RSVP – Dancing Rabbit’s 15th Anniversary and Reunion Ocober 5-7

If you have lived, worked, played or stayed at Dancing Rabbit before for any length of time, you are invited to our 15th Anniversary Land Day Celebration, October 5-7, 2012.

Now is the time to RSVP at and let us know if you will be joining us.

We’ll be celebrating 15 years of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage history with storytelling, music, dance, food, fun, and reconnection with Rabbits new and old.

Join us as we enjoy potlucks, photos, dance parties, campfires, talent (or no-talent) shows, and much more, including burning the last two of our original mortgages!

Please RSVP now so we know how many to plan for.

We hope to see you there!

Grazing sheep

Keeping livestock for a more sustainable food system

Grazing sheep

Eco-friendly lawn mowers in the DR orchard

Dancing Rabbit recently took 19 acres of our land out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), a government program that pays us to maintain potential agricultural land as wildlife habitat.  Though this program has helped us pay the mortgage on our land, most of the land we could potentially use for ag projects has been under CRP contract and has not been available for use by members without the payment of a significant penalty.  The recent opening up of land has spurred interest in new agricultural projects and has begun a community process of forming new agricultural policies around how we use the land.  We’d like to use our agricultural land to produce more of our own food and income for our members, but we also want to be sure we are practicing a kind of agriculture that will be sustainable over the long term.  Most agriculture done in this country is based on the use of fossil fuel, and because of its destructive nature will not be sustainable for thousands of years like the agriculture of our ancestors.  To help with forming our policies, members were asked to write up their visions for the future of agriculture at DR.  I plan to compile some excerpts from what people wrote soon and post them here on the blog.

In the meantime, I offer an essay I recently wrote for my blog about the use of animals in sustainable agriculture.   Although modern methods of animal agriculture are neither sustainable nor humane, including livestock in a sustainable agriculture system has great potential for reducing our dependence on fossil fuel, restoring fertility to farmland, and making food production more sustainable.  This article is posted on my blog and linked here because it is my opinion and not necessarily one shared by everyone at DR.  I do think many of the issues discussed in the essay are relevant to creating a model for sustainable agriculture here.


At Dancing Rabbit only pedestrians, cyclists, and delivery vehicles can use the roads

Taking Dancing Rabbit to the Cities

People often say that Dancing Rabbit is in the middle of nowhere, and its hard to dispute. Rutledge, our nearest town has a population of 100 (which we hope to surpass in the next few years) and our whole county has fewer residents than some big city high schools (4,843 by the last census).

But what we do at Dancing Rabbit is as relevant to cities as it is to small town USA, and I’ve begun to wonder: what if cities adopted Dancing Rabbit’s ecological covenants?

In this first article in a series, we explore what would happen if a city banned personal vehicles similar to how Dancing Rabbit has.

Calling all former Rabbits: members, residents, interns, wexers, visitors, and guests!

If you have lived, worked, played or stayed at Dancing Rabbit before for any length of time, please save the date for our 15th Land Day Reunion!

We’ll be celebrating 15 years of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage history with storytelling, music, dance, food, fun, and reconnection with Rabbits new and old.

Join us October 5-7, 2012 as we enjoy potlucks, photos, dance parties, campfires, talent (or no-talent) shows, and much more, including burning the last two of our original mortgages!

Our 10th Land Day Reunion in 2007 was a smash, with over 100 people attending, and we hope to have even more people show up this year. Bring your significant others and family to this weekend of community and help us celebrate sustainable living.

To get all the details and updates you should make sure you are on our mailing list.

You can also join our event on Facebook.

Details to follow in the upcoming months. We hope to see you there!

Books That Made a Difference

At DR we all have our stories about how we found the courage to move to an ecovillage and live differently from most of the people in the US.  Alline recently put up this post on her blog Ecovillage Musings about the books that inspired her to want move to a place like Dancing Rabbit.  If you want to be inspired, you should check out her recommendations.

Vineyard with Chicken Tractor

A Sustainable Vineyard and Winery At DR

Vineyard with Chicken Tractor

Vineyard with Chicken Tractor

Modern winemaking has brought many apparent improvements to wine. In the past, while developing a reputation, California tried to emulate French winemaking, which was based largely on time-honored winemaking traditions. But California became a frontier for modern winemaking techniques, and at some point ventured out on its own. Now many wineries worldwide, French wineries included, are adopting modern methods to produce wines different from those of the past, with a taste that many consumers have now come to view as superior. Wine preferences are influenced by many things, and many still debate whether modern wines are superior or whether the popularity of the modern taste is just another wine trend. But one thing is certain—modern winemaking techniques as well as grape growing practices have increased the ecological footprint of a glass of wine.

The Vineyard

Four years ago, I planted an experimental vineyard at Dancing Rabbit with the idea of having a small winery that would make sustainably grown organic wine. I knew it would be a long road to the time when I was able to produce wine for sale. I still have a long way to go, but I’ve learned a lot since then about what I’m up against in trying to grow grapes organically at DR, and in trying to make wine given the limitations placed on our ways of doing things in an ecovillage. It’s good to live in a place with these limitations though, because I would like to make every stage of grape growing and winemaking have as little impact as possible on the environment. Wine was made and enjoyed for thousands of years without the use of fossil fuel. Granted, not all the chemistry of winemaking or of agriculture was understood for the majority of that history, but modern techniques were developed with the crutch of the abundant energy of fossil fuel, and this abundance is not going to be available much longer. By using our understanding of science and technology both past and present, we can develop ways of making wine that are both superior and have less impact on the planet.

This Year’s Workshops at DR: Natural Building, Ecovillages, Dance, Food Preservation

As our village grows there are more opportunities for all of you out there to learn from us and at the same time find out more about our ecovillage.  Attend workshops on natural building, dance, food preservation, and sustainable culture leadership, and see first hand how we are creating a model for a more sustainable world. Our workshops are organized by different people at DR, so you’ll have to contact the organizers to find out more about registration,  accommodations, and details about the workshops themselves. See the links below for each workshop category. Hope to see you at Dancing Rabbit this season!

Natural Building

Timber Frame Workshop  June 10-25, 2012

Students will spend 2 full weeks at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage learning the historic craft of timber frame construction using mortise and tenon joinery, as well as experiencing and learning some of the fundamental connections between building structure, design, and sustainable lifestyle alternatives.

Straw Bale Workshops  July 22-August 2, 2012

Students will spend 10 days at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage learning the fundamental craft of straw bale construction, as well as plastering techniques with clay and lime, creating artistic embellishments, and more.

Ecovillage Design

Ecovillage Education US:Sustainable Culture Leadership Training  June 29-August 5, 2012

Ecovillage Education is a 5-week trans-disciplinary, experiential program set within one of the US’ leading ecovillages. Develop your capacity for creating or enhancing communities and projects using social, economic and ecological sustainability lessons learned in the worlds’ most sustainable communities.


The recently opened Casa de Cultura at Dancing Rabbit is hosting two dance weekend workshops this year.  The first Off-Grid Blues Weekend held last fall was a great way to break in the dance floor at the Casa de Cultura, and it was a blast for participants.  This year there are two dance weekends planned.  Check out the links below for more information on the workshops.

Contra Culture  April 27-29, 2012

“Contra Culture” will be a unique blend of Ecovillage and Contra Dance community cultures.

Off-Grid Blues   September 21-23, 2012

Off Grid Blues is a community-focused dance event. Some of the best dance instructors in the nation will be there to share their knowledge and love of dance with you.

Food Preservation

Putting Up the Harvest – Canning Fruit and Vegetables
Three sessions: July 7th, August 4th, September 15th, 2012

Join us for a food preservation workshop where you’ll get hands-on experience in an atmosphere where questions are encouraged and confidence gained. With a focus on both safety and flavor, we’ll go step by step from beginning to delicious end. Includes six hours of hands-on instruction, lunch, canning tools, recipes and samples to take home and share.

Ways We Live More Sustainably: The Milkweeds

I’ve been wanting to do an article about the many different lifestyle and infrastructure changes we as individuals have made at DR to reduce our impact on the planet.   Fortunately, the Milkweeds wrote just such an article for their blog, Ecovillage Musings.  Like they say in their post, outside of the 6 covenants we live by here at DR,  everyone chooses how far they will go to shrink their footprint.  This is their story, and if I can convince some others to talk about their lives, I will post more stories here.  If you want to find out a little about how Thomas lives, or lived a few years back, check out this video.

Link to the article