Before moving to Ardencroft, I had many lofty ideas about community and family. After arriving in the Ardens, I soon discovered a thriving village that closely resembled many of my ideas, and to my surprise, they had been doing it for over one hundred years! This was my original vision:
American families have moved out of small towns and villages and spread themselves too thin. If you’re like me, you may only see your family once a week, but most people rarely see their families. Quality time has been reduced to scattered phone calls and emails. We are like soldiers on the front, communicating from a distance. We have been dispersed into the world like millions of prodigal sons and daughters attempting to live and maintain the American dream. Day in and day out, living and working amongst strangers, acquiring debt, and wondering what we can buy to fill the lonely void in our soul.
Perhaps a revolution is necessary. I’m not talking about picketing, protests or armed resistance. I’m taking about going back to the basics. I’m talking about the mass exodus of sprawling generations, and the return of the village! Imagine lowering the cost of living while at the same time enhancing your quality of life.
The plan is quite simple. Interested family members must first sell all their properties. All loans are then paid in full. The remaining balance of revenue is then pulled together to purchase a few acres of reasonably priced land. On that land, a series of duplexes are constructed to house the families. Each duplex is arranged facing the family village square which will become your front yard and commons area with a village hall for family events. Other landscaping and additions can be added to reflect the family’s personal character. The remainder of the land around the family plot will be reserved for a green belt which could include wooded areas, farm land, or open space.
I recommend two things to further enhance the experience of living in a family village: 1. Use some of that green belt to grow seasonal crops to reduce your family’s dependence on outside sources; and 2. Start a family business.
Growing crops will require some knowhow and can prove to be quite challenging, but with a little research and practice, your little garden could grow into a thriving source of natural and seasonal foods. It would be best to have an experienced farmer or agriculturist move into your village; otherwise you can leave it to the family green thumb to teach the others. We all have a green thumb in the family.
The family business should be something of which the whole family could be involved, either one large business or multiple small businesses. It all depends on the particular skills and interests of your family. This would allow you and your family to independently generate revenue to pay for your village.
Speaking of revenue, the family village should utilize all the renewable energy that is available including: solar power, windmills, and geothermal heating. You will be surprised to find that generating electricity can also be profitable as checks from the local electric company start appearing in your mailbox. It is also important to choose a piece of land that features a water table to provide fresh well water to your village.
I know what you’re thinking; getting your family together to sell everything and invest in a large piece of land to build a village, and then create a family business seems virtually impossible! Well that’s what they told Columbus in 1492 when he sailed the ocean blue, but American villages thrived for half a millennium until the 1950’s when the first interstate highways were paved which ultimately destroyed the villages and towns of America. If we can build sky scrapers and put a man on the moon, then your family can band together to create a village. It will take careful planning and determination. You can do it!
Now I know what else you’re thinking; I hate my family, why would I want to do this? Well, my only reply for you is that perhaps this program is not for you. You seem to have some deep seeded roots that require further examining and perhaps psychoanalyzing, or perhaps you haven’t carefully thought out the benefits of returning to the family village. 1. Lower cost of living. Everyone pulls together to make the village a success. Why make money for strangers when you can create and maintain something of your own. 2. More time to spend with friends and family. That’s right, friends are welcome to join the village too; it’s not just for blood relatives. Why live amongst strangers when you can be around the people you love and care about. 3. Better quality of life. Relieve the stresses of the rat race and be your own boss. Eat your own food. Love life to the fullest the way nature intended; in small clans of hunter/gatherer independent family business operators that care for their elderly and provide a safe place where children can play and learn.
What are you waiting for? Start living life now! You only have a short time on this planet. Why not do it right? Call your friends and family, tell them how much you love and appreciate them, and start planning your village today. Your future depends on it…or just move to the Ardens.