There is no formal definition for the word "villaging" and spellcheck insists the word does not exist, but we chose to use it anyway. It is a loose term we found being used by The Villaging Project" (www.thevillagingproject.com) to "distinguish what many people have been doing for a long time, i.e. living a conscious life that includes taking care of each other and the planet."
The Village Project identifies 6 elements which make up a village. A village:
- Produces its own food supply
- Produces its own off-grid energy supply
- Has its own worker co-operative business that employs residents
- Is self-governing and has a plan for democratic participation and problem solving
- Is walkable without roads and cars except at the perimeter
- Has a geographic perimeter and calculated capacity
We feel that this term is therefore relevant to categorize our other joining option for new members, particularly with regards to the 3rd element whereby village members will be required to have surplus energy to contribute towards the community business as they won't be under as much financial, energy and time pressures as the homesteaders.
Our villaging option is therefore aimed at trying to establish a viable structure to manage a community-based business model within a broken global economic system. This option is different from that of homesteading in that villagers will be allocated a smaller plot situated on The Hill and will be encouraged to contribute more of their time, skills and energy towards growing and expanding the social, cultural, and physical dimensions of The Hill. While homesteaders will have no obligation to be directly involved with the running of The Hill, villagers on the other hand will be encouraged to join an informal worker co-operative which will employ members for various jobs from time to time.
Villagers will still be required to build their own house and gradually work towards developing a small garden forest with the aim of eventually becoming self-sufficient, but they will benefit greatly from being located within close proximity to the water/energy/communal services offered by the Hill. They will be responsible for the financial cost of construction of their sites, but will be given the option to sell their site should they wish to leave the community or embark on building their own homestead.
This option is intended to accommodate potential members who wish to live in harmony with nature in an off-grid community but who are not yet ready to commit to a lifelong agreement to build a homestead. It also appeals to those who would much rather channel their time, passion and energy directly towards creating a dynamic lifestyle on The Hill as opposed to the more demanding and isolating lifestyle involved with homesteading.
The joining process for village members is much the same as for a homesteader in that villagers will be required to undergo an extensive screening process to become a member. They will also be required to pay a nominal fee for their own site, which will be negotiated during the screening process. The time and energy dedicated to establishing a plot will be factored into the "buy-in" fee, but villagers will still be required to pay monthly membership fees and will also be responsible for their own living expenses such as food, petrol etc. for the entire duration of their stay. Upon completion of the site, villagers will be given the right to occupy it until such a time that they are ready to leave. They will be given the option to either pay a monthly rental for the house, or to work a certain number of hours a month as a form of payment through "sweat-equity".