Create an outstanding and timely eco-village here in this small urban, ex-industrial, increasingly green town of Greenfield, MA and make it a model for living a more sustainable, balanced, economically and emotionally smart lifestyle. Look at the heart of human existence and the need for a sense of stability, love, creativity, adventure, learning, individuality and connection. Use our resources, minds, hearts, bodies and imagination to help create opportunities for those human needs to be responded to well here, and as part of the larger creative economy efforts to rejuvenate this region. Bring our eco-village alive with color, expression, communication and innovations that inspire and enrich the culture of Greenfield and the surrounding Pioneer Valley communities.
In other words, we aim to develop one of the first intentionally arts-integrated, solar and alterative energy living and learning centers in the world right here. Here is: just 1 mile from downtown Greenfield with its NorthEast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) headquarters; the well-reputed Greenfield Community College (GCC) with its Green Job Training programs; the successful Greenfields Market Food Coop and other good local service providers and businesses such as the Library, P.O. and YMCA. Here is: Greenfield, the once official seat of government for Franklin County, the most economically challenged county in MA., yet full of wonderful human and natural resources such as the Connecticut, Deerfield and other rivers; good agricultural land and organic farms; the Pioneer Valley's rich culture and history, and easy access to the world class Five Colleges Programs. Here is: about 2 to 4 hrs. of travel time from larger cities such as Boston, MA; Burlington, VT; Keene, NH; and NYC, NY.
We see about 30 (and on upward to 50 legally allowed) units of zero-energy, conservation-minded village homes of varying sizes being built here for peoples with a range of lifestyles and income levels. They will be for everything from single parent families to nuclear families to coop houses for groups of people, to individual private apartments. We may well be able to do cluster housing, thus using energy more efficiently; and keeping more open space available. The houses may be individually owned, but the land and the community center(s), workshop, performance, meeting and
conference spaces we envision will be owned cooperatively.
Altogether we will place an emphasis on sustainability, equitability and democratic or consensus decision-making processes rather than on profit making, consumerism, and power-over hierarchal decision-making models. We will benefit by sharing the development, ownership and operation of many aspects of the physical plant and its maintenance as well as the land with its intended organic gardens and orchards. We will work together to conceive, design and share good workshop, studio, exhibit and performance space; office, classroom and conference spaces and guest facilities, other publicly used spaces such as a community center and kitchen.
We will work out systems to share tools and equipment of various kinds (for ex. possibly transportation items such as cars, bikes, mopeds and office tools such as High Speed Internet services and high quality printing and copying machines). And, by cultivating an atmosphere of creativity, cross-fertilization and diversity, communication and collaboration, we will nurture innovative ideas and their useful application. We will support the gifts each person has to offer to the community and vice versa.
In other words, people from all walks of life and backgrounds; artists of all mediums, builders, tech experts, scientists, inventors, teachers, healers, athletes, businesses owners, parents, children, farmers, laborers, and others, will benefit here from the sum of the parts being greater than the parts alone. Also, though independence, individuality and privacy will be deeply respected and valued, life here will also encourage this eco-village's members to gain or hone skills in co-creating and sharing; and we envision that these gifts will also flow outward radiating circles, to benefit the larger community.
"Lupinwood" is the name of this amazing place as it stands now:
Four buildings and a gorgeous in-ground pool on the upper 10 acre part of the 23 Southwest facing acre property; and no buildings, an old logging road and potential building and agricultural space on the remaining 13 acres (when its young forest is more cleared).
The four existing buildings include the elegant 1890's Main Mansion and old funky cool Carriage House, and the more modern 1990's "Pool House Cabino" and "Garage Apartment." The Main House, where we live, has 5 to 6 large bedrooms; 5 fireplaces; 5 bathrooms; 1.5 kitchens; endless dining, living, socializing, and workshop spaces; and plenty of potential office or dormitory space. It has the most beautiful stone porch I have ever seen, overlooking the valley and providing one good sunrise and sunset experience after another. It has fancy old stone and woodwork, beautiful hardwood floors and windows. It's a gem but also a monster; a serious candidate for major retrofitting and renovation to make it energy efficient and more accommodating for various purposes.
I could go on and on about the other buildings, the land, the town and the context as I perceive it after 4.5 years of volunteering here, but the main thing I want to say is we do not have much time left. We need you now. We; John Bailey, currently the sole owner of this estate, myself and the 4 other adults still living here will likely soon enter into the foreclosure process that has been lurking around the edges of our crisis situation for months. This plus many other factors, such as certain conservative politics, difficult zoning laws, and the uniqueness of this property, have made it hard for us to either fully rent out this place -- or convert it for other revenue-producing purposes such as a Bed & Breakfast. We can't collect enough rent to cover the costs. The enormity of helping maintain and run this place, while also trying to figure out how to "grow it" is intense and overwhelming, but the inherent potential here hard to deny or abandon. If and when Foreclosure proceedings go into full action (any day now), we will have even less hope and room to do much, and in fact may have to let go and move on.
However, right now we do have a few real options: We could work on a Short Sale to specific buyers -- people who might support this place to go in the direction for which we have striven. Maybe you, a friend of yours, or a non-profit (or group of non-profits) you know could be one of those players? We could also get a Coop Group together super expediently to buy via a Short Sale here. A Short Sale would enable any of these buyers to purchase parts or the entirety of this amazing place for a very low price.
We could also subdivide and sell parts of this place separately and get cash with which to sustain the rest of this project. For instance, we could sell a package of the mansion, pool house cabin and 5 acres combined for the reasonable price of about $650, 000.00 and in turn that sale would help finance the larger village concept with the remaining buildings and on the remaining land. We could turn the mansion and other existing buildings into condos if we had enough interested parties all lined up at once. Finally, we could combine parts of these above options to make an appropriate creative deal. We will discuss more specific information on the processes, timelines, and costs involved in these options if you are interested.
Lupinwood = Lupin + wood:
Lupine or Lupin is the usually purplish, bluish or pinkish many blossomed flower.
In the story, "Miss Rumphius", the main character Alice grows up to love and sow lupines all over the valley where she lives, and thus fulfills the mission given her by her wise grandfather to "do something to make the world more beautiful." (Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney, c 1982, Puffin Books, 40 West 23rd St., NY, NY, 10010) I believe that "Making the world more beautiful" is a radical and integral part of what is needed in the movement for restorative cultural change and intentional community building; an approach more practical and necessary that we currently can imagine.
Lupine also means the Wolf; regarded as the teacher, leader, pathfinder "of new ideas who returns to the clan to teach and share medicine." Wolf "medicine" synthesizes a sense of strong individualism with a strong sense of belonging to and caring for one;s family, clan, and community in Native American Teachings. (Pg. 97, Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams and David Carson, c. St. Martin's Press, 175th Ave. NY, N.Y. 10010)
We can honor these deeper meanings of the name here. This place was built with international banking money and likely arms and shoe manufacturing money by the wealthy Peabody family. Mr. George Peabody, uncle of Mr. Charles Peabody (who married a Greenfield woman and had this house built), was not just a shrewd and successful self-educated banker, but also the first modern philanthropist, giving millions of dollars away to the first known public housing and education causes without attaching a religious or political agenda or doctrine to those gifts. Let us take the best of this (the philanthropy's generosity and focus) and turn around the worst of it (the likely sources of income and heavy accumulation of wealth) so that we can provide good affordable housing, honor the land and develop ways to sustain life here with a balance of old and new ways of work, invention, love, rest and play.
This is the time for the flowering of human kind. The Maya call it the age of Itza and astrologers call it "The Age of Aquarius." Others such as Ethowah Cherokee teacher and Tibetan Buddhist, Dhyani Ywahoo call it the time for the blossoming of "the Age of Flowers." (Mana Cards, The Power of Hawaiian Wisdom, Catherine Kalama Becker, PH.D. & Doya Nardin, c 1998 Radiance Network Inc., Hilo, Hawai'I).
It could be the time for the end of human kind if we do not reverse global warming, war, exploitation, economic injustice, pollution, genetic mutation and large-scale corporate ownership. Or, it could be the turning point, poignant and raw and full of promise for a furthering of human kind and human kindness; a time we could still work to see humans as ever evolving, resourceful, spirited, vital, compassionate loving beings, and in balance with themselves, each-other, the planet and its other life forms.
It's a tall order, and on short notice, but its worth it. Come out of the woodwork, come out of the silence and unify with us to make this a YES WE CAN and YES WE SHALL (overcome)...Do the work we want to see for the world here locally and open the way here and now. Once again, please call us and we will share more info. with you such as the costs, time line, & relevant laws associated with this project.
5 Main Ways to help:
1) Send us personal support donations or create a benefit for us so we can keep doing to work we have been doing (unpaid) for these 4/5 years here: researching, advocating, meeting, planning and doing outreach and upkeep. etc..
2) Gift us with legal, banking, maintenance, real estate or other free or pro-bono services.
3) Buy parts or all of the upper property or help form a group to turn it into condos or buy it as a coop group. Partner with us in making these ideas viable. Do it now.
4) Put us in touch with philanthropists and organizations whom might likely support our ideas or other similar eco-village, co-housing or land preservation visions, and who might well invest time, money and resources here.
5) Support us emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. We've worked hard and long at this; and are worn, but keep trying to move forward. Keep aiming high.
We've let go of lots else in our lives for the sake of trying to realize the main vision here (and are also quite open to it being adjusted) & would love support on any of these levels, or in ways not yet imagined or named. Surprise us.
Please contact me. Thanks!
M.A. Arts, Ecology and Community Building, Lesley University.
Director, Performer, Artist and Educator.
Hm. (413) 774-7322, Cell (978) 339-3101
172 Highland Ave.