(This is a living document, and gradually new statements are added as appropriate)
The following agreements demonstrate our commitments to each other in the categories Basic Necessities, Lifestyle, Governance, Work and Finances, Membership, and World View. Through two years of discussion, we have agreed to these goals. We agree that these ideals will not be brought up for discussion or change unless there is a significant change in our circumstances that directly affects a given decision.
The community will provide all of the BASIC NECESSITIES of life to its members in exchange for fulfillment of a work requirement set by the community. At the least, these basic necessities will include the following:
- all food except for luxury items (caviar, fine wine, Godiva chocolates, etc.) for both the community kitchen and individual kitchens. We will provide a community kitchen at which all meals and snacks are available. We will honor people's requested food choices whenever possible.
- shelter (private or communal living arrangements based on the desire of the member, such as shared cooperative houses, single-family houses, apartments and perhaps other options).
- provision for all health care needs.
- an allowance for miscellaneous items such as clothing and furniture.
- access to local transportation, telephones, Internet access and personal postage.
- access to our community recreational and educational resources.
- mutual support from the community.
We support a LIFESTYLE that will encourage the following:
- Being part of a community of people who support and care for one another.
- Living in a situation where there is equality among individuals and opportunities to live a more fulfilling life.
- A better education and safer and more loving environment in which to raise children. As a child-centered community, we will work to ensure that children will be supported in every way in the community.
- Working with other people to benefit from pooled effort and resources.
- Having creative, fulfilling and personally sustaining work, without overworking oneself.
- As much as reasonably possible, living and working together, so that people's lives and work are integrated into a unified environment.
- Minimizing materialism and the habit of ever-increasing consumption that is common in the West today, while respecting people's different needs.
- We value aesthetics as a guiding principle in making our community decisions. Artistic beauty and sensibility directly affect the quality of our lives and lifestyles. Therefore we will work to bring beauty to our community.
- Group activities, such as eating in the community building, which are not mandatory but are the norm.
- Diversity. We will provide individuals or groups of members with some things that may reasonably be considered part of their normal lives despite the fact that other members might be uninterested in or even opposed to those things. Examples are meat, alcohol and accoutrements for spiritual activities.
- Respect and honor for individual members' religions and spiritualities.
- Nonviolence. We agree that violence and abuse, whether physical or emotional, has no place in our community. For example, In recognition that guns in our community might pose unnecessary danger and would contribute to feelings of unease for some members, we agree that there will be no firearms or explosive weapons anywhere in our community. Exceptions (nonfunctional firearms, etc.) would need a community-wide agreement by consensus.
- A smoke-free environment, particularly in the community center.
- Meals prepared for the community held to a high standard of healthfulness. We encourage wholesome organic foods prepared in a manner so as to maximize their nutritional benefits. We will work to grow our own food and purchase our food from persons with healthful values.
- Values of mindfulness, beauty, harmony, simplicity, creativity, joy, honesty, trust, music and fun.
- An open mind. We will seek to work, learn and teach with each other
- We hold respect for the living earth and all it encompasses. We recognize our human responsibility to care for the viability and natural order of living things. We recognize that all life must struggle to nourish itself; yet within that context, we work to be nonviolent and to ensure humane practices. We recognize our responsibility as human beings in caring for all living things in a natural and humane manner.
- We choose to maintain an environment free from illegal drugs and their influence.
Our community will be GOVERNED under the following principles:
- Equality among all members, including an equal say in community decisions.
- Decision-making by formal consensus, as outlined in the text "On Conflict and Consensus" by C.T. Butler and Amy Rothstein. As outlined in the document, formal consensus allows for objections to be voiced, reservations to be recorded, and in the most extreme cases for any single member to block the decision. We understand blocking to be an extreme action, to be done only in cases where an individual feels strongly that s/he has more of the truth in him- or herself than everyone else combined, and only when the individual's concerns are based upon the principles of the community.
- Secularism. We will not dedicate the community to one religion or spirituality, nor will we use religious or spiritual considerations in planning or governance.
- Meadowdance is a community that upholds the law. In our role as citizens we consider our actions deeply as to how they affect Meadowdance, the surrounding community and the world in general.
In regard to WORK and FINANCES:
- We will work to secure a stable financial situation where one can feel sure to have a comfortable place to live, plus food, medical care and other necessities as long as there is a community, without having to give up all financial independence to do so.
- We agree that we will share the work of the community through some kind of minimum work requirement for each adult.
- Community members will have the freedom to earn and/or spend money on their own as long as they keep community agreements. We want people to have the freedom to have additional possessions, to travel, to help support friends or relatives, and do other things with income of their own if they so choose. In this way a person can choose to live a simpler lifestyle and not have to work much, or can work more and have more money available.
- Money invested in the community does not carry power.
- Individuals' investment in the community will be secured by community ownership of all land, buildings and other major assets.
- We will work to make it possible for people who have little or no monetary investment to become members. Individuals and families will not necessarily each have to come up with money to buy land and build a house. Housing and necessity options that are clearly less expensive to the community would decrease a member's work requirement, while definitively more expensive options would increase a member's work requirement.
MEMBERSHIP in the community is subject to a process in which everyone will participate. We agree to the following tenets:
- Equality among all people, regardless of race, color, gender, spirituality, sexual orientation, background and age. All people who share the philosophy of the community are welcome, regardless of what world groups they belong to.
- All community members, including founders, must go through the membership process.
- All community members must explicitly agree to the list of Community Agreements
We wish to respect and better the WORLD:
- We are committed to our community becoming progressively more ecologically sustainable over time, and to promoting ecologically sound practices.
- We will work to encourage this and other models of intentional community.
- We feel it is essential and desirable to have friendly, mutually beneficial relationships with surrounding towns and communities
- We will work to purchase in socially responsible ways, supporting businesses that support and uphold our values.
Our LOCATION will be:
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- In a rural area with a great deal of wild land, with woods and streams.
- Somewhere in Vermont
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