A small group of people with multiple talents, from various backgrounds, got together recently to discuss an idea to create affordable, sustainable cooperative living in Akron. It only takes a small group of people to change the world, and this particular group wants to make an economical and ecological change, while challenging traditional living in the Akron area.
The Akron Ecovillage Co-Housing Cooperative has a goal of reinventing urban living through affordable multi-economic/social/cultural cooperative housing with a low-impact lifestyle. Not only do they want to change the way we think about living, but they also want to teach others how they can take this concept to their neighborhoods and start their own programs.
The idea is to purchase a small area of homes with adjacent communal property, then pool resources such as cooking, gardening, transportation and alternative energy sources to cut the costs considerably. The cooperative housing group’s goal is to have a group of homes comprising multiple families that will take up a smaller eco-footprint than the average single family home and be considerably cheaper to rent.
To cut energy costs, solar and wind power would be harnessed for community members, as well as sharing transportation. The cooperative envisions food forests and gardens that would not only feed the community but produce excess that may be sold at local markets and restaurants. Aquaponics and hoop houses would be used to extend the growing season and increase the crop yields. Rainwater and gray water would be collected to water the gardens.
Tom Crain, of the Akron Ecovillage Co-Housing Cooperative (AECHC), says he feels that this would be a “living laboratory all about expanding public awareness about more sustainable urban and cooperative living.” As a group, they would be a living experiment that would learn to adapt eco-friendly ideas to suit Northeast Ohio and teach others from their success through a communal learning center.
Karen Wilkie Edwards, also of the AECHC, says the idea is to “provide affordable living costs by pooling resources.” The group would collectively own the the property and do away with the need for a traditional landlord, while providing legal protection through the creation of a limited liability corporation (LLC).
All great things start with an idea. An idea can grow into a movement, one that will change the way we think about affordable living in Northeast Ohio. For more information, join the group’s Akron Ecovillage Co-Housing Cooperative Facebook page.