Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage has long been pioneering the transition to an ecologically and socially conscious way of living in community. We are creating a society which aims to care for people's deepest needs while living on the earth in such a manner that allows for the planet to heal and support future generations of all species.
Future generations are among the MOST vulnerable populations. They have no voice, and their wellbeing is often sidelined in favor of short term gains. They will inherit the world we create. It’s our mission to provide an alternative model of how to live with each other and with our planet so that all species, including humans, may thrive now and in the future. By supporting this campaign you are helping us to realize this vision and changing the world by changing ourselves. All donations received through this campaign will be used to pay for volunteers to live and work at Dancing Rabbit ecovillage. They will be working on projects related to sustainable food production, village-building, and ecological restoration. Our mission is to provide opportunities for people of diverse means and backgrounds to experience life at Dancing Rabbit, opening the door to a radically sustainable and personally transformative lifestyle, giving them the chance to make the jump to live in alignment with their values and create a more beautiful, sustainable, and just world.
We aim to host a rotating crew of three to four volunteers starting in May and running through October. The main costs for the program are food, common house fees (which gives them access to hot showers, wi-fi, electricity, and laundry), materials for projects, and wages for volunteer managers and liaisons. The goal is to have the program cover its own costs in future years through selling produce and other goods produced by the volunteers. However, it’s going to take a while to get there, and we operate on an extremely narrow margin. That’s why your help is needed!
Dancing Rabbit was founded in 1997 by a small group of friends from Berkeley California, with the vision of building a sustainable ecovillage of 500 to 1,000 inhabitants. Inspired by traditional European villages, Dancing Rabbit consists of a dense village center with homes, gardens, common buildings/spaces, and businesses, surrounded by agricultural land and protected natural forest/prairie land farther out. This layout ensures that DR will remain walkable (even as the numbers increase) and fosters a high degree of spontaneity and connectivity among villagers (known colloquially as ‘rabbits’). We are not an income-sharing commune: everyone at DR is responsible for creating their own livelihood, which people accomplish through a variety of means, including homesteading and agricultural projects, working online, working at our inn, midwifery, healthcare work, selling artisan goods, working at our non-profit, construction/carpentry/natural building, and much more. Thankfully the cost of living in rural Northeast Missouri is quite low. Though, to be honest, this is one of the hardest things for villagers to figure out, especially as there are not many employment opportunities in the surrounding area. We are working to address this through the development and expansion of cottage industries. To be sure, when people are able to figure it out, the work/life/play balance at Dancing Rabbit is unparalleled!
Over the years the village has grown steadily and is now home to about 50 full-time rabbits of all ages and various backgrounds. There are many natural buildings (straw bale walls seem to suit our environment very well), energy efficient homes, rain-water cisterns and ponds, off-grid eco-kitchens, a common house, a dairy co-op, an ultimate frisbee field, a dance hall/yoga studio, our own solar power grid, and a vehicle co-op (the vast majority of rabbits do not own a personal vehicle). Our dream is to continue to grow the village, develop our internal economy, become more self-sufficient (food, power, and water), and make it easier and more accessible for new people to join our village. We are doing this of course for ourselves, to create a high quality of life while living our values; but also to serve as a ecologically conscious model for people and communities all over the world. That being said, we are still figuring this thing out and are far from perfect; we’re learning, struggling, contradicting each other, growing, and re-examining our core agreements all the time.
One of the best avenues for people to get a first hand, in-depth experience of Dancing Rabbit while helping to build the village itself is by coming as a volunteer. This has led to many new villagers (including me!) and opens the door to people of all different means and backgrounds, as there is no financial requirement for becoming a volunteer. Typically, volunteers have been hosted by individual members of the village and work on projects such as natural building, gardening, childcare, and animal husbandry. This year the Center for Sustainable and Co-operative Culture (CSCC), the non-profit wing of Dancing Rabbit, will host its own volunteer program aimed at doing projects which will benefit the village as a whole.
One of the major projects this year will be starting and maintaining a diverse permaculture-inspired food forest and vegetable gardens in order to feed ourselves and create value added products to sell to Dancing Rabbit inhabitants and the wider community. We will also be building SubHub, a community building which will serve as a meeting space, co-op kitchen, volunteer housing, workshop space and more. We will also be repairing and revamping our camping area by utilizing local, renewable, and/or recycled materials to create glorified tent platforms that will include roofs, partial walls and bug screens. This will increase our capacity to comfortably house volunteers, and provide low rent, three-season options for new villagers. We will utilize a variety of natural building techniques including straw bale insulation, wattle and daub, lime plaster, eco-bricks, split shingles, thatching and more. We will also be doing land management/ecological restoration activities including digging swales to capture rainwater, planting native, fruit, and multi purpose trees, pollinator plants, native prairie flowers/grasses and removing invasive species. Other projects that could happen include revamping the front courtyard, converting our community orchard into a food forest, building a sauna, and permaculture landscaping around the village.
It is important to recognize the effect that this program can have on the individual participants. Each volunteer will get to experience life as part of an integrated cooperative culture that practices wildlife conservation alongside sustainable resource use, food production, economics, construction, transportation, energy production, as well as consensus decision-making, non-violent communication, conflict resolution, and other socially and environmentally sustainable technologies. For many, this has been one of the most significant experiences in their lives, and inspired them to re-examine their relationships with the mainstream, consumer culture and bring their lives more closely in alignment with their deeply held values. Many have chosen to stay here at Dancing Rabbit and build their lives and our village. By donating to this campaign you are not only helping to build our Ecovillage, but you are helping to transform the lives of real people who are eager to make the shift to an ecologically and socially conscious lifestyle, and just need the support of a like minded community!