Re: Large animal policies
From: Craig Ragland (
Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2008 15:32:07 -0800 (PST)
I'd urge caution about labeling almost any local food production as
"individual household's hobby." As cohousing communities we have the
increasingly rare opportunity (and perhaps responsibility?) to use our
commonly-owned land in support of individual initiatives that benefit
others, including our communities and the planet.

Here at Songaia (38 people, 11 acres, 15 homes, near Seattle), we have
upwards of an acre in organic gardens. Part is in small family plots and
part is "common." The common part is intensively worked by just a few (most
of whom also have family plots), with a handful of others that put in some
time and another handful of others (like me) that pitch in on the rare
occasion, and then some that never help at all. The common gardens
contributed several thousand dollars "worth" of fresh produce, eggs, and
chicken meat to our common food program in 2007. Hundreds of pounds was also
donated to a local food bank. Our local food production also helped everyone
on the planet by reducing consumption of energy to transport foodstuffs from
everywhere else it would have come from to us. Perhaps more importantly, it
lets us raise our children with real-world stories of how we make a
difference. As cultural creatives, it gives us models to share with others
about positive ways that we can address climate change and work/play our way
toward more sustainable lives.

OK, stepping off soapbox... (mostly)

I think I do get your point about individual vs. community-wide values and
interests. In our case, our community has made the concious choice to highly
value local food production and consumption (we also skew our food program
shopping toward local sources). Every cohousing community has the
possibility of making the choice to honor and support individual initiative
in food production or consumption as useful strategies toward doing good.

On Feb 1, 2008 2:55 PM, J Boerst <julieb [at]> wrote:

> One concern about larger-scale agriculture (in terms of land use--1 acre+)
> engaged in by individuals, not the community as a whole, is that it uses a
> significant piece of land for what would essentially amount to an individual
> household's hobbies.  I know at Dancing Rabbit in Missouri they do have a
> lease system, and I'm wondering if anyone else has something similar.
>  People dabbling in growing veggies would probably use less land than people
> dabbling in raising dairy cows, so it does become more of an issue when
> animal agriculture is on the table, as does the expense of fencing, barns,
> etc.

Craig Ragland
Coho/US Exec. Dir.

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