Systems and Structures

Systems & Structures is an archive of documents used by various FEC communities (including bylaws, decision-making policies, economic agreements, membership requirements, etc.). These documents can help forming communities by providing examples of policies, and reducing the need to "re-invent the wheel."

Click Here to view our Systems & Structures Index.

Become a Friend of Community

If you would like to support the work of building an egalitarian alternative
to mainstream society and choose not to live with us at this time, we invite
you to become a Friend of Community.
See form below, if you'd like to join.


"Gardening for the Future"

As a Friend you will receive community newsletters and announcements of
conferences and upcoming events. We also offer a gift for donations of
$50 or more: your choice of a copy of the Communities
, a one-year subscription to Communities
, or a selection of books from Community

We welcome all donations that assist in our outreach efforts. Friends have
been known to offer services such as technical skills, hosting traveling communitarians,
or arranging for local showings of our slideshow. Contact with others who share
our vision and values helps all of us thrive!

Please contact:
Friends of Community
c/o FEC Secretary
1309 13th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98144
(206) 324-6822 ext. 2.

Community Loan Fund

Building community requires resources. Those resources can sometimes
be people, giving of their time, energy, motivation and management.
Sometimes the resources needed are concretely financial. There are
several sources of loan funds for both FEC and non-FEC communities.
For any loan, the Applicant will be expected to supply the following
--Purpose for which the money will be used.
--Term of the loan and proposed method of repayment (one lump sum at

end, blended monthly payments of principal and interest, etc.).
--Proposed interest rate.
--Explanation of how you will generate the cash flow to repay the
--What secures the loan in the event that payments are not made when
promised? Depending on the answer here, you may be required to have
individual guarantors provide back-up security for the loan.

The Federation has established a revolving loan fund for business
initiatives and capital acquisitions of affiliated Federation
communities. A community must be either a full member of officially
recognized group-in-dialog with the Federation to be eligible to
receive a loan from this fund.

Mutual Aid Fund

Funds to Support Community Development

The Mutual Aid Fund (MAF) exists to provide money to member(s) of full
member communities to attend classes, conferences, workshops or other
events to learn skills that would help their community in significant
areas where that community is struggling, and when their community cannot
or will not support such activities for financial or political reasons.

Requesting individual(s) will write a short application describing the
problem and how attending the proposed event will help alleviate it. They
will also post their proposal at their community; other community members
may give input to their delegates or the MAF Meta. Funding will be
allocated at the discretion of the Meta. At the end of the year, the Meta
will follow-up with fund recipients to prepare an end-of-year report
describing how the fund was spent and any results.

MAF Meta:


Preservation of Equity Accessible for Community Health

One of the benefits of FEC membership is the right to participate in a Federation-wide program of self-insurance to cover catastrophic health care costs. While this operates under the auspices of the Federation, the governing bodies for FEC and PEACH are distinct. The Federation is governed by delegates from each member community, and PEACH is governed
by a body comprised of one representative of each participating community. This person is called a MELBA (Member Expected to Look after Basic Affairs). Any correlation between delegates and MELBAs is coincidental, and delegates have no authority over PEACH.

While all FEC member communities are offered the opportunity to join
PEACH, this is not a requirement. In addition, some non-member
communities have been invited to participate in PEACH. These decisions
are made by the MELBAs. The administrator for PEACH is called the PIT
(Person Into Technicalities), and any inquiries about the program
should directed to Laird Schaub at Sandhill Farm,

Labor Exchange (LEX)

Labor Exchange, affectionately referred to as LEX, is a popular
program among the FEC communities. People who want to take a break from
their home community are nearly always welcome as visiting workers at
the other communities, and receive credit at home for the hours
completed. Just like members, guests on labor exchange receive a place
to stay, food, and other amenities. Length of labor exchange varies
from a few hours (for communities located within a few miles of each
other) to several weeks.

These relationships are built into the fabric of our community
rhythms. For example, Sandhill Farm in Missouri relies heavily on
outside help to bring in the harvest of their main sorghum crop each
fall. It's a high energy time there. In the winter when the farm and
garden season is restful, Sandhill folks head out to the other
communities to repay the labor they received.

The FEC supports labor exchange with travel subsidies, available
with our LETS program. Any of our member communities are also free to
set up labor exchange with other communities as they see fit, whether
or not those communities are part of our association.

Communication Skills Program

At the fall 2003 assembly, it was recognized that our communities need
further support in order to live out the FEC's 7th core principle
("Creating processes for group communication and participation and
providing an environment which supports people's development"). Thus
our communication skills program was created according to the following
guidelines. Since the FEC doesn't have unlimited funds available to
support the Communication Skills program, to take advantage of the
program first check with the current Rainbow Meta to find out if funds
are available.

  1. We are setting aside money within the "Rainbow" program for
    developing communication, mediation, and meeting facilitation skills.
    This money is intended to fund members of our communities to go to
    training courses (travel and/or registration costs) or to bring in
    trainers to hold courses in our communities (teaching fees). The FEC
    will pay for up to half the cost, with the rest provided by the cmty or
  2. To qualify as a program which the FEC will help fund, a
    program or trainer must offer a significant program (at least a day
    long) focused on communication, mediation or facilitation. Pre-approved
    programs are listed below. If you'd like the FEC to fund a program not
    on the list below, please contact the executive committee at
    If members of an FEC community want to attend an outside training with
    FEC support, they need to agree to organize a presentation for their
    home community on the skills they learned away from home.
  3. In addition to money, we will further support the development
    of Communication Skills by allowing members to use FEC dues hours for
    attending such trainings (either inside or outside the cmty) and/or
    teaching such trainings, at a rate of up to half time (that is, one
    hour of attendance or teaching receives half an hour of dues credit).

New Communities Support

The FEC wants to see as many new communities sharing our values
flourish as possible. As resources permit we may donate labor, share
expertise, or provide a loan for a new business. We have found that
moral support goes a long way, and that the most important resource we
can provide may be relationships with people who know the challenges of
building community firsthand. These relationships are most likely to
form based on mutual chemistry and proximity.

We have collected documents describing how we structure and operate
our communities. The documents include planning papers, policies,
bylaws, tax documents, etc. While many of these are somewhat outdated,
they may still be helpful, and you can also contact individual
communities to ask about current documents. See Systems & Structures.

A new community may want help with group process skills, including
meeting facilitation, how to work with conflict, and choices in
decision-making. The Federation can help by providing skilled teachers.

You may also want to visit our communities where you can learn firsthand what we are doing and whether it suits your situation.

Community in the Classroom

Part of our mission is sharing insights about our experiences so that
others may benefit from what we've learned about the day-to-day
challenges of cooperative living. We invite you to look over our
educational resources and to contact us to discuss your specific

Face-to-Face Learning

You visit us:

Each community offers tours of about two-three hours, led by
knowledgeable community members. Please call ahead. $5/person. Fees

Work-weeks: Sometimes we are able to
host groups of eight or fewer students for multi-day visits if they are
willing to join our work for about five hours a day. A liaison will be
available for tours and discussion sessions. For a suggested fee of
$5/person/day, we will provide simple housing and meals. Exact details
will depend on size of group, season, and class goals.

Internships: Some
of our communities make arrangements for students to share our work and
lives for longer periods (usually three to twelve weeks), concentrating
on skills such as organic gardening, alternative construction, and
community organizing. This must be tailored to the student, community,
and season. Please write a letter explaining your interest, or contact

We visit you:

can meet with and ask questions of someone who lives the lifestyle they
have been studying. Our members are happy to give a presentation about
our history, present lifestyle and challenges. Format could be a slide
show, lecture, question and answer, or all of the above! We ask hosts
to cover travel costs, simple meals, lodging and $200/day stipend. If
costs are prohibitive, please contact us to negotiate other
arrangements. Contact the FEC Secretary, or the community nearest you.

Written Resources

Books by our members: Is It Utopia Yet? An Insider’s View of Twin Oaks Community in its 26th Year, by Kat Kinkade, 1994, 322 pp. $18 postpaid.
Community Bookshelf: Free catalog with over 100 titles on community living and alternative
lifestyles available through the mail from FIC.
Communities Directory:

The book Communities Directory: A Guide to Intentional Communities
and Cooperative Living
is the essential reference tool for those interested
in finding or creating community. Compiled once every 5 years by the nonprofit
organization Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC). It’s over 400
pages long - contains information on more than 700 intentional communities
from North America and other continents - features 33 articles about community
living - includes community resources, maps, a cross-reference chart,
reading list, and index.

To order: order at ic dot org , 800-462-8240,

Communities Magazine:

Since 1972, the primary resource for information, issues, and ideas about
intentional communities in North America - from urban co-ops to cohousing
groups to ecovillages to rural communes. Published quarterly. Typically
80 pages long.

To subscribe: order at ic dot org, 800-462-8240,

Internet: Website:

Current news and happenings in our communities, published periodically.

Leaves of Twin Oaks (Twin Oaks)
(East Wind)
March Hare (Skyhouse/Dancing Rabbit--free via e-mail), Soundings



Slideshow and Video:

Our slideshow offers a view of life at our communities. On the accompanying
15-minute soundtrack cassette, students will hear members discuss our
core values and practices, including how we raise our children, how we
make a living, and how we make decisions. If you do not have slideshow
capacity, we have a digitized video copy. Both are available for a negotiable
rental fee through the mail or with a presentation by a community member.
Deposit is $50, returned when the slideshow is returned.


Other Resources

Systems and Structures: We keep a file of policies and documents that have been crafted
by member communities. For the cost of photocopying and postage, we are
happy to send you copies. Please contact East Wind Community. Most of these
documents are now also available online
Poster: Photos and descriptions of our communities. Free
Brochures: A 20-page brochure with photos and full descriptions of each
member community, entitled Sharing the Dream. Free
Living Routes:

Living Routes is a non-profit organization that offers accredited, college-level
programs based in ecovillages around the world.
Phone toll free at (888) 515-7333.


Evaluations from Students

“I really liked talking
to someone ‘real’ and ‘live’ about their experiences in a community.
It made the whole course come together for me.”

“Besides informing me in
detail about communal life, she helped me to think about where I am in
my life right now. Her visit was extremely beneficial to the entire class’s
understanding of utopian life.”

“She managed to create an entirely new version
of what contemporary intentional communities are in my head.”

FEC Communities

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