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South Africa’s Memel Global community: A challenging place to walk your talk

Memel Global constructed “rammed earth” houses
SheWins soccer program

When I cleared customs in Chicago, the Homeland Security guy was more interested in how my visit to South Africa went than the packaged beef Biltong – potential contraband – I had in my bag.
Biltong is sliced spiced meat, similar to jerky. Click on the image and check out my pilot episode about my South Africa impressions.

"Cohousing": A Term Whose Definition Should Be Respected

On the bright side, the concept of Cohousing is becoming increasingly entrenched in the American imagination— with every new project, what was once a culturally radical and shot in the dark neighborhood experiment is now an empirically supported investment into well-being and sustainability.

Climate Leading Communities

Cohousing can be a lab for trying out the latest innovations to help us live lighter on the planet.

The goal of this year’s National Cohousing Conference was ambitious – building resilient, sustainable communities – yet I felt a universal reaching; so many of us wanting desperately to learn how to be even more climate conscious than we already are. Let’s not forget, living in community has inherent savings that decrease our carbon footprints. Owning just one lawnmower, sharing meals together in the common house (studies have shown a 25% or more reduction in whole-community energy use during common meals – the one big room being lit for the occasion), and not shuttling our kids way across town for playdates.

Cohousing Costs After You Move In: Part I, Intro to Our Investigation

“Cost of living” refers to all the expenses sustained by a household in the ordinary course of life. It includes, not just the cost of housing, but also the cost of food and clothing, furniture, transportation, medical and child care, and so on. Traditionally, “cost of housing” has referred to the specific shelter expenses of mortgage or rent, property taxes and insurance, and utilities. More recently, condo fees and Homeowner Association (HOA) dues have been added to the mix of shelter costs.

Bright Future Now

After 10 years involved in self-developing Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, marked for me with some serious and in retrospect unnecessary growing pains that cost us dearly, I'd like to recommend an invaluable resource I wish we'd had earlier. It’s an online course excellent for forming communities who want to avoid some of the painful process pitfalls we experienced, but at least as valuable for anyone disturbed by the state of our world and interested in human and planetary sustainability.

Coming Full Circle with the National Conference and the Importance of Consultation

It’s been almost a decade (seven years) since we traveled to the National Cohousing Conference in Boulder Colorado to learn about how to build our own community in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve come full circle now with the Conference to be held in Nashville this week.

Back then two of us traveled to Boulder and met two other individuals from Nashville, also attending. They were taking a driving tour through the southwest looking for cohousing. We were surprised to run into other Nashvillians in Boulder that weekend!

Conference Mobile App Available Free!

We're happy to announce we have a free 2017 National Cohousing Conference mobile/iPad Guidebook app for the first time this year! We've entered the modern Conference world.

Download the app now so you can begin planning your schedule of sessions in Nashville from afar.

Take these steps:

1: Go to www.cohousing.org/2017/downloads

OR

https://guidebook.com/g/2017cohousing

to have a link sent directly to your phone.

Fertile Soils for Cohousing in Africa

Mark, Alan & Bright, earlier that day in a township pub, locally called a “shebeen”
80+ year old Ans Pappenfus Clark, a ten year resident of Memel Organics Cohousing, instructs Thabile in the rose garden

A few days ago, to my amusement, I learned that cohousing shares a lot of principles with many African cultures. This happened over (way too many) drinks with a filmmaker called Alan O’Hashi following a dinner party at a cohousing community in the small town of Memel, amidst the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. In fact, I also found out that this is the first and only cohousing community in South Africa (and I assume for most of Africa?) (Why???!).

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