Author Liz Walker (a founder and leader of Ithaca) wrote in the Introduction to this 2005 book, "'Ecovillage at Ithaca' tells the human story of EVI. It is not a comprehensive overview... I write from my own lived experience... the book will not show you how to create an ecovillage or intentional community. Nor will it explore our legal, financial, or organizational strategies... Instead I offer you glimpses into our way of life and stories that illuminate our path... I hope this book will inspire you to make changes in your own life, your own neighborhood, and your own circle of friends."
She states, "Ithaca is committed to reaching mainstream, middle-class Americans and others who are open to positive change. EVI is a living laboratory that draws from the best alternative practices in land use, organic agriculture, community living, green building, and energy conservation. We integrate proven social and environmental systems to provide a glimpse into one possible positive future for the planet." (Pg. 3)
She notes, "At EVI meaningful human contact is the norm and not the exception. I consider myself blessed to live here. I can maintain my privacy when I need to, but also have plenty of opportunity to form and develop connections with my cohousing neighbors. Indeed I think that living in community fills the deep longing for human love and connection that is shared by our whole species." (Pg. 75) Later, she suggests, "It wasn't utopia. But it was a pretty good place to be." (Pg. 102)
She summarizes, "Over the years our shared experiences, shared work, and shared leadership have all helped to bring us closer together as a community. Our reconsideration of the whole EcoVillage vision made us feel like an extended family. With each year that passes, the 'village' in EcoVillage becomes stronger." (Pg. 160)
She admits, however, that "People here enjoy the strong sense of community, the common meals, and the work teams. And they appreciate having a safe place to raise their children as they also learn to be better stewards of the environment. Challenges do exist, though, regarding the financial costs of living here. And some people expressed frustration with our consensus-based decision-making process." (Pg. 179) She adds, "I wonder if we have created a beautiful haven that will eventually be affordable only to upper-middle-class and wealthy people. It would be deeply ironic for me if that were the case." (Pg. 210)
This is a fascinating book, and will be of considerable interest to anyone interested in intentional communities, ecovillages, or environmentalism.