Is There a Prepared Community Out There?

Pick up today’s newspaper and you will likely be hit with news of surging grain prices, “peak oil”, changing weather patterns, flooding, drought, economy woes, terrorist threats, war….  Bummer!  So, toss the newspaper and just hunker down, right?

At the Village we see a bigger picture.  “Being prepared” for life at The Village on Sewanee Creek is made into a full, joyous lifestyle.  This “intentional community” plan is based on sustainability, self-reliance, and unity in a drop-dead gorgeous piece of nature in Tennessee where 500 of the 750 acres is set aside for a nature preserve, shared by Village neighbors.

Why Tennessee?  While the Village could have been founded anywhere, there’s a certain allure about a state that has:
–  no income taxes,
–  low property taxes,
–  low cost of living,
–  lush, green woodlands,
–  rocky bluffs overlooking canyons and streams,
–  and a diverse culture from “mountain folks” who know how to live simply to academia.  (The ivy league University of the South is nearby with its rich cultural offerings).

Sustainable living at The Village is an old-fashioned concept with insightful new applications on four levels:

Energy:  10% of the purchase price of a lot up to $10,000 is rebated for building with alternative energy such as solar, geo-thermal or wind.

Food:  A community garden is maintained with help from a horticulturist and an organic gardening coach.

Water:  Rain water collection systems are encouraged and the rebate offered may also be applied here.  Most food storage would be useless without water.  Many who have rainwater collection systems are able to be completely independent of municipal water for both household and garden use, even during drought years.  Municipal water lines are still available, of course.

Community:  The most important thing that distinguishes the Village on Sewanee Creek is the sense of community.  Hiking and biking trails wander through pristine woodlands and past waterfalls through the 500 acre nature preserve.  A community garden brings neighbors together in America’s favorite pastime, gardening.  On the cleared bluff is a common area with breath taking views of the canyon and the mountains beyond.  An outdoor pavilion and barbecues will welcome you for a picnic or to watch a spectacular sunset, or even to linger for an outdoor movie.  A natural rock amphitheater surrounds a stage and large screen where family movies are shown against the backdrop of a starlit sky.

Located between Chattanooga and Nashville, the 750 acre Village on Sewanee Creek is placed in a rural setting, with shopping, restaurants, etc. an easy 5-25 minutes away.

Whether you’re looking for your primary residence in a prepared community, a beautifully located retirement or vacation retreat, or a second home safe haven, The Village on Sewanee Creek is an ideal choice.  Prices for a two acre lot start in the low $30’s.  One-of-a-kind home sites feature stunning bluff views, creeks and magnificent waterfalls.

I have seen the world from many angles having spent 30 years as an executive in international business.  I’ve worked in over fifty countries and have seen the way societies all over the world function, noting the ever decreasing self-reliance of our own.  My experience with and love for people, cultures and places around the globe were instrumental in developing a unique philosophy on the development of a diverse, healthy, intelligent, intentional community in harmony with people and nature.

All in all, It’s not just prepared living.  It’s joyful living.

SCCA Presentation – Self-Sufficient Communities and Personal Responsibility

Climate change and yes, drought are big issues here on the mountain as well as elsewhere through the South this summer.  What to do about it?  You could:
1.  Wring your hands
2.  Pray for rain
3.  Complain to the government about lack of planning
4.  Sue a neighboring community or State over water rights
5.  Take matters into your own hands and become self-sufficient.

My choices are #2 and #5.  I spoke to the South Cumberland Community Association on how individuals and communities can become water self-sustaining.  We are doing it with a 7,500 gallon rainwater catchment system.

Green, Sustainable Development Incentives

The other day my wife and I were discussing the importance of sustainable, green conservation and construction in the Village.  We have already dedicated about 500 acres or 2/3 of the development to a nature preserve, but we agreed that we need to do more.

Here’s the plan:
1.  We have organized an advisory board of green experts to help us better define and drive green development.
2.  The first item on the board’s agenda will be to enhance the Village Covenants with construction standards for energy conservation, etc.
3.  We will rebate 10% of the lot purchase price up to $10,000 for installation of approved sustainable systems including solar water heating, solar energy, wind energy and rain water collection.  Installation must be completed within 12 months of closing.

Private Cisterns – A solution whose time has come

Everybody is concerned about and feeling the effects of climate change.  The entire South is currently suffocating in all-time record breaking heat and we are in the second year of an equally record-breaking drought.

It has become popular to support carbon emissions reducing initiatives.  It’s wonderful that people are waking up to the damage we are doing to our planet, but I believe there are things we can do right now that will have a much greater impact on weather change related to the water cycles and will reduce one’s dependence on costly government built infrastructure.

Water is increasingly being channeled into large reservoirs to supply large urban environments and, more and more, bottled by big corporations.  Doesn’t it seem scandalous that you pay more per gallon for bottled water, a free commodity that falls from the sky, than you pay for gasoline?  It may not seem so expensive because you don’t drink as much water as your car uses and bottled water ends up buried as just one item in your grocery bill.  And it has become common knowledge that bottled water is no more pure than what comes from the tap.  But most important of all is the environmental cost of bottling and shipping all that water.

On the top of the Cumberland Plateau, water is especially precious.  There are a number of large developments that have come to a halt here because their proposed water demands outstrip the supply.  Some large, well financed developers continue to promote their product despite the fact that they offer no guaranteed municipal water supply.   Homeowners may be forced to rely on wells that are unreliable or yield water laden with iron or sulpher.

The Village does not have this problem.  We have ample municipal drinking water and plenty of water pressure for fire protection.  But, why waste it when there is such great need everywhere?  By installing a simple cistern that efficiently collects rain water from your roof, filters and stores it for later use you can insulate yourself from drought by providing a pure, reliable source of water without the risk of unknown added chemicals.

Cisterns also preserve the amount of water that is retained near the source, where it falls.  It only makes sense that keeping the distribution of water more evenly spread instead of concentrating it in cities is closer to what nature intends.  As the water is used locally, it is released into the environment to evaporate and return to the water cycle, thus keeping moisture in areas that are otherwise being dried up.

There are a number of good web pages out there that explain how to build a cistern amazingly low costs that can supply a family for extended periods of drought.  Having a cistern AND a good back-up municipal water supply is the best of both worlds.

As weather change, extreme heat, cold and drought become an undeniable reality, I think that’s what one might call a no-brainer investment, a great insurance policy, and simply intelligent living.

I’ll be putting a cistern in at my place.  How about you?