Health and Happiness
Beautiful Minds Ranch. This site is designed to address issues about health, healing, community, intentional healing, affordable co-op housing for artists, at risk youth programs, community support, health support networks, highly sensitive people, creativity, passion, and how to find purpose and meaningfulness in life.
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Co-op News: New Artist affordable housing co-op construction.
Social Evolution: Hard-hitting stories and insight.
Alice Wonders Why.org is dedicated to building an affordable housing community for artists who find life in the city unsatisfying and uncomfortable. Many people who are highly sensitive and creative find themselves excluded in mainstream society. Studies show that people, or groups of people sharing similar personality traits, who are alienated in society, often find themselves living alone with few friends and family members, or homeless. In addition, highly sensitive, creative people are often diagnosed with some kind of mental illnesses during times of crisis, and have great difficulty functioning in toxic environments.
Sensitive Persons (HSPs) and Emotional Hypersensitivity
Beautiful Minds Ranch is an affordable housing cooperative to be built on 200 acres of land with lake or riverfront access, somewhere in California. A land lease to be negotiated on a 100 year contract at a low monthly payment.
Loans, grant funds, donations and fundraisers will help pay for running power lines, digging wells and basic septic systems to a full hook-up campground for about 24 people (families and singles). After permanent homes are built, these improvements will be used as campgrounds for visitors and retreats. Campgrounds will remain a part of the non-profit housing co-op.
Year 1: Members will move on to the land with either campers or mobile homes and pay a monthly mortgage fee, calculated by land lease cost, improvement loans, and maintenance costs, per person and by individual contract.
A contractor agreement for excavating stone from a 5 acre quarry area will be implemented to build 6 green-homes; excess stone will be sold as agreed to by contracting company. Digging will continue until the quarry reaches about 100 feet in the center and will then be filled with spring or lake water and stocked with quality fish. The quarry will remain part of the non-profit housing co-op.
A building loan will be taken out to fund building the 6, 3-2-2 green-homes with large, angle-sided, flat roof attics. The homes will be basically identical to keep total costs low. Larger families can easily convert the attic or garage into extra living quarters. This loan will cover the basics: foundations of peer and beam (providing crawl space for plumbing and wiring access, and easy foundation leveling), framing and roofing, wiring and plumbing, A/C, interior finishing and appliances, in addition to solar panels, wind mills, septic treatment and irrigation distribution system, and a central well water treatment and distribution system.
This is a rough estimate and will be followed up by a cost breakdown as I continue research: The expected monthly mortgage fee for a 4-member family living in one of the 6 ranch homes should not exceed $1,000, and for a single person sharing a 4-member home, the mortgage fee would be around $250 each. Power, water and waste water are included in the monthly fee, and, except for the cost of seed and personal labor, all members would have access to free fresh food from the community gardens. Excess fees collected, after loans are repaid, will be used to build new housing and community structures, and for property maintenance and improvements; overages will be donated toward helping other groups build similar green-housing, non-profit cooperatives.
Revenue Profit Generating Co-op Investments
Other for-profit co-ops will form autonomous of the Beautiful Minds Ranch affordable housing cooperative corporation. Members have the first option to invest with funds, skilled services, or both. The for-profit co-ops membership will be open to some outside investors, as needed.
List of for-profit companies to join or create over time:
Farming co-op [Build a greenhouse ½ the size of a football field for organically grown, non-genetically modified produce, which may be sectioned off to emulate different climate types. Fence 3 or more pastures for the rotation of cows, horses and free range hogs and chickens]. Horse stables for boarding horses, trail riding rental, and training lessons. Purchasing co-op and warehouse [bulk purchases for member savings, and over stock resale in both the online and general stores.] Energy co-op [alternative energy from solar, wind and water resources]. The General Store [onsite store open to the public.] Convention Center and classrooms. Marina and boat rental. Biplane [air tours and hops to metropolitan areas]. Services co-op [to manage and market excess foods, warehouse stock, and energy, and to promote convention center rental, marina and boat rental, education classes, camping retreat].
Alternative Living for Artists, the Beautiful Minds Ranch
Management is paramount in building any business. Many communities fail because of poor planning or management techniques, others due to half heartedness. A successful business is born of immovable faith in success. What ever challenges arise, people of knowing will triumph. The contribution of such efforts, and the success those efforts bring, will add much needed beauty back into the world, however small the endeavor.
Most creative-type people are especially sensitive to negative stimuli such as noise, pollution, and violence. Creativity is energy and can be depleted by prolonged exposure to unhealthy stimuli. In addition, these quiet people are often shunned by society because of their sensitivity to the harsh side of mainstream life.
I have read countless posts on the Fellowship for Intentional Communities Directory from people wanting to form new communities where higher awareness is the norm rather than the exception. I come from a large family and have lost them all over the years. For myself, I function best in a family environment where people care about each other, and never stop to consider the cost of helping someone in need, or whether or not they will get something in return.
What I like most about the intentional community concept is community. Bringing families together with people of all ages. I believe that seniors have the most to give in communities. Children who are raised without frequent access to their Grand Parents and Great Grand Parents miss out on so much. And people with no children or family miss out even more. Children and Seniors complete the living picture. Without them we are all just disconnected self-images, running around with little meaning in our lives.
Benefits of Eco Village Living
Cooperatives are corporations that serve the best interests of their members directly, while profit-minded corporations often serve their own interests at any cost. I've had money and it never made me feel any better than I feel right now. I've seen people with more money than they could ever spend, and many of them seem quite miserable to me. The values most important to me now cost very little, and consist mostly of personal contribution and the treasures of loving and being loved in an emotionally intelligent community.
There are grant funds available and many other resources that will match funds or offer no-interest loans for projects that build up rural communities, promote new business and employment opportunities. As the job economy continues to erode in the US, alternative living opportunities must be considered.
Working Outside the Home
When you consider the cost of working outside the home, especially where both parents work, the benefit of the second job is not cost effective. Add up the expense of two car payments, insurance, childcare, meals from fast-food or decent restaurants, expensive clothing, commuting time ($ per hour), fuel and pollution, and the stress of trying to juggle the soccer practice, shopping and household chores, not to mention the unsupervised hours the children spend doing who knows what, that second career costs far more than the income it brings in.
Many of the forming communities listed on the Fellowship for Intentional Communities Directory website are seeking investors. Many groups give up after a while. I believe that with the right people who are serious minded and determined, along with some grant funding, that investors will come ("if you build it, they will come"). Successful communities start with just a few people who are dedicated and are willing to do whatever it takes. Once the ground is broken, others will want to buy into this better way of living.