As a collective we are more than the sum of our individual parts. This section contains personal statements from the members of our collective.
I am a homesteader. I build soil and community. I facilitate the growth of plants and baby goats. I want accessible education, not the kind you find in textbooks but the kind you find in relationship with the land. I desire a life made by living, by working and playing, by restoring and reclaiming. And it is only in community that we put the pieces together, each of us contributing a pumpkin or some honey to make the pie palatable.
I live wherever i am, be it in the gardens or the communal house or my personal dwelling. The latter of which is now illegal, an A-frame shed, insulated with sheep wool and filled with my belongings. Though the removal of my mattress deems this space legal storage, it still carries an air of banishment. Enough of one, anyway, to keep me away.
“Wow, y’all are really gonna have to rough it. You’ll have to poop in water,” he says. But ironically, tis true. I will not let my “waste” be treated with chemicals. I will use it to fertilize the land.
I do not know where to start, but I will fight for my right to revitalize the land from the death and destruction civilization has caused. I thought I could homestead my way to an effective alternative, a community of kind and conscious individuals striving for regeneration, but alas, it has come to this.
To whom it may concern,
My name is Roland Lieberman.
I have been living at the CRIC House for the past year. When I use the word ‘living’, that includes being happy, healthy and safe as well as doing so on my own free will as a natural person. I most recently had a bedroom to my own in a converted bedroom outside of the main community house, at no time did I feel unsafe in this dwelling. The dwelling, called “The Hopper”, was a work in progress by members of the community including myself having recently insulated the structure and made for a nice place to sleep, work, read and relax! I felt at home, healthy and content.
That time came to an end when a call to the county was made by a disgruntled community member reporting code violations. Soon after an inspector from the county arrived to look into the said violations reported. Knowing that the Hopper was at risk, I uprooted my bedding and other belongings to look more like a storage area, thinking that the representative of Sonoma County would see the structure was not livable at the time of the visit freeing up time for actual pressing issues elsewhere. After all, I assumed, who would want to force someone else out of their home?
As it turned out, I was gravely mistaken! When there is money to be made, people and living conditions matter not.
Under the mask of health codes (along with a host of other terms decided by people confined to an office), I was forced to move out and dismantle all but the 4 walls that made up what once was my bedroom! Bed, clothing, light, books…Everything I took for a safe place to live in while I lived my life here had to be removed and replaced with garden tools and scrape wood! This was the only way the community was able to avoid a fine for a violation in housing.
What the county is failing to account are the people. Where does one go when their living space, which they willingly (with real low-impact) reside, is forced from their dwelling? In the big picture this directly contributes to homelessness and actual unhealthy conditions. Not the conditions that needs a tape measure and a clipboard. The kind that causes me to write this while sick, while living out of a duffle bag with my other belongings in storage while I sleep at friends’ houses. I have moved 5 times in the past 2 weeks, since I got driven from my place. I am reluctant to say where I live now because I fear that I will be driven from here by the county.
In the mean time, I try not to be crippled by the strong arm of this county in my day to day life. Its difficult when sick and sleep deprived to keep in mind that I live in a free country and all this is for my own safety. Its also challenging to get along as a refugee in my own community and know that this will direct my focus to the changes the county code must make to stay in good standing.
thank you for your time,
When I first visited the CRIC house two years ago I found a place where I could truly live; where I could be creative, work hard, grow food, and live with like-minded people. This was a place where we could create our own homes and communal spaces in a way that was actually beneficial to the environment around us. I’ve lived here now for the past year and the culture that has been created through the individuals and our collective lifestyle is irreplaceable. If we have to sacrifice that culture to be in compliance with outdated laws and face the extortion of coming into compliance, it is not worth this land.
I am a builder and a homesteader. Much of my life here is centered around designing low cost homes that actually create vitality and growth. I spend time thinking about how we can solar heat our water to shower and have that water in turn nourish our plants. But shower water must go into the septic and we cannot create our own homes. My life has changed from actively living to researching and hoping and thinking about living. I lived in a trailer that was beautifully integrated into the landscape, with porch and roof and attached solar shower, and ferns and other plants growing around it. It was nestled up against an earth bag root cellar. Now the shower is gone, the porch and roof dismantled, the trailer uprooted and moved into the path. Without the roof (which we needed a permit for) it leaks in the rain. It is full of storage and barely livable. So much for raising our standards.
My life is on hold. We are waiting to see if we can continue to live out our culture on this land.