Greetings from Metro East CoHousing, St. Paul MN
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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