|Greetings from Metro East CoHousing, St. Paul MN||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Michael C. Murray (71543.3020CompuServe.COM)|
|Date: Mon, 15 Mar 93 23:09 CST|
Greetings from the Metro East CoHousing Group in (St. Paul), Minnesota, part of the Twin Cities CoHousing Network (TCCN). Thanks to Fred Olson of the Seward CoHousing Group (Mpls), we're on the CoHousing mailing list ... already we've heard about other groups with seemingly similar goals and philosophies (the Kennebec Valley CoHousing group in ME) which is encouraging so we'll try to keep the ball rollin'... We're sometimes called a "rural" (more suburban, really) group since we're looking at sites 20 miles or so out of the Twin Cities. We decided to look outside of the city because (a) we want to incorporate wind and solar energy into our design from the ground up, (b) we want some measure of self-sufficiency through small-scale organic gardening and (c) the St. Croix River Valley, where we've been looking, is beautiful We're currently looking at a 93-acre parcel.. By way of introduction we're posting our (in progress) "mission statement" / Values and Goals to show where we're at... write us anytime through the mailing list or alternately at 71543,3020 [at] compuserve.com. Statement of Mission The Metro East CoHousing Group was formed to provide housing where families know their neighbors and can rear children in a supportive, non-threatening environment that encourages discussion and volunteerism. We deliberately de-emphasize dogmatic or political organization in favor of "horizontal", consensus-based democratic process. We encourage diversity in terms of age, race, income, sex and family structure. We seek a continuum of age groups emphasizing families with children, retired persons and single parents. As a local group that is part of a worldwide community, we seek energy self-sufficiency and efficiency through the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Our goal is to satisfy over 50 percent of the community's energy needs using onsite generation. Our community practices responsible land stewardship through use of environmentally-friendly construction techniques and on-site waste processing including grey water irrigation and composting. The community offers large common areas for small-scale organic agriculture to satisfy some portion of the community's food needs. We seek to create a group of twelve to thirty households where together we can realize our goals and support those who share these values. <end of statement> Here's some other stuff Metro East CoHousing is doing right now: Real-Estate / Legalities We've spoken with a real-estate attorney and briefly explained our group and the concept of cohousing to him and he seemed amenable to our ideas. He offered to give a free-of-charge one- hour presentation to the group in early April and is sending us some literature on different ways we can incorporate our group and purchase land. We would also like to review the legal framework used by other cohousing groups and welcome any input or suggestions from the network or elsewhere. Renewable Energy A few of us attended a recent presentation by the Union of Concerned Scientists on "Renewable Energy in the Upper Midwest", a summary of a year-long study commissioned by the UCS to quantify the feasibility of wind, biomass and other renewable energy resources in our part of the country. Their results were very encouraging and seems to confirms the MN DOE's findings that Minnesota is a good part of the world for wind power generation, though the focus was not on localized production so much as large-scale utility involvement. The presentation was sponsored by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society (MRES). One of MRES' governing representatives is Mary Jane Heinen, an architect with a local firm called the Whole Builders Cooperative. As the name implies, they have a cooperative organization that includes architects, builders, cabinetmakers etc. and have some experience with passive and active solar construction. They've offered to come speak with our group as well so we'll be contacting them. Whole Builders Cooperative are at (612) 724-1262. Anyone out there in .NETland already working with alternative energy, perhaps even in at a CoHousing site? We'd love to hear from you. Recruitment Our group needs at least one or two more families to form a viable core group; we've got five families now (and lots of folks in the wings). To this end, we're advertising our next meeting (Sunday 3/21 at 1:30 p.m., St. Matthew's Church, 2134 Carter Ave. St. Paul) in some co-op groceries, churches and elsewhere. We'll have a brief, two-line ad in Minnesota Monthly magazine for a couple months beginning in May. Any suggestions for recruitment are also appreciated. We have an opportunity to staff a recruitment table at Minnesota SunFest, which will be held June 25 - 27th at the MN. Zoo in tandem with the final stage of SunRayce '93. For $50.00, nonprofit groups can present a table in the company of energy entrepreneurs, entertainment (including live radio broadcast by Garrison Keillor) and local political types to an audience that is likely more attuned to the benefits of renewable energy than the average person. Our group will be discussing this option in the next few weeks. The Twin Cities CoHousing Network has offered to pick up part of the tab for the table as well. MN Sunfest folks are reachable at 448 Morgan Ave. South, Suite 300, Minneapolis MN 55405-2030. Institute for Local Self-Reliance We spoke briefly with John Bailey of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a locally-based national group headed by David Morris that seeks to achieve "a dramatic reduction in U.S. consumption of raw materials" and "to effect a shift from U.S. dependencies on fossil fuels to a reliance on renewable resources". As they also mention in their charter, they provide technical assistance for community groups with similar objectives. Mr. Bailey expressed an interest in hearing more about our efforts and so we're also forwarding some materials to them. You can contact the Institute at (612) 379-3815 (Minneapolis) or (202) 232-4108 (Wash. D.C.)... don't know if they're nettable. Well, that's all for now ;^). Good luck in all ventures, Susan and Michael Metro East CoHousing Group
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