Where? How much? Who? are top survey questions

With just seven questions in our spring survey, people found it easy to respond. Out of some 72 invitations, 51 responded which beats most expectations for surveys, Thanks to all of you who let us know what you’re thinking, and what interests you about Stone’s Throw Ecovillage!

In response to the first question, only 8 people had decided they did not want to live at Stone’s Throw. The rest, with one abstention, are all open to the idea and 8 of us are definitely planning on it.

The second question found people all over the map with obstacles they’d encountered to learning more or joining Stone’s Throw as members. Living at a distance? Keep up with us on our website and google group email list, or attend one of our meeting via skype! Not sure your vision meshes with ours? Give a call or send an email and we can have an individual conversation/exploration. New baby? Congratulations! Want to know the exact location? We’re working on that! Financing is a question? We are planning for affordable options. Which brings us to the fourth question (saving the third question for later).

Fourth, we asked if you would be interested in investing in Stone’s Throw’s capital campaign for development of the land and the common buildings. Such investments would receive interest together with repayment. 25 of you wanted to know more. Once our search for an experienced attorney is concluded, we will have more information for you. Our LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) documents are drafted, and simply need to be reviewed and filed. This is the legal entity which private groups and cooperatives use in Wisconsin for a joint purchase of land.

Fifth, the overwhelming majority of you found most of your information about Stone’s Throw first, through talking with a current member, and secondarily through the website. A few had seen the article in Pea Soup, the Viroqua Food Co-op newsletter or our listings at ic.org ( or cohousing.org ().

Sixth, some 40% of you have been to a Stone’s Throw event in Viroqua: a meeting, natural building seminar, education evening and discussion. 60% haven’t– yet!

Circling back to our third question, which asked what pieces of information would be most important to you in deciding if the community at Stone’s Throw would be a good fit, three responses stood out. Third, perhaps surprisingly, was the location. This may be because our search is specifically within walking distance of the center of Viroqua.

Second most important was the cost. Obviously.

Number one: the people. Who would be your neighbors? This is a big one, and an unusual one also. We don’t normally have any say in who our neighbors will be. Stone’s Throw, as with other intentional communities, suddenly presents us with a choice. What if we get it wrong? I would just say, from our experience as part of a cohousing community on the west coast, that there will usually be a mix: people with the same and people with different interests, people who like meetings and people who don’t, people who like to dance and people who don’t. They will all have this in common though: an interest in community, an interest in knowing and cooperating with their neighbors, in sharing resources and living lightly on the land. That, to me, is a big step forward.

Finally, we asked for your questions or suggestions and, for an open-ended question, 27 responses was good. Among them:
• Look into Tiny Houses
• Develop a pattern language for the community (from the designer, Christopher Alexander’s work)
• More sketches of site design and community building designs, please!
• Will permaculture principles enter into your planning? (YES)
• Can I invest a smaller amount now in anticipation of future participation? (Yes, membership is only $100-200 right now.)
• Will there be spaces open for public meetings or workshops? (Yes, we’ve talked about these possibilities.)
• Do a team building event with a facilitator. (We have planned for both decision-making training and non-violent communication training as our group grows. We have trained facilitators already for our meetings. This is what our work projects are about, also.)
• What if someone changes their mind? Will they be stuck, out the money? (No, building lots and completed homes can be sold as with any real estate purchase. The community does not control what you do with your individual lot/home.)
• There were many encouraging responses: Keep at it! Good job of keeping us informed! Keep taking those steps! An ecovillage will be a great addition to the community! Etc.

Thanks to all of you who completed the survey. Be in touch with any questions, or just to be in touch. Our contact information is on the right.

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3 Responses to Where? How much? Who? are top survey questions

  1. Thanks, Jerry. Clearly this is your passion, and one sure to be shared by like-minded others. It is a sacred road which you and Natalie are pursuing calling others in grateful solemnity.

  2. Ken Grunke says:

    Curious to know if there are plans for a community human waste system? Composting toilets, or a central shared system? Or would the homes tie into the Viroqua system, or each home be responsible individually?

    • We have discussed composting toilets and an advanced type of vault toilet, in homes as well as in the common house. Each home will be responsible for their own system, unless some individuals work together to design a joint system. With at least 12 homes and a common house, we are not likely to have a central shared system.

      We have also discussed a shared graywater system, designed to be shared among 2 – 4 homes. With the graywater system, anyone who chooses to install a septic will be able to size it much smaller, since the majority of household “waste” water is graywater.

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