I think Utopia is too high an aim. The goal should be sustainability alongside an ailing system and beyond the inevitable breakdown of the current system. With that in mind I propose something small, but with nearly unlimited growth potential. At the core of my proposal is the advancement of every individual that participates, as should always be the goal. The secondary goal is to establish a new order that can exist within the current system and beyond.
It is called Great Escapes, it will be billed as a survivalist camp, with the intent of flying under the radar and avoiding the gaze of unwanted attention. It will be designed as a camp with rudimentary cabins. Campers will come to learn how to work the land. How to tend the fields, when to plant what, how to plow fields, when to harvest, how to properly can the different crops. Every aspect of farming and being self-sufficient will be taught. The main goal will be to empower each participant, so they can go forward and teach others what they have learned.
This is where the growth potential kicks in. Those campers that complete a whole grow season will be encouraged to go back from whence they came and set up their own version of Great Escapes. Those that are interested in starting one will be given help by the collective to get things up and running. The more they spread the larger the network will grow. If all Great Escapes work together a massive co-op system should emerge, initially on a regional basis, eventually becoming a national co-op. The co-ops will become the foundation for sustainability after the collapse of the current capitalist arrangement.
Great Escapes should be as off grid as possible- harnessing solar, wind and other emerging technologies related to capturing and storing power. Location is important. All Great Escapes should be located within close distance to a water source, preferably one with running water, i.e. creek or river. It will require a minimum of ten acres (arbitrary figure.) Consisting of three large grow fields, two for growing, one fallow field. There will be ten cabins built around a common area. The cabins will be minimalist in nature, with four beds (up to eight people), four dressers, and a wood stove. There will be no running water in the cabins. The common area will be a large building that will function as an eating hall, a place to meet and plan the day, and for showering and personal hygiene. The common area will also serve as a place to relax and socialize after a long day working the land. There will be a barn for livestock and a building for storage. The property should also have a few permanent houses on it for people wishing to live off grid and help maintain Great Escapes year round.
Any person that that comes for an entire grow season will leave with a portion of the crops, with the option of selling the crops for cash at a roadside stand or farmers market. They will have hopefully leave with enough knowledge to start their own Great Escapes type project. Since we are still working within a cash related system, individuals that wish to only learn specific parts; canning, planting, (these can be offered as classes) etc… can pay in cash or barter with goods or services, that Great Escapes might have need of. Great Escapes needs to be able to sustain itself. Roadside fruit and vegetable stands and farmers markets will help keep us sustainable. Anything unsold and still editable will be donated to food banks or somewhere. In an attempt to break from capitalism, on our website we will list goods or services we have need of and will barter our goods for. Our goal to distance ourself from and become less reliant on the current system.
The first goal of Great Escapes will be to empower the individual, so they can live above and beyond the current system. The secondary goal is sustainable growth. An initial small, regional co-op, expanding to a national co-op, filled with goods produced from all the Great Escapes. When the systems collapses, which it surely will, the system of co-ops we have in place will help feed the nation, maybe growing to include worldwide co-ops. We will also have a barter a system in place for the transfer of goods and or services.
This is a grand idea, one that will require funding and manpower. But it is an idea I have had in my head for over a year and I decided it was time for it be heard. If someone has the means to take this idea and run with it, all power to them. Would you be willing to be a part of Great Escapes?