This Year at Dancing Rabbit – 2011

Dear Friends of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage,

Graduate student Krishna Ramesh didn’t come here looking for a life-changing experience. He just wanted to learn to dance.

But after attending a blues workshop at our new dance hall, he wrote, “It was the best weekend of my life… a dream come true. I just sent an application to join a sustainability group on campus, will try to get more involved and active here. I wish I was closer, I’d come every weekend.”

Off Grid Blues Dancers

Blues workshop participants Savannah, Krishna, and Davi

For Krishna, and for hundreds of others who tour Dancing Rabbit each year, seeing is believing. Believing that a more sustainable, cooperative society is not only possible—it’s already happening, here and now. Believing that they can be a part of it too. And so can you.

As someone who is interested in Dancing Rabbit, you are one of our greatest blessings. Maybe you’re exploring ecological living, promoting local foods, organizing a transition town, or carrying the value of cooperation and sharing into your life’s work. Or maybe you just appreciate that we’re out here doing the tough work of building a new society. If we have helped inspire you, you’re the reason we’re here.

Read on to see what we’ve been up to this year, and find out how you can help us continue to thrive.

We’re growing faster than ever

This year a whopping 30 people applied to live in our ecovillage, and already 17 have moved in, with more coming in the spring. This winter we have nearly 60 people here, filling our cozy homes to capacity. For the first time, families are moving to Rutledge while they consider joining, and some ex-members are staying nearby. Northeast Missouri is becoming a magnet for those living cooperatively and sustainably, with four intentional communities and new and old friends all playing their roles in the exciting culture we’re creating.

We’re spreading our wealth of knowledge

Some of these new “rabbits” found us through our visitor program, or by helping us build homes and grow food during a work-exchange or internship. Visitors (60 of them in 2011) participate in the life of the village and learn about consensus, natural building, renewable energy, and raising food. Work exchangers (36 this year) offer us a season of their energy and in return get practical experience in creating homes and gardens in an ecovillage. And of course many of these folks—plus about 150,000 more every year—find us through our highly informative website, where an upgrade is currently in progress. Click here to help us teach more people about sustainable living.

A new community center is in the works

New Common House design meeting

An open meeting to discuss the design of the new community building

With our current growth, we will very soon outstrip the capacity of our current “Common House.” We’ve spent much of the year designing a new building with space for meetings, workshops, and our nonprofit office, as well as a gathering place for community potlucks, celebrations, and social events. This community center will also boast a co-operative kitchen and bath house that will serve our growing population for years to come. Our architect is now working with members to create the ultimate eco-center, as we nail down specifics of the timeline and budget. Stay tuned! We can’t wait to share this with you as it develops. Your contribution now will help cover our modest design costs.

The world is taking notice

This year Dancing Rabbit was filmed for two documentaries, Rhythms of Rutledge and Within Reach, and has been featured in four magazine articles and two interviews. Arkansas Tech professor Joshua Lockyer and two colleagues from North Texas University are studying DR’s experience as they develop ways of measuring sustainability. And the Milkweed Mercantile B&B welcomed almost 300 guests, more than half of whom were meeting us for the first time.

We’ve got Better Energy

Solar Panel Installation

Tom and Naz installing solar panels for our new power co-op

With a government grant, Dancing Rabbit installed over 25kW of solar panels in a new grid-tied renewable energy system. The BEDR Power Co-op (Better Energy for Dancing Rabbit) will provide power to new homes and businesses here while exporting additional energy to the national grid. This more than doubles our energy production capacity, allowing our car co-op to turn to electric vehicles and our cooks to switch away from propane. We’re considering adding a large wind turbine next. Help us explore green energy options with a gift today.

We’re now hosting larger events

If you blinked this year you might have missed the lightning-speed construction of La Casa de Cultura. The paint was barely dry when 40 dancers from around the country descended on DR for Off Grid Blues. Next summer La Casa will allow Dancing Rabbit to host the Ecovillage Design Education course, a leadership training program offered at ecovillages around the world. We are finally becoming a leading destination for students of sustainable, regenerative culture. Your donation will allow more people to attend our workshops.

We’re growing more of our own food

One of our members wanted a vineyard and greenhouse, and we’ve always been committed to providing local food. So we took 20 acres out of a government conservation program, freeing that land up for agriculture. He put up a hoop-house with an incentive grant, and now folks here can buy locally grown salad greens in the winter—and pay for them in our local currency. He’s also offering organic cheese, and other villagers are selling yogurt, garlic, vegetables, eggs, bread, and beeswax candles—so you can have a full candlelight dinner without spending any “food miles”—only “food feet.”

We need you!

Dancing Rabbit’s mission is not only to live sustainably but to show others—like Krishna, the dancer—how it can be done. We can only do this with the support of others who believe in us. To ensure Dancing Rabbit has a deep and lasting impact on the consumer culture, I urge you to give as generous a donation as you can afford. We’ll use every dollar to bring the world a living example of sustainable community. Thank you for caring.


Alyson Ewald

Board President

P.S. If you know Dancing Rabbit, you know we take volunteerism to an extreme. Almost all of our work is done by volunteers, and we keep office costs to a minimum. That means every dollar you give will go a long way toward creating a truly sustainable community. Please give today. Thanks.


Online donations are via PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account you can use your credit card directly.

Checks can be sent to:
Dancing Rabbit · 1 Dancing Rabbit Lane · Rutledge, MO 63563

Your contributions are very much appreciated! Dancing Rabbit Thanks You!