Re: Cohousing/Guest Ranch
From: Berrins (
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 20:44:56 -0600 (MDT)
No, I don't know any cohousing group who has operated any kind of 
retreat/ranch on their site.  Nor do I know of any cohousing community that 
has operated any kind of large-scale business on or off site as an integrated 
part of the community.

I think that a community owned and run business could work, but it would have 
to be clear that there is absolutely no pressure for anyone in the community 
to work at the business and the proceeds would have to go to the community 
(people working at the business could be paid money or get work team 
credits).  But if the business decisions are made the same as any other 
community decision, and if the success or failure of the business does not 
have any impact on the viability of the community as a whole or independence 
of those members not wishing to participate, then why not give it a shot?  

We need to be careful about confining the definition of what constitutes 
cohousing.  Cohousing is quickly becoming the most visible kind of 
intentional community and the term "cohousing community" will be the most 
likely one used to attract members to a project.  As the number of 
communities grow, we need to be open to ever-increasing variations in style. 
If we define ourselves too narrowly, we run the risk of turning away some 
really interesting people and ideas to intentional community living.

Of course, having a cohousing group running a business gives new meaning to 
the term "business community."  Oy!

Roger Berman
Pathways Cohousing
Northampton, MA

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