Communal Living: Old Concept, New Establishments

Whenever the words communal living is used around me, the first thing I think of is sharing bathrooms and other living spaces. Many college students understand the concept and most of us will never forget those years.

In communal living some people share work, such as planting and tending a garden.

But communal living has become a way many ordinary people live and according to them, the benefits are can be great.

What is Communal Living?

First off, the definition of communal living is not a commune, although it can take that form. Communal living is often used interchangeably with the term ‘intentional living’ or the formation of intentional communities that can take a range of forms dependent on the desires of the participants. Typically the common thread between communal living communities is that they share resources. It is an ancient concept dating back to early human days.

Communal houses and communities have been set up where people from different walks of life, live together and share the costs of maintaining the home and the needs of those who live there. Housing coops, eco-villages and even traditional suburban neighborhoods utilize communal living practices, such as growing food in their own plots and sharing the surplus with others, or setting up a community garden for all to participate and benefit.

Contemporary Communal Living

Lammas, a low impact living communal establishment in West Wales that exemplifies the principle of community living. Astutely the neighborhood group has made their own living model one that is replicable across its own country, possibly inspiring others to make their own community with an existing success to refer from.

The founding group wanted to both create affordable housing and the development of a rural livelihood, while preserving the natural environment of the land they would use. In short, they were aiming for sustainable development.

With support from individuals as well the government, the project was allowed to go ahead after a three year long battle. It also received a £350 000 grant from the government to build an education center.

Over passing years they were also able to borrow and pay back thousands of pounds used to buy the land on which the community lives.

This community functions with the environment and sustainable development in mind, believing very much in Permaculture. Every family residing there does have a responsibility to produce at least one land-based product, be it textile products or fruit.

Many of what is made is sold on Lammas and other shops, and of course the money made is worked back into the community.

Because of their eco-friendly farming techniques and optimized use of land because of some implemented Permaculture techniques, Lammas is expected to produce £108 000 worth of produce from the land once fully operational and cultivated.

Those who reside there are not prohibited from maintaining a full-time job outside of the community and the income derived from that job is the worker’s own. The rules are simply – only use what is produced by the land to supply things such as food and energy to your home.

Lammas is only one example of the type of communities out there today that are trying to make a difference and go back to living the simple, self sustainable life.

People all around the world are taken action to living in a way that is both meaningful to them and generally more balanced with the existing resources of the Earth. Be it small or big, and positive change is always only a step away. -ANNABEL SCHOEMAN

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