From: pattymara [at] (
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 17:48:23 -0700 (PDT)
Hi from Tierra Nueva, central CA coast:
We have fully explored associate membership in our 7 years of living here.  
Currently we have two families who live in privately owned homes bordering our 
5 acre site, who participate in our community life as associate members.  

We researched the legality of this and decided to keep the arrangements as 
"understandings" with a written and consensed document, rather than official 
legal contracts.  

We too believe in the fairness of assessing the value of community resources, 
and the notion that "good boundaries make good neighbors".  

When a family wishes to apply for associate membership, they choose or are 
given a sponsor within Tierra Nueva to help them get through the process of 
application, proposal and consensus.  

We have learned that each case is unique, because each family or applicant has 
different needs and desires and abilities to participate.  
So we craft the agreement based on the individual and mutual needs of the 
applicant(s) AND our community.  

Our first associate membership took about 6 months to formulate.  The next few 
application processes were shorter, because of our experience with the first.  
We have not accepted all of the applications for a variety of reasons. 

Basically the agreement describes what the applicant wishes to bring to Tierra 
Nueva (skills, passions, willingness to serve on particular committees, plus an 
annual gift of goods-not money) as a fair exchange for the value of what they 
wish to gain from the community, which shared resources they'd like to use, how 
they want to participate in meetings (general participation, discussion on all 
items but no voting rights) etc.  It is all spelled out in rich detail, and 
celebrated when the final agreement is proposed and consensed at a business 
meeting.  Then we do a formal, fun "Invitation" to the applicants to become 
associate members.

It's worked well for us, and we adore our associate members.  One is the 
manager of our organic avocado orchard, two are avid "Comida Nueva" cooks, and 
another is a family of children very involved in friendships with community 
kids, and their mom is one of our yoga teachers.  They all bring a rich and 
nourishing diversity to Tierra Nueva. 

It can be done, with clearly articulated expectations, boundaries and 

PattyMara Gourley
Tierra Nueva, central CA coast
where the bees from our new beehives have pollinated an unbelievable crop of 
baby avocados.    

"Recruiters say the greatest single obstacle to military recruitment is 

-- Kirk or Esther Mueller <muellers1 [at]> wrote:
Great comment.
It explains a lot to me about related items with respect to sharing.
On Thursday, August 4, 2005, at 08:42 PM, Sharon Villines wrote:

> On Aug 4, 2005, at 9:09 PM, Kirk or Esther Mueller wrote:
>> on bike or on foot.  It's kind of a capitalist (I own it -- keep out) 
>> versus socialist (it belongs to all of us, to share, from our 
>> position of plenty) thing.  I don't walk thru the trespassers 
>> backyard, why is it OK for them to walk thru mine (a capitalist >> view).
> Sharing means sharing equally. Work as well as usage. When you do the 
> maintenance and they do the taking, that is not sharing. Some would 
> even say it is codependent -- you are encouraging a dysfunctional 
> relationship. It's important to help others learn respect and 
> responsbility.
> (exaggerated for emphasis)
> Sharon
> ---
> Sharon Villines
> Building Community: A Newsletter on Coops, Condos, Cohousing, and 
> Other New Neighborhoods
> _________________________________________________________________
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