What is the Intentional Community of River Haven?

The following article, 'What is the Intentional Community of River Hayven?', Written by Ann Woods and Doctor T, was Posted in the June 2005 Ecopolitan newsletter.

River Hayven, the Wisconsin intentional community supporting a raw foods lifestyle, is blossoming this summer into a community with 7-8 full-time live-in members and several seasonal residents.  The community intends to expand significantly in the next few years, now that the common house (a beautiful geodesic monolithic dome!) is in place and will soon sport the beginnings of a raw foods restaurant patterned after the Ecopolitan Restaurant. Most of River Hayven's 250 acres are kept as a nature preserve, with 1 1/2 miles of river frontage (great for tubing!).  There are also about 10 miles of groomed trails running through River Hayven's land.

There are many intentional communities in the world, some 600 in North America.  Intentional communities are formed around intents or beliefs.  These communities allow people of common belief systems to be neighbors in co-housing or subdivisions, and to participate communally in economically productive activities.  This is unlike typical living situations where you can't choose your neighbors and where businesses are individually owned.  An intentional community allows like-minded neighbors to pursue their interests together, whether they are social activism, ecological living, spiritual belief systems or dietary choices.

River Hayven, the future home of the Ecopolitan Country Spa, supports people moving toward a raw foods lifestyle while living ecologically on the land.  The community is interested in members that wish to experiment with sustainable building styles and to move toward self sufficiency in energy.  There will be two locations on the land for eco-villages; one on the lip of the Hay River valley, with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.  The other will have fewer homes and is secluded in the woods, located somewhat closer to the river. Those wishing to build their homes at River Hayven are at the highest level of membership as residential members.

There are also options for those who just want to camp, or to set up a seasonal residence at River Hayven and be an occasional part of the community.  These folks can be seasonal members.  And when the raw foods restaurant is operational, they will have the option of eating their meals there. All members will have the opportunity to participate in the formation and operations of the future Raw Food Retreat and  Healing  Center, the Ecopolitan Country Spa. This EcoSpa will offer comfortable sleeping facilities in a breathtaking environment, with healing modalities, healthy activities, gourmet raw foods, and individualized or class instructions on how to prepare delicious raw food. The goal of such a “total immersion” retreat is to facilitate the evolution toward a more sustainable, less processed diet in a pleasurable fashion. However, all people will be welcome as the EcoSpa’s guests, even if their goals are less ambitious, such as enjoying the cuisine, resting in the countryside, or undergoing temporary detoxification.

River Hayven community’s main source of income will be the Ecopolitan Country Spa. However, other income-generating activities are planned as well. Several acres of organic vegetable gardens and fruit orchards are planned (2 acres are already being cultivated!), providing delicious produce to the community, the EcoSpa, and to the Ecopolitan Restaurant in  Minneapolis. This garden is soon-to-be the world’s first garden utilizing entirely organic vegan raw compost (hauled from the Ecopolitan in Minneapolis). In early September, the Community hosts the 3-day Organic Watermelon FASTival, which supports the garden and the EcoSpa. Also, River Hayven has a beautiful rustic cabin located on the secluded Hay River.  The community is selling four timeshares for this cabin on an annual basis.   Each timeshare entitles the owner to one week at the cabin during every month of the year.  The cost is $800 for one timeshare for the entire year.   The cabin has no electricity, but it does have a propane in-wall furnace and propane light.  There is a water pump outside the cabin and an outhouse "with a view" (overlooking a pond).  Raw foods meals may be purchased from the common house at River Hayven, particularly once the Ecopolitan Country Spa is open. Other income-generating activities are planned, promising a thriving community that is successful in its application of the principles of sustainability.

There are potlucks at River Hayven every month during the summer season, and several times during the winter, as an introduction for new people to the community, and as a way for ongoing members to get together.  The dates for these potlucks and other news about River Hayven are provided via e-mail regularly. You are welcome to come to any of the community's potlucks.   Visitors are also invited to pitch a tent (or bring a trailer) and stay overnight for these weekend get-togethers.
If you would like to speak to someone about the community, call Ann at 715-632-2610.  If you would like your e-mail address added to the River Hayven list, e-mail woods at organic.org with your request.  The community's website is www.riverhaven.org

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