The first question people ask about SEED is common ownership of the land, and sharing of incomes etc. When we answer , they ask us why we call ourselves a commune. Here is the answer
Most communes are income-sharing communities, SEED is not. The best way to express the financial end of SEED is to say we are a cost-reducing community. Yes, we do have industries on SEED, some of which are shared income, but they are not the center point of the budget like in other communes.
S.E.E.D. stands for Self-Efficient-Ecologically-Dependant. We do grow our own food, and attempt to get completely off-the-Grid. But the land is privately owned by the original members who fronted the start up costs. Guests help pay for the operating costs by paying an equal share of the budget balance, and are encouraged to save towards starting their own SEED. Guests are told that their stay is temporary, their purpose in joining a SEED is to start their own.
SEED communes are micro-communes. Successful SEEDs in the past have been small, usually with one to three families starting a new SEED. They are also temporary in their operation as a stepping stone for others. Eventually SEEDs close their doors to guests, usually after a few new SEEDs have been successfully started by previous guests.
SEEDs are not based on a religious or political, ideals. All are welcome, however there is an understanding that SEED is not the place for preaching. SEED is a home. SEED is a stepping stone to a new lifestyle, not a method of conversion to a new belief.
Again I give reference to the usual norm of communes
Communities such as The Twin Oaks Commune, and The Basin Farm, started off with the members having outside sources of income. But as the communes became more prosperous the members left their outside jobs to concentrate on the communities industries.
SEED are similar, but there are some differences.
When a SEED commune starts the original members usually have outside jobs working for the plant down the street so to speak. Eventually, the commune itself adapts to the needs of those members, and industries are formed. Some industries, such as any surplus in the gardens are shared incomes to the members. Most Industries on a SEED are privately run businesses by the members to pay for their equal costs of living on the commune.
Since the purpose of the community includes getting off the grid, early trades such as pottery, glass blowing, and blacksmithing become the norm. However, there is no rule or limit on the kind of industry that can become part of a community, only the members themselves and the resources limit the practical end of things.
These industries are not commonly own by all the members on the commune, they are privately own by the trades people themselves. Therein lays the difference between SEEDs and income-sharing communities.
April 22, 2003