Dancing Rabbit is located in the northeast corner of Missouri, 1 mile north of the small town of Rutledge. The surrounding area is primarily agricultural, with mostly small farms with an aging populace. Mennonites have also been making this area their home since the mid seventies and are a growing portion of the population.
Our area is home to three other intentional communities which makes for a vibrant and diverse community culture. You can read more about each of them on our Local Communities page.
Rutledge was founded in the late 1800s when the railroad first came through this area of Missouri (unfortunately Amtrak does not stop here—yet!). At that time there was actually a small town at Sandhill, 2.5 miles away, which disappeared when the railroad went through Rutledge. Rutledge now boasts a population just over 100 with a gas station, two fix-it shops, a car wash, post office, and Zimmerman’s. Zimmerman’s is a Mennonite-run grocery store famous in this area for its low prices, especially on bulk and health foods, including organics, medicinal herbs, and even vegan desserts. Rutledge is also home to the world-famous Dog and Gun Auction/Flea Market, a multi-acre flea market that takes place once a month near town and brings thousands of people in from hundreds of miles around.
Dancing Rabbit is at the southern edge of Scotland County which has a population of about 5000 and is primarily agricultural with most farmers growing corn or soybeans, or raising cattle. People here are generally friendly and open to what we are doing (Sandhill Farm has had good public relations since 1974). And they are open to such things as organic farming and alternative energy. We have really enjoyed making friends with our neighbors and learning about country living.
Memphis, 13 miles north of Dancing Rabbit, is the county seat and is home to half the population of the county. It has the classic midwestern town layout with the courthouse on the central square. Since Memphis is far enough from larger towns nearby, it still acts as the economic catch basin for the entire county. In Memphis, most of the stores on the square are open and thriving with very few national chains and provide most of the services one might need: a movie theater, a library, hardware stores, a hospital, schools, and even a summer musical. We have a running column in the local paper, The Memphis Democrat, which lets local folks know whats up at DR.
Dancing Rabbit is about 35 miles from Kirksville, MO (pop 25,000) which is the home of Truman State University and the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Here one can find many of the familiar surroundings of a college town: lots of young folks, progressive politics, a University Library, coffee shops, etc. Truman State even brings in such cultural events as the St. Louis Symphony, the opera, and the ballet. We’ve had a number of college classes come out to see our community scene and have made some great connections with students there. We even got a spot on the local TV news once.
There is more progressive culture in the midwest than most people think and it’s exciting to find that many little pockets of it surround us in northeast Missouri (aka NEMO). We are about 50 miles from Quincy, IL, 60 miles from Ottumwa, IA, 60 miles from Fairfield, IA (an incredibly hip little town), 100 miles from Columbia, MO (home of the University of Missouri, also known as Mizzou), 200 miles from St. Louis, MO, 180 miles from Kansas City, MO and about 300 miles from Chicago, IL.