space in the beginning, where settlers could meet and mingle. Later a community meeting space would be built for that purpose. It would house a kitchen, dining area and large space where people would come for their leisure and meals.

The Neighborhood/Village would be the first place on earth where people relinquish the legitimacy of government while also coexisting with it. We believe that humans need a choice and we want Permaculture Neighborhoods/Villages to become an alternative choice to the one-size-fits-all gestalt. People are not free if they don’t have choice. We would work on coexisting in the matrix paradigm however we stand firm in our decision to choose not to allow it into our life. We are not stopping it or taking anything down — we are simply stating that we choose choice. We trust this will be the first model and a living example of a true anarchist village. This model is for a rural area but further models will be drawn up describing Permaculture Neighborhoods/Villages in urban areas. Permaculture means using what we’ve got. It has traditionally referred only to the landscape however now, it goes further and covers human society as well as the landscape. That’s what true permaculture must incorporate otherwise it is missing the main ingredient.

We have seen the Venus Project, The Zeitgeist Movement, Ubuntu, One Small Town, and various other no-money movements for many years now but they have been devoid of a plan or even a starting block. They have taken up the oxygen of activists, and kept them in a holding pattern of anticipation, with nothing to show for it, in the many years they have prevailed.

I have had personal experience with Ubuntu. I lived and worked in a Ubuntu hotel. We worked for board and food. There were only two there who did most of the work, and I was one of them, while everyone else would shirk it and in the end, their morality was no more impressive than your average capitalist. I am familiar with the creator of Sharebay and that too is always faltering. After years it seems that a no-money system does not work, not at this juncture in time at least. Not until some kind of stepping stone is laid down for it to be able to work. Calling for a no money paradigm without a plan is like shooting snowflakes. Humans are still lacking in integrity, this must be faced. Our psychology has to change first before any plan or project can be workable. We have been too used to “working for money” that we don’t know (yet) what it means to work for the love of sharing in the joys, friendship and abundance that community brings.

A no-money system needs an infrastructure before it can work, that’s if we want to be more than just a pastoral society. When there is no alternative structure, then what actually happens is, people resort to capitalism and so the contagion is continued and we are no further advanced.

The Permaculture Neighborhood/Village will teach through immersion learning, how to be a true sovereign individual. At first we’ll all be learning from each other because it has never been done before — we will be the pioneers. The system will still log work hours but there will be no banks. It will still use the internet and it will log data on special websites used for that purpose. We want to use the technology our ancestors worked hard for us to be able to enjoy. Data is valuable and the neighborhood/village will be cognizant of this.

Individuals have different views and ideas and habits. The Neighborhood/Village will equip us with strategies for handling conflicts. As for resolving them, that is always up to the individuals and there are no rules for this. Resolution needs to come about judiciously but also organically. People must never be pushed because we uphold reason, not force or coercion. To counterweight this, a sense of valuing each others’ time must be inculcated into the psyche. We have to consider everyone’s time as equally valuable as my own. When we build a society with this ethos, troubles seem to magically dissolve.

We will officially remove our approval of government, because no adult needs to be governed. We will however recognize all people equally because we hold that everyone’s time is equally valuable and everyone has equal voice (meaning they can speak whenever they wish) With apprentices, new learning opportunities open up for the town. As mentioned, the Neighborhood/Village will provide vegetables, fruits and herbs to the townspeople for free. We will work with the town supermarket to have a stand of organic produce in their store as well as a stand at the Neighborhood/Village itself where townspeople can pick up and collect their choice of produce on site (similar to Edible Brattleboro, in Vermont). The Neighborhood/Village will make cheeses and teach the skill of cheese making. The cheeses can be sold as a way to make income to pay expenses that still need to be met. People who live and work in the Neighborhood/Village will be paid in a freedom currency. Their time working for the Neighborhood/Village will be logged and recognized — it’s unfair not to and treats those who do nothing the same as those who work. This must not be the situation as it leads to the few holding up the many.

All data would be open as this new paradigm teaches to live in the open. In the digital age, privacy is a fiction. In things that affect the commons, all data must be publicly available.

We would talk to the municipal council and explain to them our intentions. We will show them the benefits to the town that make sense in terms of sustainability and resilience. We would explain that we hold no legitimacy to government and submit to them a 5-year Plan for getting off government. The plan would define our terms — that we do not want any of the town’s services; that we will reduce property taxes by 20% per year for 5 years afterwhich we intend to be free from taxes entirely. If any of the municipalities services are needed in the interim, we would negotiate terms and prices at the time of need. The 5-year plan allows government employees time to make arrangements for their life to change, as government becomes more irrelevant. There is no need for anything more dramatic than this.

A website would be started that would house the Egalitarian Proposal System. This system would be the social engine of the Permaculture Neighborhood/Village. It would demonstrate the ease of self-governance. Anyone can participate in it, not just settlers. The Neighborhood/Village is here to teach real-time paradigm change.

The land would ideally house around 8 to 10 families on 17 acres. The central area would be the food forest and around it would be a wide “lane” that the animals and vehicles could traverse on, it would be lined by fruit trees. Vehicles would be kept at a bare minimum on the property and everyone would be able to use the few we had. There may be two — one truck for heavy work and one passenger vehicle. We would not adopt any of the government’s laws for registration, insurance, licenses, etc. If we’re going to do this it must full-hearted. We must explain this to the town managers. People must have an alternative to the current bondage. We force no one to live this way however standing in our sovereignty also means we will not be forced to live in the conventional way. We intend to show what freedom looks like.

Many will fear this but we must not succumb to fear. We must take steps to go forward not backward, and see what we can accomplish when we do. Settlers will learn how to live off the land and provide abundance and that will be shared with the townsfolk. This model will also incorporate a percentage of settlers that need looking after in the community such as the elderly and the disabled and make provision for having at least one companion that shares their common situation. This new paradigm seeks to coexist above all, but that does not mean capitulation. We have to demonstrate coexistence and uphold it, which means we manage to live in peace with people who think and live differently to us, with people who believe in government, religion and many other beliefs. Diversity is paramount. Coexistence is key.

As this method finds traction, I anticipate that others who are yearning for a different way to live on this beautiful and abundant earth, will make their own Permaculture Neighborhoods/Villages in their own environments with their own style. Each will have their own flavor. That’s what sovereignty is about. These collectives can be incorporated in suburban areas and even in cities. Everything will be recorded so we can share the data and use it to grow in a steady way while giving support to others who are starting out and not having to “reinvent the wheel” each time. It will be like being born to new parents, there will always be help because we have incorporated it into the system. We all grow by learning from each other and pitching in.

Money would still be used to an extent however it will be augmented by an alternative money system, we hope a hemp one, which is still in the planning stages and which will be covered as developments progress.

This project brings into reality for the first time, a material and substantial stepping stone to the dream of a no-money world, the dream of people living in harmony with each other and with nature. It will bring hope and excitement to the youth who are world-weary already, to the elderly and disabled that are worried about being taken care of, and it will teach everyone to be confident in our sovereign character and in the abundance of nature’s providence coupled with our humanity. It will give people a sense of satisfaction and security as well as sovereignty over their own lives. I expect the townsfolk to feel they are also getting something out of it by having free, organic food in abundance and people who will care for the disabled and the elderly while giving them new confidence in themselves while alleviating the fear in a world based on competition. Parmaculture Neighborhoods/Villages are not just about growing with nature, but about a new social system that coexists with the mainstream orthodoxy. The 5-year plan gives government workers and others time to make new arrangements. These neighborhoods/villages will be a living and dynamic example of living by our beliefs and ethics.

Surely this is how we would like things to change, rather than the bluster and brashness of a society that accepts war and poverty. We teach as we live because that’s what permaculture means, it is integrated harmony taking in all factors that are prevalent at the time. The Neighborhood/Village will be places that teach this new way of living with the earth, and with each other.

The Egalitarian Proposal System details:

Adjunct to Permaculture Neighborhood/Village:

Note: The date at the top cites the Roman calendar with the 13 moon calendar date in parentheses, including the year of the new century.