What’s an ecovillage?

One definition of ecovillage reads: “A human-scale full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future (Gilman, 1991).” Another definition expands by noting that an ecovillage also “regenerates the social and environmental fabric of life, and across all four dimensions of sustainability: social, environmental, economic and cultural (Global Ecovillage Network, 2012).”

How does this definition apply to Hart’s Mill?

We plan to build a compact village of about 30 small homes and a community center, allowing more than 85% of the land to remain permanently in open space and restorative agriculture. We want our village to embody the definition above as follows:

  • Human scale and full featured: The size of our village allows us to know each other deeply, while nourishing social relationships, food production, employment opportunities, and shared facilities to meet many of our needs on-site.
  • Harmlessly integrated into the natural world: We are committed to a relationship of care and stewardship with the land and aim to live in such a way that our daily activities benefit its soil, plants, and ecosystems.
  • Can be successfully continued into the indefinite future: Consistent with the ethics of permaculture design, we are building a social and agricultural system that minimizes its reliance on nonrenewable inputs and maximizes efficient use of rainwater, soil nutrients, labor, energy, and other important resources. For more information, see the Sustainability page.
  • Regenerates the social and environmental fabric of life: Our aim is not only to minimize our negative impact, but to actually build the long-term health and resilience of the land and its inhabitants by building biodiversity, remediating pollutants, improving soil fertility, and supporting a healthy, thriving community and social life.