Shagbark – a small and beautiful thing

“i am excited about your homestead and i want to help you find magical people to be in it” i messaged Joan.  i see myself as a recruiter not just for the communities i live in but for the movement in general.  Shagbark looked to me to be a very promising project, and i wanted to help in this way.  So it was doubly disappointing to get Joan’s reply.

“we are not actually looking for anyone else, we are going to be small for a while at least.”


What makes communities is the people in them.  It seems obvious, but when you look at the success rate of new communities, you know that it is going to take some pretty extraordinary people to make them work.    Joan is like this and then some.

Henna artist, reluctant geek, pocket philosopher, social networker and cute animal magnet, Joan Underhill Shagbark is one of the tiny crew of pioneers of this 6 acre ecovillage, near the well established north eastern Missouri communities of Danging Rabbit and the income sharing Sandhill Farm.  Shagbark is a pod inside the Red Earth community effort.

Shagbark is a mix of primativist and contemporary technologies.    It fuses permaculture, and the desire to be comfortable with a conscious lifestyle.   Shagbark rejects the current money system and touches it as little as possible in its daily operation.  The project boasts a number of accomplishments, including planting over 1000 trees since it started in 2009.  The culture they are creating is one with no formal meetings and work guided by the members deepest desires.

Shagbark promo video

This homestead boasts and impressive number of projects and animals, but to me what is really impressive is that they are trying this at all.  There are much more comfortable and easy lifestyles than this dark green farming practice.  You can help this impressive model of healthy holistic living by going to their indiegogo fundraising campaign.  They have raised almost half of the $4200 they need for the coming year, stretching the few dollars they have very far.  Please help them continue this critical work.

Joan with Fred the goat

Joan with Fred the goat